I finally fell asleep at 1:45 this morning after checking and rechecking my phone. I held out hope that Hilary could pull from behind, but she didn’t. As I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feed, what I saw broke my heart again and again and again: my friends, a mix of races, genders, classes, and more, were all scared.
Not disappointed. Not put-out that their candidate didn’t win. Scared.
And I don’t blame them. Of the family trips we have planned to the United States, I find myself worried to cross the border. Not because I worry about the border people not letting us across like I usually do — that fear seems silly, now — but because of the kind of country we’re entering when we do. That fear, in my heart, is real. I’m “lucky” enough to pass as white until you check out my passport. I’m “lucky” enough that the person I fell in love with happened to be a man, even though I generally prefer women. I feel my privilege intensely this moment, knowing that I could by choice never set foot in the US ever again. And I know that tonight there are millions of people who do not have that privilege. Who have to stay and fight. And to them I say: do not give up hope.
As a Canadian, I have grown up and lived with the USA as my country’s big brother. The old joke that Canada was Britain’s favourite compared to its wild child brother. The feeling that everything’s bigger in America, and the opportunity for success there is a hundred fold what it could ever be here. America was the land of infinite possibility, and if you wanted to be successful on a global scale, you go to America.
At the time of writing, the election was split almost exactly 50-50. So while that means 50% of the country dreams to “Make America Great Again”, it also means 50% voted to keep him out. That’s more than the population of Canada voting to keep him out.
What I’m saying is, there’s still hope.
Cleve to those you love, and those who love you. Educate. Fight ignorance and hate with love and acceptance and understanding. Protect those who need protecting. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.” Embody that spirit, and in the true nature of the United States of America and all that it stands for — fight for what you believe in.
It may not seem like it now, but there are millions standing behind you tonight who feel your pain. Who wish we could make it better for you. Who will support you and love you and watch your back. Allies all over the world who are rooting for love to win out in the end.
We have a tough four years ahead of us, America. The world — if Trump has his way — is in for a martini shaker of a time. But we will persevere. The four years will pass, and there will be pain and suffering and rage. There will be violence. But the sun will rise and we will join together in the knowledge that half the American population stands behind you, as does most of the rest of the world.
As I move to get ready for work on this first day of this brave new world, I would like to close with the same quote I used in my article On Love, one that will be important in the days to come:
But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may not meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you: I love you.
With all my heart.
I love you.