Prior to November 9th, I was asleep. Sure, I paid attention to the news. I commented on and tried to share stories about police brutality, gun violence, Trump’s hate campaign, and so on. But I was asleep.
Waking up on November 9th was the ultimate alarm. My country had been sold out. My demographic (white women) had sold everyone down river. My family members and other people that I knew had decided that their comfort or their hate or their tax breaks were more important than others’ basic human rights. They had decided that a candidate that claimed to be against abortion was more important than a candidate who wanted to uphold access to healthcare. They had decided that a country founded by immigrants was no longer a place that welcomed them. They confirmed that they considered one skin color above all the others. They decided that the rights of women and queers were worth little. They decided that “Christian” values were more important than religious diversity and the rich society that comes with it. In fact, that’s it, right? The Trump voters, regardless of their reason to vote, decided that whatever they wanted was worth more than the diversity of our nation, worth more than their fellow citizens’ lives and rights.
Waking up on November 9th, I had to really face what America has become. In the days since, I have had to take a long hard look at what I had been sleeping on. I have had to come to grips with how little I have done, how comfortable I have become. Under Obama, I knew my rights were not getting taken away. I felt like we were going in a direction that I could agree with. I was comfortable, so I was lazy. On November 9th, I stopped feeling that way.
Waking up on November 9th, I had to grieve, and grieve I did. I cried throughout the day. A friend texted me: “Just know I love you, and when it’s time to run I’ll make sure we both get out.” That friend was not joking. On November 9th, I had to reconcile that this was America, had been America, and that I had been asleep.
Waking up every day since November 9th, I have had to swallow that awful pill of what I had been too comfortable to see. I have had to start really looking inward and seeing what’s been keeping me from doing the work. I have had to think about what the next four years might look like and every day I get a little closer to finding my voice and action.
Have you found yours? Have you been asleep too? We all need some reflection on our comforts and our actions. Forget the safety pins, just be the safe space. Have you let your family and friends get away with racist, misogynistic dialogue? Stop it now. Call them out. Do it until they get tired of it. Do it until they ask you what the fuck you’re talking about. Do it to strangers on the street. SPEAK UP. Find the voice to speak for others and yourself. Find the voice to speak up for the America that is better than the hate. Find the actions that you can sustain that support that better America.
And do not fall asleep again. Stay vigilant. We have four years to fight. Some of us have been fighting for a long time already and are tired. Join them. Ease the burden. For the love of your neighbors and your country, stay awake and do the work. All hands in.
This post was originally published on Medium on November 16,2016. Some edits have been made to the original.
Written by kirsten.