My generation has been lulled into such a sense of safety and comfort that we’ve taken completely for granted, while millions of people around the world have no concept of safety. We’ve sat in our living rooms and watched the hatred and violence happening in other countries without being able to comprehend the fear that children and families live with every day. I’ve wondered before if I’ll live through a war on American soil, but it’s a fleeting thought that I quickly dismiss, thinking of the war images we see on tv and being unable to imagine that in this country. Today, it seems perfectly comprensible. I can clearly picture a civil war, our country fighting a battle not much different than what was fought in the last Civil War. About a year ago, Brian casually mentioned that he was looking forward to his 26th birthday because then he wouldn’t be drafted. I was so taken aback, because not once in my life have I considered the draft age, or the fact that I might be eligible. I am beyond thankful that I grew up without that worry, and even more so that I won’t ever have to worry about that for Brian.
It’s only been three days since the election, and although it’s still a fresh wound, it feels like we’ve already lived through months of it. So many horrible things have happened in the past 72 hours that I’m struggling to wrap my head around. I’m obsessed with checking the news and Twitter, terrified about what I might read, but desperate to know what is happening around me. As much as I don’t want to be reminded of the hatred that exists around us, I want to know as much as I can about it so I can handle it and react appropriately. Lack of information, and a determination to ignore what is hard or different is what got us into this situation, and we cannot let it continue.
Shaun King has a running feed of the reported hate crimes and violations against women, Muslims, people of color, and other minorities that are occurring across the country. It is absolutely worth reading if you have any doubt that this election has and will affect every single one of us. I’m not the one being assaulted for my skin color, but my heart hurts as if I were.
I’m comforted by the fact that I live in Illinois, one of the states that overwhelmingly voted for Clinton, and that I’m majority surrounded by people who feel the same way as I do. I can’t imagine how much harder and scarier it would be to live in a place where your opinion is not welcome or respected, and you are targeted because of it.
“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”-Kofi Annan
I plan to actively fight this president and everything he believes in. I don’t know exactly how, but I’m looking to people like Shaun King for direction. I’m going to an event tonight to discuss what comes next. I’m reaching out to my LGBT and colored friends to let them know I will fight for them. Offering to take wedding pictures for gay and lesbian weddings might not seem like a fight, but it’s a small piece of a much larger puzzle that is taking shape around us. Do what you can with what you have.