For awhile now, in relation to the words that have left Trump’s mouth, I sat with my mouth agape, trying to wrap my mind around the possibility that this could be a serious candidate for President of the United States of America. Trump as THE representative of our country? Surely, this is entertainment trying to intercede in politics. Some of it was funny, at first, but as Trump gained momentum it became terrifying. When a party I used to have so much faith in nominated him as their presidential candidate, I was in disbelief. It was surreal and sad. Really sad.
I falsely believed there was no way in hell evangelical Christians would fall in line. Behind this guy? No way. It not only happened, but it revealed the true identity of many who have played integral parts of my life. People I love and respect. It unraveled my faith in not only these people, but in the very existence of God. I still don’t know what to do with that.
This is about more than politics.
As a sexual assault and harassment victim, I feel like everybody is laughing at me, as though I deserved it somehow. I learned from a meme my grandmother posted to Facebook that because I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey, that I am less deserving of being appalled or maybe even empathy. As the mother of a disabled child, I feel like everybody is ok with the most vile acts of his being preyed on and bullied. When I think of his tears through the years, I don’t know how we placed a man who mocked a disabled reporter on this most public pedestal. As a mother of a a child who has planned out their career in the military in the tradition of a grandfather full of integrity, I feel like his life is now more in peril and given less value by a war-thirsty administration of a country that doesn’t deserve my child’s ultimate sacrifice. As the PROUD mother of a child who identifies as LGBT, well, I am simply heartbroken. I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy to ever have to bear the sight of their child in such confusion, pain and fear.
Still, I mustered up my best mother mask and told the kids how resilient our country is. I decided to set an example to push forward into the unknown and hope for the best.
This evening, I left the house the first time since the election results were tallied and President-Elect Trump was paraded in front of the world. I went to Walmart, against my better judgment and experienced something, I had only previously imagined, from the Civil Rights or holocaust era. Maybe, I had read it in a book or seen it in a movie before, but this, THIS was happening, right now…right in front of me. A white suburban mother and her young daughter, ridiculing a middle eastern women in a hijab. It immediately struck me across the face and shook me to my core.
I can only recall this feeling two other times in my life: 1. Seeing a KKK cross burning as a kid and; 2. hearing a gas station attendant tell my boyfriend in high school, “Boy, you’re in the wrong place.” followed by being cruelly intimidated for our interracial status.
I’ve been brought to tears remembering Obama’s inauguration as I look ahead to Trump’s. I remember how proud I was of the progress made across generations because my son didn’t understand the significance in the difference of his skin color.
Just stop and think about that for a second. 8 years ago I had hope that racism was dying off. I wept tears of joy thinking that my children would never experience those core shaking memories from my youth. Things were different. Change had come. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most beautiful dream was a budding reality.
I feel like I have been sent back in a time machine.
We haven’t learned and so history will repeat itself?
Not on my watch. Not my children. Love will trump hate.
It has to.
There’s a part of me that’s trying to hang onto the little bit of rope I have left without stringing it around my own neck, however, there’s another part of me that is already standing atop the rope and is ready to keep standing up for everything I hold dear and love about my country.
Today as I was driving my son to school we began to talk about inauguration day. They have been talking about it at school and he has been very excited and engaged in politics since the election. That in and of itself has been pretty amusing. Really, hearing political views from your seven year old is pretty humbling and surprising simple and logical.
But back to today, in the car, as we were waiting for the bus, my son began to tell me that today was important because Barack Obama was our first African-American President. I told him he was right and it was very important day for our country. We sat for another moment, before he said “Mom, what does African-American mean?”
I sat in shock for a moment as I realized that my son didn’t understand that there ever was a difference where skin colors where concerned.
I explained that there had never been a black President before.
Another moment passed and then he asked, “Why not?”
Good question, kid. See how simple this is?
And for some reason, I just got an overwhelming sense of pride in my son, in myself, in our generation, just in the realization that we are moving forward to a time where our children really don’t notice a difference in skin color and that we all can move foward towards a common goal as the human race.
We’ll probably get a lot more accomplished.