Some of you may not like this post. It’s not about travel and it does have political undertones. If you want to skip this post I understand and I won’t be offended. But I hope that you don’t because to me this is about so much more than politics. It is about love.
Last night I was up until 3:30 in the morning. That isn’t the unusual part of this story. As a matter of fact, with the number of papers and readings I’ve been assigned this semester, I’d say that going to bed at 3:30 on a Tuesday is pretty typical for me.
But I wasn’t doing a paper. I wasn’t reading “Chinese Culture and its Implications for Foreign Policy-Making.” I was curled up on my couch watching the election coverage in disbelief. And then when I couldn’t take it anymore I was curled up in my bed listening to the coverage on NPR. And then when it was all said and done I cried myself to sleep.
I cried because I was scared. Scared that a man who wants to rid this country of immigrants like my father will be my president. I cried because some of my friends and family voted to put that man in power – knowing that if my father had never been allowed into this country because of where he is from or the color of his skin that my family probably would not exist. That I probably would not exist. What does that say about how they really feel about him? About me?
I cried because a man that called my best friend a terrorist based solely upon her religion will be my president. I cried because my LGBTQ+ friends now have to be afraid that their basic human rights to love whomever they want to love and be who they are will be taken away. I cried because I believe that my black brothers’ and sisters’ lives do matter. I cried because I believe that I deserve basic rights and respect as a woman.
And then this morning I woke up. And as I cringed my way through my various social media feeds I saw something that gave me hope.
Despite everything that happened last night, Kamala Harris became the first black female senator since 1999. Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American lawmaker. Kate Brown became the first openly LGBT governor in U.S. history. And Catherine Cortez Masto became Washington’s first Latina senator.
We may have taken 50 steps back last night, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying to make progress now. It doesn’t mean we shut down. It doesn’t mean we become complacent.
I think a lot of people took this election for granted. I think a lot of people thought racism, sexism, bigotry and xenophobia were things of the past. And I think last night was a big wake-up call.
My mom told me to take this day to mourn and then go out and fight, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I will not, I refuse, to fight hate with hate. I will fight hate with compassion. I will fight hate with education. I will fight hate with understanding. And most importantly I will fight hate with love because love trumps hate.
We are all human beings and we all deserve love. Regardless of political party, race, religion, gender, orientation, or any of the millions of other divisions that we construct, we all deserve love. So go out into the world, into this world that is so riddled with hatred and fear, and love one another. Fight the good fight, make your voice heard, change your corner of the world for the better. And above all else do it with love.