Last night I called my ma.
I didn't call to catch up and I didn't call on a whim. I called because I was scared and that's what you do when you're scared; you go to mom for help.
And you know what, she really did her best to hold back on mounting panic I knew she was feeling right then. She was scared too. Just like my dad, our friends, and about half of America. I don't think there's anything as emotionally shattering as listening to the people you love forcing themselves to stay positive in the face of overwhelming disappointment in a country that had been, just hours ago, seemingly headed towards real progress.
More than the mix of disbelief and fear, what made that conversation so incredibly heartbreaking is the sheer effort it was taking both of my parents to keep that note of hopelessness out of their voices. Something about listening to my dad's trying-to-keep-control deadpan tone was so much more painful than the numbers I was seeing on my computer. And it brought me to tears because I knew his efforts were done for my sake. I don't think he'd forgive himself if my loss of faith in government and people were due to his own feelings of helplessness in the knowledge that people took a look at their two options and then chose wrong.
I'm not one of those people who assume all Trump voters are misogynistic racists. I don't think they're bigoted hillbillies either. Don't get me wrong, Donald Trump is one of the most vile, dishonest, shudder-inducing men that exist, but that doesn't reflect on all of his supporters.
I grew up with Trump supporters, they're still some of my best friends. That doesn't mean I won't hold them accountable for mess coming our way, and that doesn't mean that race wasn't a heavy influence. A person doesn't have to be blatantly racist in order to want things better for themselves. However, the white people voting in this election are attempting to make things better for themselves at the cost of others, and I think they know what that cost is and have accepted it. I think they let themselves be blinded to the faults of a man in return for a promise he can't keep. America was only ever great for a single group of people, and most of the white, male voters who carried Trump here, to President-Elect, did not and never will belong to that group. It was great at the time for those at the top, and at the top is where they'll stay. For the rest of us--women, minorities, immigrants, members of the lgbtq+ community, the working class--this country was only great because we were able to fight for what we knew was good and right in the world. The presence of hope and the faith we had that we could continue forward and make things great for everyone, not just a predetermined few.
I'll admit it has now been tested. I've never been religious, I don't believe in anyone's god. My faith has always rested in people themselves. There is nothing more to have faith in than the presence of human decency in a world that is so deeply committed to individualism and greed. Last night gave my faith a huge blow. I'm bleeding and don't know when it will stop. What I do know is eventually it will, and then comes the fight. If nothing else, this election has shown me how much work we have left to do in our country and those who care need to be ready to work for it. We can't give up. We can't let them destroy the progress we've made. I thought we were better than this, that's for sure, but now I've seen we aren't and we should strive to be.
I know that's what I'll be doing, along with being eternally grateful I have my mama to call when things get rough.
Stay strong, friends.