For the second time this year, I need to take a pause from the regular cocktail banter that occupies this space to discuss other matters, issues that- in light of Tuesday’s results- are weighing heavy in my heart today as a woman and as a human being. Like many of you, I sat and watched, hopeful that my understanding of the world I live in would stand. I am not naive enough to believe that hate and racism and homophobia and misogyny doesn’t exist. I’m not blind to the fact that this man and his twisted message resonates with large swaths of people. I am, however, dumbfounded by the fact that his offensive, dangerous, hateful rhetoric was found to be more palatable than the alternative. Distraught doesn’t come close to explaining how I feel, it’s not even in the vicinity of concern I feel for women, for immigrants, for people of colour, for the Muslim community, for the LGBTQ community in America right now. And to make matters more difficult, I feel rather at a loss as to how I can help, in a substantive way to stand alongside the communities threatened by this movement, to fight with you.
What happened on Tuesday wasn’t just another election. It sent a message about the value many place on female bodies, on immigrant bodies, on black bodies, on LGBTQ bodies. It sent a message about what they really mean when they say “take our country back” and who they plan to take it from. Well I may be small, but I am loud and I am nimble and I refuse to buy into that hate. I refuse to cower in fear because you think my body as a woman has less worth. What you will get in return is a deeper understanding of exactly what I’m made of. You will rue the day you underestimated our strength, our convictions, our honour, our dignity, our compassion, our capacity for love and hope, our fight and our fire. I am not an American but I consider this vote an assault on the rights, the safety and the wellbeing of so many of the people I love and so many of the values I hold dear and they transcend borders and statehood.
In truth, today is not that different from yesterday. The sentiments that gave way to this election existed long before last night. Perhaps the only difference today is we have a clearer picture of exactly what we’re dealing with. And so today I look it square in the face. I take today’s sorrow and pain and loss and use it as momentum for the road ahead. You don’t get my fear and I refuse to expend my finite energy on hate. But you have ignited my resolve and my anger and my passion and no amount of vitriol will extinguish that flame. Today I lay my sadness out to bare and I mourn with you and I hold you all tenderly in my heart. But tomorrow- tomorrow we gather the pieces, we stand up and we keep going. Have heart and courage and love my friends. I leave you with this….
“No jokes tonight. Do not laugh and look away. Watch this, stay here. Burn this into memory. Wake up tomorrow: the fight will await you.”
– Neil deGrasse Tyson