It’s hard to string coherent thoughts together as I await what seems inevitable. President Trump. As I watch the electoral votes for Trump climb higher and higher I can’t say I’m shocked. I would be lying if I said I thought it was impossible for him to win. I hoped. I mailed in my overseas ballot. I joined the secret Facebook group Pantsuit Nation. But I know my country and I know its history. I grew up surrounded by racial slurs, misogyny and homophobia and I grew up in a community where these sentiments were masked as heritage and religious virtue.
Trump’s style may have seemed too brash and crude for conservative Evangelicals, but it didn’t stop them from turning out to vote for him in droves. They lined up in unprecedented numbers to vote for a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, incited violence, used racially charged rhetoric, mocked the disabled and said he was smart for not paying taxes. Blessed are the peacemakers and render unto Caesar indeed. I’ve been fascinated by this phenomena of the thrice married adulterer who referred to the book of 2nd Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” being lifted up as the preferable candidate for Christian values voters. I found this article uncanny, putting what I’ve been feeling for years into words. Trump has unmasked the hypocrisy of the American religious right unveiling the undeniable ways that the religious right values political positions over the teachings of Christ.
276 to 218 electoral votes. Trump wins. I feel nauseated as the cameras pan across monochrome crowds wearing Make America Great Again hats. As I watch people I grew up with gloat about beating “Killary” and “Libtards” and as I watched my friends despair as they express concerns for their health and safety.
I can’t help but feel that a great many Americans would rather burn their country down than to elect a woman or give a black president credit for his accomplishments. As we watched CNN Español slackjawed late into the night, our neighbor came over with tears in his eyes and asked why America would want a President like Trump. In the days, weeks, months and years ahead that is something we will have to answer for.
I said earlier that I know my country. I know the racism, the homophobia, the sexism, xenophobia and ableism, but I also know another America. An America filled with organizers, activists, teachers, artists—people of all kinds–who will stop at nothing to fight for justice, peace and equality. That is the America I love and believe in.
This morning I saw a message from a friend of mine who is a high school teacher on the U.S.-Mexico border. Her students tried to calm her anxiety about the election saying, “Don’t worry Miss, if Trump wins we’ll figure out a way. We’re Mexicans, figuring it out is what we do.” Her students, immigrants and children of immigrants, show optimism, perseverance and pure determination in the face of hardship. They know the alternative if we don’t succeed in defeating hatred. We must try even though it feels hard to summon that strength in this moment. We must continue our work for peace, justice and equality. We must figure out a way.