On Wednesday, I canceled my job for the day and I stayed in bed and I cried. I watched Broad City on Hulu and I left my house for the first time at 3 pm, promptly returning one hour later to put my sweat pants back on and resume my position in front of the screen.
The other times I have had my heart broken it was by one person, and yes I lost an idea that I had held onto but ultimately it was an idea that needed to be let go of. This time, my heart was broken my millions of people and the ideas I found myself needing to let go of were ones I couldn’t quite loosen my grip of. Ideas like America is s tolerant place. Women are treated with equal respect as men in regards to their bodies and their jobs. America is a place where diversity is not only welcomed, but celebrated. America is a place where qualifications triumph bravado. Ultimately, and most painfully, the idea I had to let go of was that good wins. That love wins. That acceptance and progression and togetherness would rise above hate and injustice.
I just believed it in my very core.
I woke up Tuesday the 8th and I felt like it was Christmas morning. I was so excited to make history and shatter glass ceilings. I never thought for a second that ignorance, misogyny, fear, and bullying would win. Not for a second. As the hours rolled past on Tuesday night, I had to start to process. What if good does not win?
And just like that, it became a reality. The winner was hate. The winner was ignorance. The winner was everything that makes me sick. The leader of my country. The man with arguably the most powerful position in the world. The face of my home, where I am from, where I grew up studying about in school.
What I grew up studying was that we as a country have a dark past. One we learn about as little kids. We celebrate Thanksgiving throughout the years and then we begin to realize that we (our ancestors) our are takers, are self-entitled, are murderers. Thanksgiving becomes less fun.
Then we learn about slavery. We squirm in our chairs as our little brains try to process that once people OWNED other people. Once people were treated like property, and they were whipped and beaten and worked until they died. When we get older we learn that these people had wives and daughters who were raped and murdered, and families were torn apart. At the hand of our ancestors. At the hands of our fathers. All because of how they looked and where they were from.
Then we learn that women had to fight for the right to vote. Fight hard, and were shut down many times before they were listened to. We learn about the women who served as supportive wives for important historical figures but only once in a while do we learn about the important historical figures who were women themselves. Only when we are much older do we realize that in the 50’s women were grateful for the right to vote but still were being banned from the workforce, and expected to cook and clean.
At some point in our educations, we need to be told that one evil man convinced a nation to cold-bloodedly murder 8-10 million people. The first time you hear about the holocaust you have to process, what 10 million people looks like. I remember in school we used marbles to learn what 100 looked like, then were asked to imagine 10 million. We had to process that this amount of hate and violence existed not so long ago. Then it sinks in the words we speak ‘never again’ are more of a hope than a truth.
The first time you learn what the holocaust was, you were a little girl. You stay up the whole night because you have nightmares about Nazis coming to murder you. Then you wonder if this could happen once, could it happen again? Then you think there must have been people you are related to that died because of what they believed, which is the same thing you believe. Then you watch The Diary of Anne Frank and hold your mother tight and you cry because you realized she is the same age you are now.
When you grow up, you hear racist jokes all the time. Women are referred to as bitches. People make Nazi jokes like its nothing and don’t understand why you are so sensitive. Black men are getting shot and killed and told it is not racism. People with disabilities are left feeling disenfranchised and alone, to be mocked openly by abled body people who could never understand. Water pipes that are poisonous are being built through sacred native lands, lands they were promised by our ancestors as a result of their brutal treatment.
And then we have the election. We have a candidate that was spent her whole life fighting for the rights of women and children and the working class. And man who brags about sexual assault. We have a candidate who believes in human rights, and a candidate who openly mocks a disabled reporter. We have a candidate who cares about people and a candidate endorsed by the KKK. A woman whose speeches are from the heart and a woman who copies her speech from the opponent.
To me the choice was clear. Never again was something I took as a creed. A swear, a promise, and oath.
But On Tuesday, I felt that oath was broken.
And that is why I do not take this lightly.
That is why I openly balled. That is why I want to protest. That is why my heart was broken and my faith was shaken. That is why I have never been more motivated to fight.
So when I hear, “get over it”, or “move on.” Or that I am just being sensitive and taking this too personally, I know I need to keep speaking up.
Because I remember the feeling when I first learned that people were slaves. I remember having to learn about people chained up on the bottom of a boat while white people whipped them and sold them. I remember reading the Diary of Anne Frank and feeling so sad and ad scared. I remember the look in my parent’s eyes when they told me nothing would ever happen like that me. I remember.
That is why I broke down. Because I held those truths to be self-evident. That all men and women were created equal. With certain inalienable rights.
And that is why this means so much. And that is why I can’t let it go.
Hate speech is never ok. Hate speech should not be tolerated and less so rewarded. Close mindedness leads to murder. Violence is silence and I will not be quiet. Our nation has descended into madness before and the people to blame were the people who stood idly by. The people who observed and didn’t speak. The people who let it happen. I accept this president but I do not accept what his candidacy stands for. I do not, will not, let hateful language be ok. Bullying is not ok. Sexual assault is not ok.
When we say NEVER AGAIN, we mean it. I mean it. And you will hear me.