I will be the first to admit that in the buildup and in the wake of this election I have been vocal and combative in all of my dealings with the topic. I have not held back, and I have been decidedly aggressive. However, I am not sorry for this. Whilst recognizing I may have made some people uncomfortable, I remain unapologetic, And while I saw this reaction to my words coming, somehow it still blindsided me.
I have been called crazy, a mood-ruiner, an elitist, needlessly angry, and naive. And a lot of the time by people whom I thought at the least to be friendly acquaintances. I’m not going to lie, it really hurts.
To clarify: I am staunchly anti-Trump. I began this campaign season with Bernie, and when the DNC failed to nominate him, I reluctantly put my weight behind Hillary. All the while, I was fuming at the speed Trump’s campaign seemed to be gaining. I heard his comments on Mexicans, on Muslims, on Black communities, on disabled people, on women like me. I decided that this was a man who should never be given the slightest modicum of power. His ignorant words, and lack of a clear plan or policy were both frightening and laughable. When it came time to vote, I filled out my ballot, cast it, and sent my most fervent wishes for a Trump loss with it. I stayed up until 6:30 in the morning with my friends, one American, one Scottish, and we cried together as the results rolled in. Thus began the global period of uncertainty. Make no mistake, this election affects the entire world. We will all deal with the fallout, American or not.
Through all of this, I have taken every opportunity to voice my concern and anger. Many people agreed with me, and shared my pain. But there were some who simply did not want to deal with it. I don’t mean Trump supporters, as they were always happy enough to talk. I mean the people who simply didn’t care, or were taking the ‘moral high ground’ and abstaining from voting. And this was the most shocking to me. I have many angry words for those who support Trump, but at least they recognized the importance of political involvement, regardless of the lovely twist of racism and privilege they put on it. The people who were able to sit by as their friends and fellow human beings were attacked by a man running for the highest office absolutely boggle my mind.
“Maybe he’ll be better once in office!”
“His economic policies could be good!”
“I could never morally vote for Hillary, she’s a corporate sell-out.”
Let me tell you what I hear when you say these things. I hear that you are unconcerned with the safety of ethnic or religious people. I hear that you recognize that you will be unaffected by whatever policy he puts in place, and that you are content in letting everyone else deal with what may come. And I hear that not only are you sexist (Yes, I said it. She’s a politician, this corruption is nothing new. But she has given her life to a progressive career in politics, and there’s a little thing called ‘changing your mind’ that exists.) but you also are completely in the dark about how changing the system should play out. (Hint: by voting. Voting for a candidate with a real shot at office, and with real political experience.)
Understand that I live in fear of a future in which I will not be able to obtain affordable birth-control, get a safe abortion should I need it, or be taken seriously by a society that has now condoned sexaul assault on the national level. I live in fear that my friends will be killed or harassed for the color of their skin, or how they choose to express religious devotion. I live in fear for my family and friends who may not be able to walk down the street holding hands with the person they love without being hurt. I ache for these people. I rant and rage because I know that all of these freedoms listed above are now in jeopardy.
And to you who say that Trump will not be able to get any of this legislation passed: He has the majority in house and senate. And if they don’t support him? His voter base is already taking action, and making sure that the social climate is inhospitable in every way to people who aren’t white, male, or straight. Did you know that hate crimes are up to a rate that we haven’t seen since the immediate aftermath of 9/11? Because they are. Surprise!
When you tell me that I’m ruining your mood by talking about this, you are sitting back and accepting this disgusting man being thrust upon us. When you tell me that protesting is pointless, you miss the point entirely. We are fighting back. This is not an ordinary election, do not pretend that it is. Basic human rights are on the line. This is not normal. You call me crazy and annoying, and you are telling me that not only do you not care about my opinion, but you do not care about my experience as a female in America. So yes, it hurts. It hurts a lot to hear this from peers, family, and friends.
Recently, my younger sister - still with my family in New York - told me of a city-wide high school walkout organized entirely by students. The goal was to give a voice to the generation who has not had a say in this election, the generation on the tails of the millennials, one of the most diverse and colorful generations yet seen in America. They chose to sacrifice a day of their education to let us know their pain, and to let us know that they are fighting for better than what we have given them. It breaks my heart to hear what people have been saying about this walkout. They label the students as unappreciative, naive, and tell them to ‘go get jobs’. But is this not an incredibly involved thing for them to do? They care so deeply, and they will come of age in a nation that spits on their expression. You are disgracing an opportunity that they would have loved to have. Voting is a privilege, people have died for the right to have what you do. If you do not want to listen to me, listen to them.
I am not crazy. I am not sorry for being politically active. And I am most certainly not sorry for popping your bubble of isolation, the one in which none of this concerns you. But you can call me crazy. Every time you do, I will sign up for another protest, or another petition, or another march. I relish the idea of a Christmas vacation chock full of signs and chants. If you thought I was an angry feminist before, best strap yourselves in for the next four years, fuckers. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Article by Henrietta Dow.