My best friend and I held each other tonight as we wept in silence.
We wept for our family, our friends, and our country.
We are conditioned to not talk about politics any in social setting at all cost, but what happens to the people who cannot afford the privilege of being apolitical? It's daunting to think that their entire agency and narrative lies within our hands as American citizens.
I have only voted twice in my life: once when I was 19 (witnessing the promising rise of America's first Black president), and this year in 2016.
I was ecstatic to not only be witness to political history once again, but to contribute to it.
This last cycle of presidential campaigning has been draining, infuriating, and counterproductive. Tonight, all of those elements have come together in a confluence of pure, unadulterated hate. America has shown us its true colors and I have never been more terrified.
We underestimated rural America. In their time of fear and desperation, they turned to a man who reigned and ruled on fear and desperation. He may or may not have aligned with the rural citizens' personal and moral beliefs, but they should all be held accountable for the very serious consequences that are about to transpire.
"Taking back the country" is essentially code for, "We wish it was still the 1950s."
I am a Vietnamese-American who descended from a family of war refugees. I understand the monumental importance of voting, because about sixty years ago, Asian-Americans were not even allowed to vote. My grandparents were around my age back then. I do not take my privilege lightly, so when I say I am doing this for them, what I mean is I will do everything in my power so that their sacrifices in ensuring our family's future would not have been for nothing.
I only wish I could have done more.
I am afraid for my loved ones more than ever. All day leading up to the results, I’ve read personal testimonies about how our now (*gulp*) president elect has triggered all of these deeply buried emotional and visceral responses from people I see and talk to everyday. The cries for help from sexual assault victims, the concerns regarding deportation from immigrant families, and the demoralizing hopelessness from our LGBTQ+ communities after having won a hard fought battle for marriage equality.
These feelings are all very real. They need to be felt, empathized, and validated.
In these volatile times, all we have left is each other.
If there is anything worth looking forward to in this nightmarish post-election dumpster fire is that people still believe in the goodness of humanity. I know I do. The way my friends reached out, immediately, to comfort me in a time of anger and desolation. The way they consoled and confided in each other with love and compassion in the face of division. Sensitivity is not the problem, but rather it’s the insensitivity that continues to revolve around us.
Never give up, never give in.
We may have been defeated today. We may have to concede to a tyrant for the next four years, but that does not mean we cannot continue to improve the quality of life for ourselves and for our communities. My people of color, I see you. My Americans of Muslim faith, I see you. My women, my LGBTQ+ fam, and any other soul out there looking to just be heard, I see you and I hear your, loud and clear. Let's mobilize and let's organize. I do not want to have to explain to my two-year-old niece when she grows up why I failed her.
I'll leave you all with this.
Thank you to my friend, Bryce, for reminding me of my favorite image of resilience in a time when I needed it most. In the film, The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne had his back broken in a fight with a physically superior foe and he was left to rot in a bottomless pit in the middle of nowhere. He did not dwell in despair nor did he lose hope of one day escaping. He pushed himself towards actualizing a path of healing, he motivated himself with the spirit of the people he loved, and he maintained faith. Faith in making the long climb out of the pit and faith that his people will join him on his quest to save his city from forces hellbent on destroying it.
Today is one of those days. The day when we need to believe again that we can make the climb together...with or without the rope.
I love you all so much.
Thanks for the invite, Canada, but I’ll take a rain check. I’m going to stand and fight for my home.