One of my personal life-mantras is to think positively and do what I can do to make this world a better place.
However, that mantra feels really challenging right now, knowing our country just elected a president who is considered by many to be a racist, sexist, misogynistic, and xenophobic demagogue, along with a vice president who is classified as one of our country’s most homophobic politicians. As a gay dad with a husband from another country and children of Mexican decent, the outcome of this election is painful and scary for our binational/biracial/LGBT family. That pain and fear extends beyond our own personal circumstances and to people of all marginalized identities…and quite frankly to our entire country.
I keep trying to convince myself that maybe things won’t be so bad…to wait and see what happens before panicking. I’m now hearing the president-elect saying he will bring our country together, and while that reeks of irony, I’m still praying that maybe somehow it could happen. However it’s only been a matter of days since the election and we’re already seeing swastikas being drawn next to the words “make America white again,” middle-schoolers chanting “build the wall” to the horrific dismay of their Chicano/Latino peers, and numerous fights, protests and riots breaking out all over the country—all in direct correlation to the election results, and with no words of condemnation coming from the president-elect.
I’m scared that my children will experience anti-Mexican-hate firsthand. I’m scared of the appointment of ultra-conservative supreme court justices who will overturn same-sex marriage and take away our family’s legal rights, take away women’s reproductive rights, and just keep pushing the clock backwards. I’m scared for hardworking families who have made America their home and are now facing imminent deportation. I’m scared that bragging about sexual assault is now considered cavalier “locker room talk.” I’m scared that the term Black Lives Matter is not being embraced by all, but rather mocked by many. I’m scared that mass shootings will keep happening and no gun regulations will be put in place.
I’m ridiculously scared. And I have no idea what to do. So with no better option, I’ll revert back to my mantra: think positively and focus on what I can do to make this world a better place.
I must never lose sight of the fact that I have so much privilege and so much for which to be thankful. As someone who is a white cisgender man, well-educated, has a nice home in a safe neighborhood and plenty of food to eat, with good health, an amazing and supportive family, and love all around me, I am immensely fortunate. With that privilege and fortune, I need to do everything I can to help lift our country up, and not dwell on fear and sadness. I have the ability and obligation to raise my voice to support people of color, women, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and so many others who are currently feeling like they live in a country that has in many ways turned against them. I simultaneously need to continue listening and learning from others, including those who have very different viewpoints from my own, in order to understand where they are coming from and hopefully find some common ground. And most importantly, I need to remember that fear and sadness will not help make this world a better place—bravery and love will.
Yes, I’m scared. But I need to get over it. My fear and sadness won’t solve anything—bravery and love will.