Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to live in a country where Donald Trump is president

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 1:54 PM

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I think I speak for the entire Metro Times editorial staff when I say we're reeling from the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. We're reeling from the blow that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America.

We're in awe. We've shed tears. Some of us are scared, while others are simply deeply saddened to, in 2016, live in a country that would elect a man who's supported by the Ku Klux Klan. Enough American people voted for a man who's alleged sexual assault victims are in the double digits to put him in the Oval Office. They voted for a person who's continually spewed rhetoric that endangers women, ethnic and religious minorities, and the LGBTQ community.

It's a country where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by .2 percent. Point. Two. Percent. Yet, the number of electoral votes cast for Trump's means he clinched the election.

So, here we are. The results aren't going to change no matter how much we boo and hiss and stomp our feet. So, what are we going to do about it?

While I'd love to wallow in selfish thoughts like, "Well, ya'll got what you wanted. Let's see how BIGLY he can fuck this country up," I know that's unproductive. That's not going to get us anywhere. We have to keep moving forward. And moving forward means advocating for minority groups and speaking out for them when the time comes.

As a white, heterosexual, cisgender person, I realize the importance of advocating for these groups. I can't simply ignore blatant racism because it won't affect me. I can't simply listen to hate speech because it's not directed towards me. Perhaps that's a key ingredient in Trump's campaign that a whole lot of white folks missed. Sure, I get they wanted to vote for someone who was perceived to be the underdog. They wanted to send an outsider to Washington in hopes of real change for the middle class.

But, what many of them — who I believe are not racist, sexist, or bigoted but merely white people unaware of their own privilege — didn't stop to think how casting their vote for Trump would crush the gains made by religious and ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTQ people. They didn't stop to think that this man would be appointing Supreme Court Justices from a pool of white conservatives that want to reserve Roe V. Wade and as well as the few gay marriages that are currently being upheld in this country.

Or, maybe they did stop to think about it. And then they fucking voted for Trump anyway.

Wait, am I wallowing?

So, here's what we do.

As Clinton said in her concession speech, we need to make sure our voices are heard. Does that mean arguing on Facebook? No. God No. Does that mean inciting violence and engaging in the destruction of property? Another resounding no. It means being active and educated when the time comes to vote. It means involving yourself in peaceful protests. It means constantly and consistently giving a voice to those who don't have a platform, which is one of our dearly held beliefs at this very paper.

Furthermore, it means coming together and rising above this deep divide between Trump and Clinton supporters. It means we can't let the outcome of this election destroy our familial relationships or separate us from our friends. Division is an illusion and as President Barack Obama said today, at the end of the day we're all on the same team.

It also means cleaning up the way we talk and think about women. Whether you agree Clinton lost because America hates women or not, there's no doubt we still have gains to make in that department.

Most importantly, it means teaching our children that this is not who they are and not who we want them to become.

Will that be incredibly difficult when the leader of the Free World is a person who grabs women by the pussy? I mean, it's not going to make it easy. But, we can look at it as a vehicle for conversation. At least these tropes are being brought to light in the biggest way possible, which means we can vet them like never before.

As the mother of a 16-month-old son, the idea of raising a person who treats women, minorities, LGBTQ people — OK, everyone for that matter — with respect is constantly on my mind. It's a matter I bring up to other mothers frequently.

The best advice I've gotten so far? Live by example and work on yourself constantly.

I guess that's the best I advice I can give to America too.

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