First and foremost, this is NOT a political post.
In this past election, I voted the way I did because I felt very strongly about certain issues. We had a record turn out in the presidential election – people felt passionately about the candidates – either for or against – but still, only half the eligible population actually made their choices known.
There were a number of reasons for this – why you voted or why you chose to not do so. Am I happy with the results? No. Do I wish things had gone another way? Absolutely. I also would have preferred an entirely different candidate, but again, neither here nor there. But what’s done is done.
Now it is time to deal with the fall out.
I am NOT saying that all who voted for Trump are racist misogynists. As I said, people had reasons to vote the way they did, but SOME people are taking Trump’s win this past Tuesday as sign.
People are frightened, and this is something that you cannot argue with. I have seen some people post ‘Suck it up, liberals’ or other such variations, but with the dramatic rise of hate crimes in the US, people have every right to be frightened, and no one has any place to tell them that their feelings are not legitimately, especially when people have been outright threatened.
Some have already been hurt by this.
And some have died.
No matter which way you voted, even if you did not vote for whatever reason, that is not an excuse to give into hate.
In case you’ve missed this, we live in the United States of America. People are SUPPOSED to be free to practice whatever religion they wish (or no religion for that matter). People are SUPPOSED to have equal rights, no matter their ethnicity. People are SUPPOSED to be free to marry whom they chose. People are SUPPOSED to be free to be WHO they chose. People are SUPPOSED to be safe here.
I beg of you – those on both sides – do not let the results of this election throw us back 60 years.
We have accomplished so much as a nation. Yes, we have so much further to go so that our citizens – born as well as naturalized – are on equal footing, but do not let this backslide. You do not have to agree with someone’s personal beliefs or choice of life partner to treat them like a human being. Everyone deserves that simple decency. It was something I’ve noticed this country struggle with in the past, but people TRIED.
Please, be vigilant. Help those in need. Stand up to the bullies out there who suddenly think it’s OK to ignore everything our country stands for.
There are any number of ways this can be done. Things so simple as wearing a safety pin to let people know you are a safe harbor – that you can be trusted. That you are willing to help and you are there for them if they are afraid. It may sound silly, but just that one little thing – a visual indicator that you are – it means a lot to someone who is terrified.
Huffington Post also had an article with a number of places you can volunteer at. I won’t rehash it, but you can read the article here.
These are places to start.
If you witness a hate crime, I’m not asking you to step in, though a show of solidarity would certainly do a world of help and make people reconsider what they are doing (so I hope). Film outbursts of bullying. Report these things to the local police. Stand near the victim and strike up conversation.
There is no reason that this election should tear us down as a nation. Please stand up for what you KNOW is right. Help those who are so very frightened right now. Be an ally and let them know they are not alone. I beg of you. It takes very little effort to put forth an effort in this regard.