This particular article was headed in a very different direction, and prior to the election last Tuesday, I thought our country was too. I am absolutely devastated by the reality that Donald J. Trump is our future president. If an asteroid were hurdling towards the earth at this very moment I, like many others, would spark a big fatty, kiss my mom goodbye and rejoice about this nightmare being over. But this is not a nightmare, this is not a drill, this is not a test – this is our reality now. And as much as I don’t want to accept it – I must. We must accept this, we must accept that this is going to become an infamous and much talked about part of history. We must accept this reality and gather our thoughts as we cannot undo the election and we must learn to tolerate things out of our immediate control. Then we can identify things that we can control, try to understand them and then we must change them.
While I am incredibly shocked by this news, I am not surprised (if that makes any sense). We are seeing the ripple effect of over three-decades worth of dark politics finally come to a boil. Now look, I am no poli-sci major, I enjoy reading up on the history of our country and I’m learning new, old and ugly truths about American politics every chance I get. But what I do know is that the election of this violent Cheeto in a bad wig will not destroy me. Trump will not destroy us, his ideologies will not destroy the bi-cultural/multiracial/tolerant/welcoming fabric of America and his followers will not plant fear in our hearts. This country, with all of its tricks and tactics, will never destroy the solidarity of all marginalized people. We shall rise again, and again, and again - don’t believe me? Google: Civil Rights Movement, United Farm Workers and the ACLU.
To all women, black, Asian, disabled, Muslim, gay, poor, Jewish, trans people out there
– this is our call to action.
In this very moment, as I write this in the library of my school and as you read this on your morning commute or wherever else you may be, the world is waiting for us to save it. To echo the message that was shared by our Editor-in-Chief, Yari Blanco, in her piece in our Culture section – we must not and will not be caught up in a frenzy of panic and fail to actualize the change that we so desperately want and moreover, need. It is time to re-examine our roles as citizens of the sham democracy that is failing us and is not answering our desperate pleas for mercy and change. We need to change the game-plan and fight this systematic oppression from the inside-out. We must learn the language and rules of this game and sweep in the finals. This is it, this is the beginning of the end.
While I may only know a few things currently happening in my community, I am more aware now because it has been discussed in class, on my Twitter timeline and by people around me – but I feel the way most of you do, out of the loop when it comes to politics. Yes, social media is an important source of news for me and offers up-to-date information on topics of this nature, but, sometimes it fails to get to the factual truth... and it’s more of a sancocho (stew) of crappy opinions, arguments and trolling. But where social media does succeed, is in sharing information with people who wouldn’t normally seek it out themselves. Which brings me to another point – we need to stop shaming one another for our ignorance when it comes to politics and our government, both local and federal. We need to instead encourage each other to do our homework and learn about the policies that trickle down and affect us.
The system that was built against the people will always and forever work against us, it tries to keep all marginalized people out of the discussion so we cannot advocate for our rights. We must each serve as a bridge to bring this awareness into the lives of all people. We must connect one another to information that will help us fight for our rights. I too have been guilty of this tendency to shame the uninformed and label them ignorant when they are perfectly normal in aligning their attention with things that directly affect them instead of daily politics. I say it is time we get off of our high-horses of pseudo-intellectualism and have these discussions with people from all walks of life.
We need to uplift one another with information that will help us mobilize and use our individual voices for larger discussions. I obviously understand that we all have different commitments and varying levels of stress but we are all living in THIS VERSION of America that is eerily similar to the Jim Crow version. White supremacy and the racist fueled anger about Obama’s 8 year presidency never settled – it has all been brooding for those two terms and it’s now trying to draw its very last breath – but we shall not allow this to happen. We must always look for the truth and spread it like wildfire. This truth being that the majority of America does not consent to the racist, islamophobic, misogynistic ideologies of Donald Trump and his henchmen of the apocalypse. How do I know this? For starters - Hillary is currently winning the popular vote by 1.16 million votes over Trump. That’s 1.16 MILLION people who cared about the greater good. Not to mention the millions of others who voted for third party candidates.
For the first time in many of our lifetimes, we have orchestra seats to witness the reach and power of white supremacy in America. Where this dizzying reality was not relevant in the lives of many, especially New Yorkers, it is now on the front page of every newspaper. I haven’t stopped hearing about Trump inspired violence since the election and some of it is closer than I am comfortable with. I have heard of confederate flags being flown in the Bronx and a Latino man being assaulted by a group of white men touting ‘Go back to Mexico’ in places as close and as urbanized as Yonkers. Here and now, we see how America’s drunken, backwards stumble into the Jim Crow days is something that will directly affect our livelihoods and safety. For the first time in our lifetimes, we have a chance to understand the way racism works and gauge the long reach of its grimy, slimy fingers. Before the eruption of violence that has happened since the election, racism was a bit quieter and menacing. Racism and intolerance like to play dress-up and hide behind the different institutions who would quietly allow them to seep and seethe into the psyches of people. Well it has come out of the shadows and it is time that we challenge it and destroy its power.
But how can we challenge this? I am looking for ways too. I have decided that the best course of action for me is to discuss and engage others in these conversations as often as possible. I have decided to try to form a bridge for people like myself, I am trying to show them the ways that politics affect our lives and how we can be a part of the decisions that our politicians make.
We must not fall back into our normal routines and ignore the looming doom.
This is only the beginning and if he actually goes through with his plan of action then so many of us will suffer at the hands of his message of hate and intolerance. I’m not going to say that it is wrong to be afraid for our country in a time like this, but what I will say is that fear can paralyze and fear can make the boogeyman seem scarier and more dangerous than he really is. I, for one, ain’t afraid of the boogeyman. We must fearlessly move forward, while helping our communities and fellow marginalized people move forward as well.
It is together that we shall overcome the institutions that seek to demean us and make us feel less-than. We are the cream of the crop, the crown jewels, and the most beautiful creatures to ever exist (fact: there are 75.4 Million Millennials in this country, we have surpassed the baby boomers). We who endure struggle and make it against all odds; we were spun with gold. Don’t let these resentful, fuck ass people who are amped off their carrot colored, Muppet mascot scare you.
We do not have a moment of time to waste on panic and chaos.
We must be deliberate in our actions and have understanding and compassion in our hearts and minds. I hope that in the wake of these attacks on us, all the “others”, that we can band together and create bonds that will last generations. It is time that we start loving and protecting one another, and to me - education is such a high expression of love. We should share information and important happenings with the people in our lives. Remember, our country functions the way it does only because we allow it to. Walk with your head held high and keep an eye out for one another during these turbulent times. We gon’ make it. There is no force in this Universe that is stronger than LOVE. We must live in the expression of love for one another right now. And remember: love fights for what it wants. So take a minute to find your balance and while you do - think of those you love and what you love… whether it’s your immigrant grandmother, your favorite gay barista at Starbucks, the right to do what you want with your own ovaries… and then get out there and fight like hell for those things.
I know I will.
We shall rise again, and again, and again.
(image by Diana Davies, taken at the NYU campus in 1970)