It has been a couple of days now since we’ve made Donald Trump the new president-elect. Between the various camps of who voted for whom or berating/thanking those who did not vote at all and what it all means,it has been a shit storm of a week. In the midst of it are those saying it won’t be as bad as others are making it out to be. And that is the thing that has probably bugged me the most.
The majority of those who have touted unity, to pull ourselves together, have predominantly been white cis and yes, male. Now,to a point they are correct. It won’t be bad for them with Trump as preident, for it was not bad for most of them to begin with regardless of who held the title of POTUS. Their privilege comes with rose colored glasses that not nearly enough have chosen to at least lower them enough to view how things are for others whose shoes walk a different path. And those shoes coverd many different paths during the campaign – Blacks, Hispanics, women, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, gays..
Muslim women who have had their hajibs snatched from their heads. American born Mexican children being tauted by classmates they will be deported. A black man being called nigger and spat upon. A gay man being told he will soon be executed straight or to death. All of these events, perpetrated by whites, happened within the first 48 hours of Trump being elected. This is not to say any of these could not have happened at any other time, it could, and likely has, many times before. But it has ratched up considerably in just three days. This daily fear and unfortunate reality for many of us -for as a black woman in America I do feel those crosshairs- is not going to be abated because many chose to push those rose colored glasses higher to hide the ugly.
Anyone denying that the climate has changed enough that the more hateful among us feel not just free, but justified, to behave this way since Trump’s election are accessories to the perpetrators, for silence is consent. Armchair tut-tutting after the fact is empty lip service to those who hurt. For while I do not believe the entire country will completely fall into the dark ages racially and socially, if the past couple of days have proven nothing else, I do believe the day to day social climate is going to be a rougher path to travel.
In all honesty, I have no idea what kind of president Trump will be. I have no idea how a Republican led House, Senate and presidency will effect this nation as a whole. They may yet shock us all. Not holding my breath on it, though. I have lived through several presidents now in my adult life. Some were given my vote and I lived through them, some were not and I lived through them. Like it or not, and I don’t, the nation has elected Donald J Trump, President of the United States of America and I am an American. I will respect the Office of the President of the United States, for I know it is bigger than the man who serves in it, and I will live through this president as well.
As I explained to an erstwhile colleague I ran into on the subway, just because it’s not your reality doesn’t mean the reasons for my fear are not real. Telling me it won’t be that bad is in fact saying it will be bad. Don’t you dare then belittle and dismiss my fears as unjustified.
All of this. If there is a time to be telling people, “Calm down, it won’t be that bad,” the first 72 hours isn’t that time. But in truth, there is no time to be telling us this. Our realities are vastly different from those of the “Calm down” crowd. Their unwillingness to acknowledge that is a microaggression I don’t have time for. Love to you, Rai.