The election for the United States electoral college has come and gone. In a month and a week, the new President of the United States will be elected (if this sounds confusing, please watch this helpful explanation on how the electoral college works).
My preferred candidate didn’t win the electoral college election. My second-preferred candidate didn’t win, either.
Am I disappointed? Yes. I would have preferred someone else as the 45th President of the United States. I’m as disappointed as I was in 2000 and 2004. I’m as disappointed as many of my family were in 2008 and 2012. I worry about what the next four years might bring.
But I’m also afraid. I couldn’t sleep the night after the election. I rarely cry, and I didn’t that night, but I felt like I wanted to. When I woke up the following morning, my fears had found form. The night after, the days after the election, there was a spike in homophobic, xenophobic, and racist threats and physical attacks. People I know, who are the targets of such aggression, poured out their hearts and expressed their terror at the thought of leaving their homes, wondering if they would be the next victims. Calls to suicide prevention hotlines have spiked dramatically.
In the midst of these voices another call was heard: Get over it. Your candidate lost. So what? Stop whining. Move on.
Let me be clear. There are people who are dramatically upset that Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, and Evan McMullin lost the election for no other reason than they lost.
But the people I know who are truly frightened today aren’t afraid because they lost the election. They are afraid because in the wake of the election they are being threatened and physically attacked.
Let me repeat that: They aren’t afraid because they lost the election. They are afraid because in the wake of the election they are being threatened and physically attacked.
They aren’t afraid because they lost the election. They are afraid because in the wake of the election, they are being threatened and physically attacked.
Get over it. Your candidate lost. So what? Stop whining. Move on.
Maybe I’m not ready to simply move on.
Maybe I remember when even after the constitutionality of same-sex marriage was declared, elected officials still refused to grant people that hard-earned right, making my friends wonder if their marriages were in jeopardy, too.
Maybe I remember when I asked my transgender friend which pronouns she preferred, and she nearly cried; no one had ever asked her that before, and people had only used pronouns to mock or attack her.
Maybe I remember how many times I heard my own family refer to our current President as “that nigger”, and even when others chastised it, they accepted it. “That’s just they way they are,” they said.
Maybe I remember my classmate telling me how often he was stopped by cops while walking down the street of the city our seminary was in, because he was black.
Maybe I remember the first time one of my friends told me that they were victims of sexual assault, and when they tried to stand up for themselves, they were immediately shunned by their friends, who made every excuse possible for her attacker’s actions.
Maybe I remember a bishop in the ELCA (my church) being told by one of our congregation’s call committees that he had better send them “No blacks, no gays, no women,” and people thinking that was perfectly okay.
I want our country to come together once again, to work together, to work towards unity. But maybe, because people consistently refuse to acknowledge the horror and torture that people I love have been subjected to for years, maybe I’m not ready to simply forget it all and move on.
I’m not ready to move on. Not while the people telling me to move on won’t listen to the voices begging them to listen to their stories and what’s happening to them. Not while victims continue to go unheard or are dismissed with a flippant “get over it”. I’m not ready to move on.
I stand with them.
Featured Image: “Student Voices” by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
To those experiencing violence and intimidation from people who feel empowered to put their hate into action:
I stand with you. If you need someone to listen and support you, I’ll be there. If you need help finding safety, I’ll do what I can. If you feel alone, there are others willing to hear, listen, and talk. Email. Call. Get in touch with someone. You are not alone.