1. Just one thing today.
I can’t bring myself to come up with three trivial things to talk about today. I don’t know what I would’ve put in this post–maybe something about visiting Wrigley Field on Saturday, or starting PT, or going to Vegas this weekend–but none of it seems to matter.
I’m still processing Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I truly can’t remember the last time I cried as much as I cried on Wednesday. This feels like a horrible dream, but I won’t have the relief of waking up with a start and finding out it was all in my imagination. This is real.
My sister works for a nonprofit that assists those living in low-income housing. Her day-to-day work forces her to confront the reality–not the illusion, the reality–of the disenfranchisement that results from decades and decades and decades and centuries and centuries of discrimination and systematic racism. Last weekend, she attended the funeral of a four-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car, and you know what they said at that funeral? That the attendees should be happy because he won’t have to go through life on earth that would be full of disappointment and despair and heartbreak. And on Wednesday, when she walked with the moms who live in the housing where she works, that they talked about how they are terrified they’ll lose all of their support, but at the same time have resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll have to “keep dealing with this as we always have.”
That. Is. Not. Okay.
That. Will. NEVER. Be. Okay.
I have led a very privileged life. I have never once feared for my safety while practicing my religion. I have never once feared for my safety while practicing public displays of affection. I have never once feared that I will be denied the right to marry the person I love. I have never once been tailed in a store, or looked at suspiciously on public transportation, because no one has ever, once, assumed that I would steal or rob or otherwise engage in unlawfulness exclusively because of the color of my skin, or the color of my skin combined with my sex. I am acutely aware of the fact that all of those things make me unspeakably lucky, because that is the day-to-day reality of so many people in this country. If I had died when I was four years old, no one would have even thought to say I was lucky to not have to go through life with the deck permanently, systematically, inherently stacked against me.
I cried for so many people and so many reason on Wednesday. I cried for the people who live in my sister’s housing complexes, who will now have to answer to a president endorsed by the KKK, which exists because of hatred against the people who live in my sister’s housing complexes. I cried for my Muslim coworkers, who will not only continue to face judgment and prejudice, but will likely face it to an even worse degree than they did before. I cried for my Jewish former coworkers, who for the millionth time in history have been conveniently scapegoated. I cried for my brother, and my cousin, and well over half the population of my church, who already fight every single day to be accepted for who they are and who they love. I cried for every single person who depends on the marketplace for health insurance. I cried for every woman in this country, who will likely not only face additional hurdles to even obtaining contraception in the first place, but should their birth control fail, could very easily have limited, if any, say in what happens to her own body, and, beyond that, now has to confront even more than usual the fact that we have all known since we had the ability to comprehend discrimination: that no amount of qualification or experience can overcome the prejudice we face simply for being born with two x chromosomes.
I cried because hatred won.
I don’t know how we move forward from here. I just hope that that is the direction in which we move: forward. There is no making America great “again.” That greatness is a myth. That greatness never existed for the underprivileged, for the marginalized, for many, many, many people who form the fabric of this nation. America will never be great, now or any time in the future, until racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and all the other oozing masses of discrimination that permeate our entire culture are forced to sit down and shut up, are told there is no place for them at the table. Because greatness and hatred will not and cannot coexist. Ever.
In the mean time, if you want to do something tangible to work to increase greatness and decrease hatred, I recommend looking through this list to find dozens of organizations that are doing just that and now, perhaps more than ever, could use your support.