Election Aftermath

The past ten days have been rough. I have never before cried because of an election result, but I have cried multiple times since Hillary Clinton conceded. My body aches from the stress it is now holding. It has been a very long time since I physically held this much stress, and I know how bad for my body this is, and I know I must take steps to relieve my body of this stress. Writing here is one of those steps.

I am more afraid for my country now than I was after 9/11. That was an attack from the outside, a threat I knew everyone here would unite against. This is different. This is a threat perpetrated from the inside by my own countrymen and countrywomen, a calling to dismantle the very systems that have made the U.S. the free and prosperous country it has been for so long.

People are ascending to power who believe that they should control what the press is allowed to say about them, that they should control who is or isn’t allowed to call themselves American, that they should control how U.S. citizens define their own identities, that they should control what U.S. citizens can or cannot do with their own bodies.

Let’s not pretend this isn’t happening.

We have elected to the presidency a man who has never needed to work for a living, a man who has never shown an interest in spending his time working for the good of others, a man who has been concerned his entire life only with making himself richer and more famous and more privileged.

Let’s not pretend he is anyone other than who he is.

Our president-elect surrounds himself with people—most of them older straight so-called-Christian white men like himself—who believe the U.S. can only be great if it is dominated by straight so-called-Christian white men. He is, as I write this, working to place these bigots and racists and misogynists in positions of power within his administration.

Let’s not pretend our president-elect is not a bigot or a racist or a misogynist.

States are still finalizing vote counts from the election, but Hillary Clinton leads this morning by at least 1.5 million votes. There are more of us who oppose bigotry and racism and misogyny than there are people who either support those fallacies or turn a blind eye to them. The protests that have taken place since the election in cities across our country give me hope that we will continue to fight to preserve all that is good about America. This freedom to protest is another we stand to lose if we do not fight.

I am worried for our country, and I feel this worry traveling in my blood through every inch of my body. I have never experienced this kind of fear before. I have been privileged.

I have developed a mantra to repeat to myself on those mornings when I wake up feeling overwhelmed: I am safe right now. The people I love most in the world are here with me and safe right now. Those I care about who are far away from me are safe right now. My fear response is so strong I must consciously tamp it down so that it does not eat away at me from the inside. And I am luckier than so many others who have even greater reasons to be afraid right now.

We cannot allow fear to paralyze us or convince us to cower and hide. We must take the time we need to re-center ourselves, to feel the love and support of those who are our safety nets, to connect with nature and art, to feed our souls. And then, we must return to the fight. Over and over we’ll need to repeat this cycle, but please, let’s not give up. Writing here is one way I fight.

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