So the election is finally over. We may have never, even in our wildest dreams, imagined the outcome but as Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.”
On Tuesday night, like millions of Americans, I stayed up watching as the votes rolled in and the possibility of a Clinton presidency receded in the background. I was horrified, shocked, saddened, afraid and did not know which way to turn. To imagine a man who had vilified almost every one, except the white male, as President was too much to process. I started to question everyone, everything; including my place in this world.
On Wednesday morning, the sun rose but did not peek out of the clouds. Rain lashed my windows as I rose bleary eyed after sleeping for only 3 hours. Maybe last night was a dream but that hope crashed as soon as I turned on the TV and saw “Trump elected President”. The three words I wished I had never seen, heard or read, were finally a part of my life. I didn’t know how to share this with my daughter, the proud 4-year-old Clinton fan who proclaimed everyone must vote for her because Trump is too silly. How would I break the news to her? I wandered to find my husband, our tired eyes meeting, as he wrapped me up in a bear hug. No words were needed.
I spent the day in my comfy pajamas, on my favorite red chair afraid to leave the house, to see anyone. I was tired of election talk. All I wanted to do was grieve without any news chatter, any media, any talk of the impending apocalypse. Then Clinton came on TV and I could not resist myself. I watched this remarkable woman make a final address to the nation, noticing how her husband’s, daughter’s and running mate’s eyes were wet and red. She, though, was stoic – in her words, actions and demeanor. I held myself together until she said, “And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams” until the tears finally flowed. I was crying for my little girl, for all little girls who held dreams for themselves, for their parents who told their daughters they can be anything they want. I was crying for the big fat lie our little girls live with until they become grown women and realize a country would rather choose a rapist, sexist, xenophobe as their President than a woman. I was crying for our cruel and ugly reality.
Day turned into night and after very little food all day, I finally managed to get some sleep. The next day, news were full of protests around the country against Trump’s presidency. There were several arguments – Republicans blocked Obama every chance they got to he does not represent me and I will not accept him as my President.
Yes, Trump does not represent me either. There is not a single thing that he says which I identify with. But, he won the election fair and square. We can blame the electoral college; we can blame white voters but that does not change the reality that Trump won. Not accepting him and protesting his election is no different than when he said he would dispute the outcome of the election if it were not in his favor. By protesting him, we are protesting democracy; the very fabric that ties our society together. Remember when they go low, we go high. This is not high. This is low, awfully low.
As the day went on, I went back to the gym,hoping to clear my mind and set into my routine. There something magical happened. Jumping to my instructor’s song I realized how much power I had in me – not just physical stamina but mental and psychological endurance. I was better than all of this. I could survive this. I could make a difference and no matter what I would never stop fighting for what I believed in. With each jump, each inhale, each exhale that voice got stronger, bigger until it had taken over every cell in my body and I was vibrating in its power. I came home, unable to sit, stand or walk. I was shaking but I knew I had to do something. I started contacting my friends to acknowledge the words in my head: Start a movement. Build resistance. Protest. Fight for what you believe in. Never give up. I thought I was going to implode.
I realized many of my friends felt the same way and as we came together, so came some outcomes. We would heal, organize and look to the future. Many of us are still grieving but we need to also rebuild and re-energize. The Way Forward was born – a way to start the conversation, keep it relevant and keep it going. We are stronger together and together we shall fight this for all of us; no matter your religion, sex, gender, orientation, color, immigration status. We will do what we can to make sure none of us suffer through darkness. Some of what is already happening makes this fight even more significant, even more momentous. We will not go quietly in the dark but use our adversity to make us stronger and more resilient. We have a tough fight on our hands but the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire. We will survive this and come out on the other side proud, irrepressible and unstoppable.
If you’d like to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on venue/Zoom link.