I’m having a hard time this week with social media. Millennials are up in arms about the election results, writing all these long, convoluted Facebook posts rationalizing a vote for Trump or Clinton, which is not going to resolve much of anything. I get it, though. I’m upset, too. I woke up on Wednesday, feeling heavy and under.
Today is a different kind of day in America.
— Vicki Gerentes (@vgerentes) November 9, 2016
I looked at the posts from some of my best friends from high school and I nearly lost my mind. They were attacking the President-elect. They were freaking out. I saw posts from young Republicans about how they felt targeted for their vote towards Trump. I saw so much hatred in these posts; so much energy used to spit fire.
I have never voted until this election. And I really did not want to. I voted for my mother, who breathes politics. So, here I was all excited that I voted. I watched the electoral college votes roll in on Tuesday night and I really could not believe what I was seeing. I was so sure that Clinton was going to win.
Was I naive? I grew up in a liberal neighborhood, I have liberal parents, I attended a liberal arts school, I work with liberal individuals, and I am enrolled in a graduate program with individuals who appear mostly liberal. Do I just live in a liberal bubble?
Then I looked at the map. How can states or regions with such big cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York be isolated in blue while the rest of the country sits in this sea of red? This pattern intrigues me.
Today–and each day that follows–is a different kind of day. And it was going to be like that no matter which candidate won. The conversation in America was ready to change. Both candidates held identities and experiences that have been vastly different from the typical candidates in the past. As social-justice-learners, we already had a lot of work to do. The battle between a successful business man and a woman in politics was not going to remedy anything for us. I know people, old and young, who would have thrown a fit if a woman had been elected President of the United States. This election brought so many more issues and conversations to the table for us.
It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not about a misogynistic man or a sneaky woman. It’s about the dialogue that clearly needs to happen across the nation about racism, sexism, ableism, classism and other isms. I can understand why people voted both ways. The reaction and behaviors are what keep me up at night and what concern me for the future. The energy towards hate and hurt has to be spun around into love and dialogue. How can we talk in a healthy way? How can we facilitate these topics in schools and the work place? How can we make these isms a concern for our students? And how can our students help us learn more about the underlying pulse of oppression from this election?