“But it wasn’t about misogyny, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, LGBTQ, ablism, fill in the blank…”
Yet to many of us, that’s exactly what this election was about. His victory is this bright, shining beacon of how our nation – our fellow Americans – has failed us. For many of us, we feel betrayed. We’re hurt. We’re struggling to understand how this happened. We were completely naïve to just how bad the unrest had grown, sheltered ourselves in communities, and did not realize just how many people were willing to side with a man without experience, who bragged about and condoned sexual assault, who claimed he did not need forgiveness, who put profits above people, who let his fear of the “other” discount and call for the removal of millions of people, who was overwhelmingly supported by racist groups stating “he speaks our message,” who lied and denied things he was recorded saying even as little as within that hour… The list goes on. With just how close the count was for most of the night, each vote that came in was a silent declaration that we were not worth concern.
Yes, elections are also about things such as the economy and jobs. But we are looking at a man who declared bankruptcy and used loopholes to avoid paying taxes. A man who chose foreign materials over U.S. when it benefited him. Who chose to void contracts and not pay people for work provided. All of these decisions were driven by his underlying beliefs that we do not matter. He has only acted in his own self-interests.
His victory proclaims that we can cast aside our morals and ethics. It shows generations and generations to come that America is just fine and dandy with this sort of behavior. That if you are a white man with money, you can do anything, say anything. Is this a lesson we want for our children? How do we explain this to them? They are watching – and we just gave them carte blanche on unimaginable behavior.
I hope you can see why this hurts for us. Why your messages of “but I still love you” carry mixed messages and little weight when you actively supported someone whose actions and words have been against us. This election was very personal to many people – and for all of those people they’re now questioning not only their place within this nation, but their safety and livelihood. We are devastated. We are terrified.
However, we are also unbelievable strong. You may have just pushed us past our breaking point, pushed us to become more united, to stand stronger, to speak louder, and to not back down against social injustice. We will apologize to our children, explain to them the world is not always a good place – a lesson that may be coming a lot earlier than our desire to let them be children and innocent and joyful would have chosen. Now is the time to promise them we will not stop. This is not the end. We will work harder. We will not let this be our legacy.