I asked my friends on Election Day, at 2 in the morning, when there was no longer any doubt of the outcome, to tell me this was all a nightmare; to tell me to wake up. To ask how I could move on learning what I learned from this election. One of my friends told me
You are going to wake up.
You are going to drink coffee.
And you are going to goddamn organize.
Be Scary, not scared.
And it is a beautiful sentiment. One I stand strongly behind. But before there can be organizing, before I can stand my ground and defend my rights, there is a measure of mourning that has to take place.
Many of us need to grieve. And we deserve that time.
This is not about “my side” losing, in fact, I am an Anarchist, so I don’t actually have a side in this. This is not about the Republicans won and the Democrats lost. I am not here to whine and cry. I am MOURNING. I am grieving the loss of faith in my fellow humans.
What this election has taught me is that my neighbors, my friends, and (perhaps most devastating of all) my family do not believe in my rights to exist in this country. That my brown skin and my very vagina make me unwelcome.
This was a fight for exclusion and xenophobia and fear, and it won. There are many of us who are no longer safe, who have woken up in a place that no longer welcomes them. And perhaps, most upsetting, this is nothing new. This country has long been divided, this country has always been racist, this country has always hated women. These people are emboldened now. They can be out and proud and open about their lack of decency because this country elected a monster.
Now before you tell me I am overreacting, and many of you will, I’d like you to see what was discovered at a high school in Minnesota yesterday:
Or let me tell you about the young woman at the University of Louisiana wearing a hijab yesterday who was physically assaulted by two white men, one wearing a Make America Great Again ball cap.
What about the group at Texas State University in San Marcos who are openly calling for the torture of university leaders for daring to spread diversity?
Then there is my cousin, my very own flesh, who succumbed to Trump’s (false) rhetoric around 36-week abortions. She, who shares her story openly of losing a child, who in fact uses that very tale to express her support of a man who would see her forced to stand trial for having a miscarriage. I, too, have had a miscarriage, though I am not as open in my story. I cannot fathom the pain of facing a judge to prove that I didn’t mean to lose my baby within days of that loss, hell, within years. That is the world that Trump and his supporters want to see. One in which a young family – no, not a family, just a young WOMAN – faces criminal charges for the loss of a child.
One of my best friends from high school just had a beautiful baby girl. I’m talking two weeks old at most. She shared yesterday that she and her husband had to have the first (in a series, I am sure) conversation about the reality of living in a Trump America. See, she is of Iranian descent. We now live in a country where she may be forced to leave. Where folks may come for her or her child. THIS IS REALITY.
I commented on her post – my own fear bubbling up for my two younger sisters, my brother, my father, hell even myself (though I am blessed with passing) – telling her how sorry I was, trying to share across a country my love and support for one of my oldest friends. She replied with a memory; the two of us talking following the attacks of 9/11, being so afraid then (as we are now) about what would happen to us and our families. At the time, babies ourselves.
For Muslim and Arab-Americans alike, this time in our country is as damning as it was then. The election of this monster is as terrifying now as post 9/11 was for us. This tragedy is real. This fear is real.
I commented yesterday on an open forum page and was called a sand nigger no less than 3 times by strangers. I took my (white) husband’s last name when we wed at the urging of my Lebanese father, yet have kept my last name in online forums and at work with pride. I am proud of my heritage. I am proud of the struggles my father faced and overcame to come here and start a life. Now, I feel like I need to hide myself to be safe.
To my white allies
This is a very real reaction to a very real tragedy. If we are going to overcome this, we will have to fight. We cannot do it alone. If ever there was a time for unity and understanding across all intersections, we have come to it. Another old friend of mine, a white male, posted a call to those of us who are mourning. He offered love and support and I took it gratefully. I want you to see this interaction, and I want you to know its value.
This is not going to be easy. This is going to be struggle. I am prepared for that. If nothing else, I feel like all of my radical organizing, all the anti fascist work, all the anti racist work I have done all of my life has led me to this moment. But I am hurting and I am frightened, and I need some time to process this. In the mean time, white allies, I look to you.
I am mourning today, as I did yesterday. I am fighting the fear of what this all means. I am afraid and alone. Now is the time for white allies to be strong. Now is the time for white “progressives” and “liberals” to use their resources to protect and shelter their brethren and sistren.
Now is the time to cook a meal, hold a hand, make that phone call you have been putting off.
Yes, we must organize.
Yes, we must fight.
But first, we must grieve.