Where to start? The last twenty-four hours has seen something that many thought could never happen. We are witnessing the ultimate reality show, we are all living it. Cameras are everywhere capturing our reactions, and yet, I think we still have options. They are difficult, they will take a lot of work, and they will take persistence and awareness past the time the Tweeter trends end.
There is so much running through my mind, but I keep coming back to the two things that I think were essential in getting us to this point; fear and apathy. The primary word that’s being said today is fear. People are afraid; we are afraid for ourselves, we are afraid for our friends and families, we are afraid for future generations and we are afraid for the planet. And I think it’s wise to be afraid, but it’s what we do with that fear that will determine our future. It was fear that brought us to this place. It was the fear of different, the fear of change, and the fear that Americans were being taken advantage of by stranger. It was fear for jobs, for being able to put food on the table. It is fear and ignorance which plant the seed for racism and sexism; it is fear and ignorance which makes it possible for minds to be left vulnerable to accept any reason whatsoever to understand their adversities. And now the fear has shifted, and there is a real threat to our liberties to what we believe in as Americans.
But there is something else that has led to this; that’s apathy. Let’s put aside the appalling percentage of Americans who do not vote. There is a reason why Republicans constantly have control of Congress, and that is the apathy of Americans and our laziness. We don’t take action. So many people rant and rave, and yet, do you know what measures are being passed by your state legislation? How often do you check in on local initiatives? Have you ever voted for a judge? That’s right, you as a voter actually have some say on your local judiciary system which can make a big difference. Have you written letters, emails or even tweeted your senators and congressmen on bills you don’t agree with? I know people keep saying that votes don’t count, but as Hilary Clinton said today and I paraphrase, our constitutional rights are not exercised once every four years, and they should be exercised every day.
And so as one of the greatest challenges this generation has faced stands before us, we must do something different. First, we must respect each other. Regardless of parties, we must respect each other. Today I was upset to see how Milania Trump was being attacked on social media, people are calling her a hoe, trash, etc. etc. There is no way we will ever come close to stamping out institutional and social sexism if we do not respect ALL WOMEN. What do you know about Milania Trump? Did she run for President? Is it really her who you should be mocking for saying that she will take on bullying as first lady? For all we know, she’s the best hope we have fore mitigating some of the messaging that her husband has propagated. Respect is essential. Women must stand together; we cannot be sexist toward each other. There are smart women and dumb women, there are women we love and women we despise, but we must treat each other with some semblance of civility and dignity. You cannot claim to be progressive, open-minded, insist that women must have control over their own bodies and castigate your future first lady for being a model and dabbling in the sex industry. You can’t. It is her body, it is her decision, and it should not color her as evil simply because of those things. Again, she isn’t president. It pissed me off when people kept bringing up Bill Clinton when referring to Hilary’s platform, you do the same if you paint Mrs. Trump with the same brush as her husband.
Second, we need to listen. Trump supporters, you need to listen to us, you need to hear why people are scared, you need to take responsibility for the fact that your candidate won on a platform firmly planted in hate. Everyone else, you must listen to Trump supporters. Lord knows that is hard to do, because some of them really are just racists, sexists, KKK members, etc. etc. But there is something there, a disenchantment, a fear, a need that we must hear. We may disagree, but we must hear it. So please listen to each other, it sucks to listen with an open-mind, but there are times when we must. Trump supporters not everything we say is made up, we are reasonable people with actual facts. You may not like the facts, but they are real. We all need to start living in the real world, with real facts, and we must all stop listening to only the truth that aligns with our ideology.
Third, we must speak. We all have been silent for too long, the tradition of peaceably assembly and voice our grievances is vastly underutilized. We speak about what will happen to women and minorities. Well, if we as women keep taking it for granted that we will be sexually harassed and assaulted at some point in our life we won’t make progress. It is the most difficult thing to come out and say that you’ve been sexually victimized, no one who has not experienced it will ever understand. But we have allies out there who will stand with us and we need to start speaking out. I believe that part of why men are so vile toward women is that we have kept silent for too long, and often times we turn our backs on each other and judge. It is not our responsibility to fix men’s behavior, but we do have control over how we react to that behavior. We can create change. Speak out.
We must speak to our elected officials and let them know what we think. It is true that Washington is representing a minority, but that’s because the majority does not make itself be heard. Rich people may fund a campaign, but guys, money cannot actually buy votes to the extent needed to win. The reason why Washington is disconnected is because they represent the minority that consistently goes out and vote. Use your voices, Tweet the shit out of your congressmen and senators, send emails every day, it can be the same one. And get all your friends to do it. Pay attention. Pay attention past the end of a trend, because when we sleep is when injustices are committed. Speak out in every way you can. And for all that is holy to you, vote.
Even anti-voting laws can be struck down if enough people vote. The people who write those laws are elected officials.
Last, we must stand together and protect each other. We love America because we are so individualist, we pride ourselves on our independence. But that has resulted in a lack of community. The country is fractured right now, but that did not happen over time. It starts with the small things. How many of your neighbors do you know, how many do you talk to? Do you help homeless people in your communities? Have you ever attended a town hall meeting in your township, have you ever attended a school board meeting and voted on local educational measures? I will be the first to admit, I haven’t done many of those things, but you bet your sweet ass I will from now on. I’ve taken so many of the privileges that comes from living in this country for granted, and I’m ashamed of it. We must start to look out for each other, even beyond our communities. All of us who are minorities we know what it’s like to stand together, we know what it’s like to fight and to be knocked down and to get up to fight another day. We have the skills, let’s use them in as many aspects of our lives as we can.
Many people thought this could never happen, and it did. Many people think a wall cannot be built, but it can. Many people think we will be ok, and we may not be. If nothing else, let’s stop thinking that others will do the work for us. Let’s stop taking our rights for granted. We must work hard, each and every single one of us. If every single person who has sent out a Tweet expressing their disappointment, has protested in the streets starts to speak out all the time, change will come. And it will be for the better. Above all things, you must vote every chance you get. We must start holding our elected officials accountable, we, the voters, are the last check and balance in this country.