Deep breath, America.
I’ve never been a political person, I’ve never considered myself a feminist, and as a white Catholic I’ve lived a very privileged life. I am very much aware of how fortunate I am as a white women in America. At 25 years old I come from a family who raised me to believe that I could do or be anything I set my mind to and for that I’m grateful. Over the years it was hard for me to see the bigger picture of how things weren’t as equal as the country wanted us to believe. I admit that and apologize for being part of a larger problem.
Maybe we wouldn’t be here if more people like myself opened our eyes a little wider.
This election season was rough to say the least. Neither candidate appealed to me and listening to the media focus more on the he said she said rather than actual issues was disheartening, but a decision had to be made. To be fair I was only with her because I could not stand with him. I feel like it is important for me to clarify that.
As progressive as it would have been for a female to finally lead this country I was just not sold on this particular option. I was voting for the lesser of two evils, someone who did not treat my gender like something they were entitled to grab as they please. I knew going into election day no matter who won there would be problems, opinions, and angry americans just like every other election year. I had hoped that those problems would be Trump supporters calling the system rigged and not conceding.
And yet here we are.
I was going to stay silent, watch the aftermath from a distance and accept that this is now the world we are forced to live in for the next four years, but then I left work. As I walked out of my office at 7 World Trade Center I was greeted by 30 police officers and caution tape surrounding the streets adjacent to my building. Seeing that while walking out of a building like mine was a bit discomforting to say the least. Working in a world trade center building has always been a constant reminder of how quickly things can change for the worst. In that moment I left my office I was horrified, not for my safety but at how quickly things were already falling apart. Not 100 yards from a site where so many american citizens lost their lives because of hateful thoughts there was more hate trying to rally around a new cause. Only this time it was our peers and not foreign radicalism. It had not been twenty-four hours since our new president elect and already the backlash was very present.
You see the problem is not solely rooted in Trump himself. If we are being honest with ourselves there are thousands of Trumps out there whose ideals are rooted in hatred, that is nothing new. The problem lies in the population who felt so discouraged with a broken system that they chose close minded hate as a quick fix to our nations problems. I feel sorry that our country lost its way, so much so that our citizens were forced to believe that the only way out of a corrupt system was to vote for a caricature who is the product of hollywood producers feeding into sexism, racism, homophobia, and blatant disrespect for ratings. It is not crazy to think that someone so discouraged with our current government would look to someone who made a living bullying people to try and change the status quo.
That being said Trump’s election is not an excuse to lose sight of human decency. Yes, as a nation we have taken a step in the wrong direction by electing someone who views anyone with an opinion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity different than his as a threat. That has been made drastically clear.
What has also become very clear to me is that as a country we need to come together now more than ever and rally around our differences to figure out a way to coexist peacefully.
A nation divided is no longer an option. Clinton supporters rallying against Trump supporters is no longer and option. Trump supporters who look to hate and discriminate anyone who is different from them is no longer an option. Coming together for the sake of this county is our only option. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Hate does not drive out hate. The only way we rise above is if we rise together.
We can get through this as a country if we put aside what makes us different and focus on the things that make us all the same. Love and respect for each other is a easy place to start. You do not have to agree with everyones views but respecting one another rather than putting each other down will make for a better place to live. A safer place to live. A place that could be an example to other countries on how you rise above oppression and hate. If we stand together slowly his voice will get lost in the noise. Slowly we will find our way back to where we were before this election or at least where we wanted to be.
Finally I want to make very clear to any person who falls under the umbrella of Trump’s hate that I stand with you.
To the LGBT community, you should never feel that the love you feel for someone should count any less. I hope you know how beautiful you all are and though our new president may not recognize that, I do. To any immigrant or minority who feels unsafe in this country I hope that people like myself rally around you to lift you up rather than tear you down or make you feel like you don’t belong here. Finally to my fellow women and young girls, I hope that you never stop pushing yourselves to the exactly who you want to be. I hope you don’t lose sight of your potential and I hope you keep pushing for our right to own our bodies and be equal to our fellow man. I look forward to the future when one of you rise up the the occasion and become the candidate our gender can rally around.
Four years seems like a life time now but not if we use that time to start making changes for the better. Be kind to one another. Rise above the hate. Accept other peoples opinions even if they are not the same as your own. This is not our best day as a nation but we’ve made it through so much worse. Please keep that in mind and deep breaths.