Yesterday we watched Donald Trump claim victory in the US Presidential election. It felt like a day the world will never forget. My friends and family were shocked, exchanging a flurry of emails and texts, and on Facebook and Twitter many others I know did the same. We were flayed. So if we’re all the way over here, mostly middle class, mostly white, how do marginalised Americans feel? How do people of colour feel in America right now? What about people who are LBGTQIA, how are they coping? And Mexican Americans, what emotions are they experiencing? How do Muslims in America feel right now, to be vilified in the way they have been by this man, to have been branded as terrorists purely for their religious beliefs? How do women who have been sexually assaulted feel now that this man, who has been caught on tape boasting of his ability to get away with sexual assault, has been elected to the highest political position in the land? I don’t know what they’re feeling but I’m guessing it’s not good. I think I’d be scared and angry and betrayed – not so much by Donald Trump but by the people all around me who voted him in.
So now that this has happened, what next? It seems like many of us have needed time to process this information – to let the result sink in, to despair for a humanity that would vote for this man, to cry or swear or roar with anger. And I’m talking Australians here, so again I can only try to imagine the distress many in the USA are going through. But after this acknowledgement of pain, what next?
I guess we have to go on. We have to look to the future, and each do what we can to combat racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments. We have to treat each other with love and kindness, and that includes all the people who voted for Trump. Here in Australia, we have elected members of parliament who have racist and xenophobic platforms, and we still don’t have laws that allow gay marriage. So we have a lot of work to do right here.
I might have fears but I don’t want to be fearful. I want to stay open to others, open to possibilities, open to love. And yes, I’m aware it’s a hell of a lot easier for me than for many others. So that being the case, I better work harder.