I Weep for My America

November 9, 2016

I have abundant thoughts swarming in my head and heart, so I hope this makes sense.

This morning, I awoke to the news that Donald Trump is the 45th President-elect of the United States of America. Upon learning this disheartening and seemingly impossible information, I was met with abundant discourse on all social media outlets of individuals proclaiming support and disdain. This post was the product of scribbling thoughts together throughout the morning and workday as my fears swelled and anxiety mounted. Yesterday, I was elated, optimistic, empowered, inspired, and a change agent as I cast my vote for the potential first female US President. While I think there are more perspectives and experiences to be considered, I am not opposed to a continuation in the historical demographics of the office. I am, however, opposed to any individual who vocally (and physically) belittles and violates others taking such high authority. A few days ago, I wrote that we have lost a sense of humanity in idolizing major party candidates; it seems as though the representatives have failed to see the humanity in their constituents.

I am white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, and (although it doesn’t always feel like it) upper-middle class. I check many of the boxes Trump’s platform aims to protect and to embolden. My outlying demographic is womanhood – an identity Trump’s plans do not value. That is unless I am a man’s wife, a man’s daughter, or a man’s mother. As an independent woman, Trump does not value my bodily autonomy, sexuality, or professional goals. At the end of the day, it’s hard to say how much my daily life will be impacted by a Trump presidency. I cannot fathom, however, the concerns of individuals who possess multiple identities marginalized in Trump’s promises and in his hateful speech. General dislike occurs towards candidates in any given election. Dislike does not equate the fear expressed by countless voices in this country in our present political circumstances. We cannot be tolerant of individuals who make a mockery of others’ concerns, questions, or fears about what a Trump presidency could mean for their family.

I tend to be unsupportive of complete party allegiance and inflexibility – until this election. You can’t actually kid yourself into believing that the prominent Republican figures who denounced Trump don’t agree with many of his discriminatory policies – they simply could not professionally be associated with someone so crude and who uses foul language in public forums. I’m sorry to say that what you say and do in private will ultimately translate to public action and vocalized thought. The same individuals who believe you can “still be a good person” despite presidential and government leadership are not the ones whose livelihood and residence are at stake. I’m also not sure how any presidential-elect for the highest position in our country can stand trial for any indictment and society be expected to take a moral high ground of their own volition. Our political alignment must consider the greater good.

All American children don’t just “get to be children” anymore. The children are watching. And listening. And reading. I can’t imagine being tasked with raising a child in our present political climate. How do you paint a picture of the great nation that Social Studies lessons teach to your 5-year-old child when we are led by a man that espouses grave misogyny? How do you teach a child to be sensitive, aware of diversity, and confident in themselves before they’ve had opportunities to independently socialize and explore their sexuality when we have a President that is homophobic? I’ve read story upon story today of teachers consoling their students and being asked impossible questions about the fate of their country and wellbeing. There is no turning back in the realm of digital and media communications. Our nation’s children have access, and the media and general public will not let the hateful comments and vulgar audio and video content be diminished. Our culture of “fact-checking” will only intensify with expanded technology and access.

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION. Do not use rhetoric that incites violence. First, stabilize yourself. The emotional turmoil created for many by this infamous election season has been more than enough to undo even the best of us. Find your peace, then set your sights on a feasible goal to make an impact. Particularly if you are of notably privileged demographics, be a resource and a voice for those in search of representation. Use your frustration to identify an issue in your own community to begin the process of advocacy and change.  Ultimately, seek solidarity. Language and digital discourse is not enough to express our frustration with this election, projected policy changes, and enduring political and justice-oriented appointments. We must meet, occupy physical spaces, and strategize how to protect those who are marginalized and to create a more authentic process for candidates in future elections. This is how we restore and redeem the greatness we have already cultivated.

Please rid your vocabulary of the phrase or related phrasing that proclaims Donald Trump will not be your president. As unfortunate and as grave as the circumstances may be, he is set to be the President of the United States; our president of our country, despite our concerns. Please vote any and every time you have the opportunity as this is the best action to keep democracy and choice alive. Although the popular vote and that of the electoral college did not agree in this circumstance, we have been afforded a right to participate and participate we must. Please stop basing your vote on a single tenet of a candidate’s platform or – worse – against a single tenet of the opposing platform. Consider a multitude of proposed policies, goals, and changes before casting a vote. Consider how the platform or majority of a candidate’s promises affect more than just you. We cannot build and protect a diverse nation without believing laws and policies are bigger than ourselves and our individual identities. Please use kinder words to discuss your frustrations. Don’t generalize when you can be specific, and always value respect, professionalism, and tactfulness in your language choices. Please unite for peace and progress, not hate and violence. Do not hinge upon inflexible binaries, an unjust and unhealthy sense of competition, or perspectives that only resemble your own.

I do not solely weep for my America nor do I weep for yours. Our America is in jeopardy.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Leslie Perez November 10, 2016 at 2:24 am

    So glad I found your blog, I was starting to feel like I was the only blogger who actually touched on this topic today.

    • Reply sarah.caton@uky.edu November 10, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for reading! 🙂 I couldn’t stand by and post about another cardigan or pair of boots while major changes are taking place in our country…

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