I need to sleep so my thoughts aren’t eloquent or all that clear right now. That doesn’t matter though, because I need to be less worried about being eloquent or “saying the right thing.” Choosing when and how to speak up to suit my own ego is a luxury of privilege that I can no longer accept. Had I refused it earlier, I may have spoken up more and had more helpful conservations. Maybe I would have been more aware of my own failings as an American too. I don’t know…
I voted for Hillary Clinton (early, a couple weeks ago) because I believed she was the only viable candidate, I wanted a woman to lead us, and the other result was too devastating to even think about. (Also see her willingness to keep fighting for change despite the constant tsunami of sexism trying to keep her down.)
Since then, like many people, I felt fairly secure about her win. So yesterday evening I put on my “A Woman’s Place is in The White House” shirt and sat down to watch the votes roll in, already daydreaming about attending the historical inauguration of the first woman president of the U.S.A. My mom, who rarely talks about politics, sent me a blurry, typo-ed message of excitement.
I don’t feel dumb for hoping for progress, but I’m not going to pretend like what played out was some twist ending no one could have foreseen. It’s not shock I feel, it’s heartbreak.
Trump voters came from every state (even the ones that went blue on the map). They were white women who may have even had “feminist” in their bios. And here’s the thing: Trump votes came from people in my family who I could have questioned but instead just mostly avoided because “they’re not going to change anyway, so why ruin this dinner with an argument?” I’m ashamed of my silence.
Now I just want to scream. About how rejected I feel as a woman. About how hard it is to watch President Obama speak about all this with grace. About the way the news is reporting on this as if something utterly terrifying didn’t happen. About the excuses on social media, the passing of the responsibility, the jokes, and everyone just going about their daily life. This is on us, white Americans. We have to have those hard conversations. We have to stand with those who have literally been fighting for their lives for years… without us there. The fear and insecurity is real and bigger than ever. We can’t follow this on Twitter from the safety of our couch. We have no choice but to forge ahead into the “after” trying to do better than this, supporting and educating each other, pushing. We have to show up for the fight.