Well America, we done fucked up.
I talk a lot about the importance of representation. Strong women, Asian American, LGBTQ, POC communities in general. Those are what I want to see, because it means so damn much to look at the media, your government, your neighborhood and feel like you belong. Your existence is valid and your voice will be heard. Last night, we saw the flip side of that.
For the next four years, any dumbass bully will look up to the highest office in the land and see themselves reflected back. Trump’s entire campaign told that idiot shit head you went to high school with that he won’t see consequences for his racist, sexist, homophobic actions. No, even better, he can become President of the United States of America. If little girls in America were going to look up at Hillary Clinton and say, That could be me some day, then so too will any little white rich boy who refuses to grow up and take responsibility.
I convinced myself at one point last night that when I woke up it was all going to be a dream. That this didn’t just happen. But it did. That man, Donald Trump, a man with no political experience or knowledge is slated to become our next President. After four years with the first black president in America, the jilted, racist, middle America felt threatened enough (by a woman leader) to vote in droves for that.
Of course they don’t really know what feeling threatened is like. I do. I am scared of the next four years. I don’t feel safe when I think of the next four years. I fear for myself, as a Chinese American, feminist, journalist. But more importantly I fear for my black, LGBTQ, Latinx, Muslim, and POC friends.
After a year and a half of being encouraged to beat, harass, and attack minorities — and many did — that atmosphere of Us vs. Them (i.e.: White vs. Other) will only heighten in the next four years. His message of hate, misogyny, fear, racism actually resonated with a 84 percent of America. With an approving president looking on from the White House, what’s stopping them?
When I went on Instagram today, I already saw the immediate hate mongering that will be our future. These are only 3 Asian Americans, targeted because they were outspoken about the real issues America faces today: immigration, Islamophobia and hate crimes, LGBTQ rights, reporting the truth in the media. I can’t imagine what the black, Islamic, and LGBTQ leaders are facing right now.
Last night and this morning, I curled up in despair. I didn’t want to see more confirmation that this was our new reality. I wanted to hide under my covers and ask Why? How? What? again and again until it made sense. I wanted to reach out to my POC, LGBTQ friends and loved ones who felt the same fear, sickness, and sadness and just hold each other. I wanted some one to blame, I wanted a recount of the votes, I wanted for this all to go away. But it won’t. So that means I have only one option:
Work. Write. I have the voice, means, and privilege to hold this motherfucker accountable at every turn and I will. I love what I do, and I’m pretty damn good at it too. This Bitch will not let him bully me, a journalist, feminist, and Asian American into silence.
- Tell stories. Maybe we were telling the wrong stories to the wrong people. But we know that stories help people understand each other. So we have to keep looking for stories to tell.
- Hold the powerful accountable. This will be easier with a president than with a candidate. An actual president causes real consequences, starting with the economy today, and extending to our justice system, education system, our social welfare system and the security of our nation.
- Explain more things. This may be the one area where journalists universally fell short. While there was some great explanatory work over the past 18 months, it paled in comparison to the horse race banter.
- Help identify the pathway forward. Give your audience a way to be heard, a way to listen to each other and concrete actions they can take.
- Finally, model compassion and civil discourse. We need that now more than ever.
These next four years are going to be awful, and we’re not going to get through it alone. And we don’t have to. Reach out to each other, support each other, and stay strong. And start digging because there’s not a whole lot of light at the end of this tunnel.
If you’re like me, you also just really need this right now: