Sleep has evaded me the past two nights and I expect little else from tonight’s rest. And I’m not sure what writing this will accomplish, but nevertheless I feel compelled…no, responsible to react.
I suppose I’ll start with tears. For the past two days I have shed quiet, constant tears for those lives profoundly changed by Tuesday’s results. I cry for the Muslim women being attacked, I cry for the children who are relentlessly bullied, I cry for the America that could have been a lot sooner than it will be. But at some point my tears must stop…for the sake of my eyesight if nothing else. At some point the mourning must turn into action, because if it does not, the fight lost, was fought in vain. If all we do is sob and accept defeat, Miss Rodham’s efforts and all those she stands for would be pointless.
This country was built on action, on movements, on change. Literature has immortalized that for us. American Literature exhibits every single struggle this country has fought for and every triumph it has achieved. Every book from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; A story that follows a slave’s journey to the depths of The South revealing the bowels of hatred and its effects on the human condition. To plays like Angels in America by Tony Kushner where two gay men are met face to face with AIDS and the horrifying opposition to their ‘way of life’. The human experience has been laid before us by those who have suffered the most. And each hardship ended in a sort of universal truth; that the only way to continue this great nation’s tradition is to move forward. To become more inclusive, more loving. To be accepting, not just tolerating. To find the nuanced differences in one another and whole heartedly embrace them. Because if I have learned one thing from literature, it is that we fear not the different, or unknown, but the deeply familiar. We naturally reject in others what we don’t want to see in ourselves. Whether it be a physical attribute, or an internal one, we as humans are prone to hate in others what we fear to embrace within ourselves.
It is no secret that this election has profoundly shifted our nation’s identity. But I am saddened to say that we have shifted backwards. While this campaign season was long and filled with scandal, we have overlooked a minor but grave detail. The policies of the now President-Elect, do in fact oppress the masses. The concept of systemic racism, sexism, xenophobia etc. is widely lost on the American people. I assure you, that just as an author chooses her words with the utmost care, those seeking to oppress do the same. Systemic oppression is surgical, precise, and arguably the most dangerous ideology in existence. It seeps into the minds of the unsuspecting and like a ticking time bomb is waits. It seems only when it is too late do we realize we’ve succumb to hatred in the form of micro-aggressions dog whistle policies.
Every piece of literature has conflict. Without conflict, there is no story. There is no lesson, no development. So In order to develop, we must acknowledge where we are. As a nation we must come together. The Presidency is the highest office and we must respect that office in the name of democracy and the freedom our soldiers fight for everyday. But we will never unite if we don’t embrace each other’s sorrows and downfalls. Those celebrating this election must look inside themselves and feel the fear of those who are rightfully mourning. And those of us who mourn this result, must never forget that those who are celebrating it are every bit as human as we are. Marginalizing each other ensures that President Trump fails, and a failure for him, is a failure for this nation. Character development includes every character. A good story dives deep into the human soul and finds villains within heroes and heroes within villains. This is what we must realize before we do anything else.
Love will always win. It’s the only way we keep going. So in the wake of this unprecedented election, remember who we are. Find the good in others, find the differences in others and hold them close. Because in the words of a strong and nasty woman, “Love trumps hate.”