I didn’t mean to be so silent here after the election, but after actively engaging in conversations on social media immediately following the results, I think I needed to step back after the initial shock and anger. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still angry and disappointed that Trump is our president-elect, but the initial numbness and shock of last Wednesday has finally worn off and now I’m feeling overwhelmed at the sheer number of articles, essays and opinions that are flying across my feeds everyday. I needed to shut everything off for awhile and refocus on life (which has gotten very overwhelming if I’m being honest). It also seemed wrong not to address the election here, so I’m just going to leave a few thoughts.
We shouldn’t let complacency and time normalize the situation because there is so much that is uncertain, particularly for marginalized people in this country. It should go without saying that it’s hard to explain to our children that a man who has openly made disparaging remarks to women and minority groups can go on to be elected president and become one of the most powerful men in the world. What kind of message does that send, particularly to our daughters? But here we are. Of everything that I’ve seen following the election, I think the most heartbreaking thing for me is the rise in hate crimes in this country, particularly those committed by students as young as middle schoolers. Seeing news footage of kids the same age as my girls chanting “white power” in school hallways had me reeling. This is what makes this election so different. But it also encouraged me to see kids as young as my girls really care about the election. Seeing their genuine devastation at the outcome and their openness in expressing their feelings gives me hope that our future generations will care enough to stand up for what they believe in. The world for a lot of young people suddenly became very very real.
There are things we can do when we feel helpless. Join a march; teach your children acceptance and tolerance; support businesses owned by women, LGBTQ, immigrants, and people of color; donate to organizations that help these groups. Show them that they matter because a lot of people in this country are genuinely scared – about their status in this country, about healthcare (I know I am!), about racism, about their rights as women. Despite all this, let’s not give up hope and let’s show our children that our collective voices matter.
Photos from a recent visit to Storm King.