I woke several times yesterday morning before the sun had come up. I was afraid to check my phone for election results. The night before, my husband and I had taken a quiet moment to place our intention for the election, and I was reasonably sure how things would go. Still, I was afraid.
I lay quiet, waiting for my husband to wake up. When he rolled toward me and opened his eyes, I asked him how he had slept.
I made the mistake of checking the election results at 4am. Trump won.
I cannot describe what I felt, but it was somewhere on the spectrum of disbelief, shock, horror, terror. Even as I write 24 hours later, I still cannot quite bring myself to believe that the inconceivable has been conceived.
For most of the day yesterday, I felt a mix of rage and shock and horror. I could not bring myself to sit down and write. What would I say? How I could begin to express my grief in words?
This morning, I awoke to a feeling of deep melancholia and disappointment but also a desire to communicate with you. Considering all that is at stake for people in the United States and around the world, I think I have moved rather quickly through the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think I skipped right over bargaining. I know from experience that there is no bargaining or dialogue to be had with extremists. In my book, a vote for Trump is just that.
While I understand that many people who voted for him were concerned with job security, I cannot condone a vote for a person who embodies bigotry, hatred, misogyny, the list goes on. I cannot understand how any woman could vote for Trump, yet the statistics show that many did. I totally understand not wanting to support a Clinton. I get it, but vote for a third party. There is no reason to give in to fear and hatred.
There are many people who have been living in fear, many of whom seem to believe that Trump’s agenda was what a higher power had in mind. I believe that fear stems from a lack of understanding or empathy. For many, fear is a choice.
Fear is not a choice for those who have been and may be harmed by this alarming trend in our country. Fear is why I am alive today. My own ancestors were able to flee from countries whose leaders and people supported rhetoric that was alarmingly similar to those put forth by our president elect. They came to the United States for safe haven.
I am heartbroken that the United States can no longer claim to be a haven for those in need. Though I despair and feel deep disappointment in my country’s choice for a leader, I know that I am one of many who support diversity and freedom for all people. I know that this is yet another dark period of my nation’s history—and there have been many. It is my fervent hope that we will rise above the propensity for fear that has been Trump’s platform from the start.
I hope we can find a way to continue to honor and embody the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
~ Emma Lazarus
What do you feel about this new wave of identity the United States is showing the world? I invite you to share. My only request is that you be kind.