Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Lament for November 9th 2016

I woke up hoping it had been a dream.
That I didn't see a man filled with hate and scorn close to winning the Presidential Election.
Hope blossomed as I imagined seeing the news that the first female President was about to be in 2017.

I went numb.
I saw that the man no one thought a year ago would make it a few months had crossed the finish line first.
I cried last night, knowing the pain that was to come.

I knew it would come fast, but I didn't think it would come in less than 12 hours.
My sister calls me in tears saying, "How could this be?"
My gut fear had been that the man would win. That progress would be altered, that it would feel like nothing had changed since 2007.
Last night I prayed, "Lord, let love win. I don't know what I will do if hate wins."
But hate won. You may not see it but it is being felt left and right.

I text my best friend to ask how she is doing. She is not only black but a woman so in this new world she has 2 strikes against her. She tells me she cried this morning. That she feels like this is a slap in the face. I sob as I read because this beautiful woman should never have to feel this way. She is wise and she does everything with eloquence and grace and joy. Yet her skin will make her vulnerable to hate. I want to hug her and protect her from the hateful world - but I feel helpless because of miles apart and because a hateful man won last night.

I got to class with deep grief. I know I am not only in a state but in a school that probably doesn't think like I do. That doesn't feel this mantle of grief like I do. People make comments before class but I can't tell who they voted for. Until a woman I have known since Elementary school who is sweet and quiet and smart informs us after class that she had a water bottle thrown at her in the parking lot and told to go back to Mexico. She tears up as she states, "My family has been in this country for 4 generations." The other women looked shock. I walk right up to this beautiful strong woman and tell the others, "This is why I voted against Trump."

I did not just vote for the woman. I voted against that man who has never given hope but only pretty empty promises. No one knows his plans but he keeps saying they are great so why not trust that?

I walk with this woman I have known for years and hear her say in the hallway how she has to explain to her daughter why this man is bad. She tells me how she has to take her daughter out of private school because she is the only person of color there and she fears bullying. "But she's home now." That is the only comfort on November 9th.

As I walk away I turn around because our conversation cannot end on that note. She must know that someone is not only listening but is feeling with her. "I love you, no matter what others say. You are worthy as you are and you are enough. Don't ever think otherwise. I support you." I hope it is enough but I know she will feel pain again.

My soul feels too heavy for my skin to hold in. I want to wrap every person who feels a hint of hatred to my bosom and tell them, "Don't listen. Don't believe those mean words. I love you enough. You are worthy as you are right now. No one can take away your worth in my eyes."

I have to be strong because I go to work. I love work and I know those I work with probably did not vote as I did but I hope they can comfort me or at least give me space to be angry. And they do.

A coworker comes in as the day wraps up and discusses how he didn't know what the man's campaign meant for minorities. He didn't think that way. I know he is learning and listening but I grieve because this conversation should not be happening after an election. After hate has won. It should be happening before we vote. It is not the job of minorities to explain to everyone why wrong is wrong. It is our place for people who have any shred of power to ask, "Why could this be bad? What do others think? This might not affect me, but will it affect others?"

I come home and I am done. There is no comfort. Tomorrow is going to come and I will have to grieve again and fight again. But now I have a purpose. I do not just need to learn but I need to speak. Because not everyone will see or experience what those on the fringes of life experience. I can use my voice to shed light on someone crying out in pain and say, "This is not right."

When the man becomes President I can make sure those around me know that I disagree with his hateful statements and why they are hateful statements. I will not be silent and watch as my friends and family are told they are unworthy or unloved or not enough. I do not care what God you believe in, what sex you are attracted to, what nation you are from, what the color of your skin is; you are on this Earth. Because you are on this Earth you a priceless gem. No one like you has been on this Earth and no one like you will follow. And you deserve basic human respect, love, and celebration.

I walk on hoping that a woman can be elected on day as President and see as superior to this hateful man. I have hope even in the midst of great darkness.

But today I must lament, for my soul is too heavy and those I love are suffering too much because they have suffer at all. Today I cry and today I grieve for November 9th 2016.