Tomorrow is another day.
Yesterday, I mourned. As a woman. As the sister of a gay man who has had to remarry his husband of thirty years several times as the laws changed and changed again. As the aunt of a special needs nephew, and Puerto Rican nieces. As a mother of amazing children who will have to keep fighting for what’s right. As the mother of a child lost to the stigma, and the on-going lack of understanding about addiction. I mourned for all the Others who I can empathize with but never know what it is to be them.
Now it’s tomorrow. I will not mourn.
I fought and fought and fought for Chris, and ultimately lost in a way we can’t come back from. All my mourning belongs to him. I have fought my whole life to unravel what it means to be a woman in this man’s world, in a world that supposedly venerated the mother who stayed home to be a mother, and alternately found fault with her choice of “tradition.” I’ve fought to find my value, to embrace it and exude it and claim it when society wouldn’t give me my due. I believe I am a strong woman, a confident woman., and I am, in my world. But my world is small, and though my value within it is vast, it apparently doesn’t extend much beyond that sphere.
Yesterday, the country proved many things, and one of them is that there are too many people who believe that the only way to live their authentic lives is to make sure everyone else lives theirs by the same rules. This election wasn’t about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It was about the clash of ideals.
Conservatives see their world crumbling, their values being compromised, their pockets being picked. Liberals see that crumbling as expanding, those values being altered to encompass those who don’t fit the old molds, and sharing the wealth too long being hoarded. The extremes of both groups speak the loudest, and frighten all those in the middle. That is where the common ground lies. That is where we all, Conservative and Liberals, get to live our authentic selves.
We need a place that rejects misogyny, bigotry, and racism (MBR) without stamping out those mindsets we don’t agree with. There are comparatively few who would say, “I’m a racist/bigot/misogynist! What of it? It’s my right as an American.” But they exist, and they’re the ones wearing the face of Conservatism proudly, and across the globe. Most who are promoting MBR don’t believe they are. I’m treading on very shaky ground here, because I don’t understand how people who claim something like, “Muslims should be banned from coming into this country,” don’t see that it’s racist. I don’t understand how my brother’s marriage somehow invalidates theirs. And I certainly don’t understand how anyone who believes they have the right to dictate a woman’s reproductive health doesn’t see the misogyny. But these mindsets exist, and they feared all the change as somehow impacting them and their rights. They saw the last eight years as that change being forced down their throats. What Liberals saw as progress, something to be celebrated, they saw as horrifying, and threatening to the fabric of their existence.
Conservatives tend to look inwardly. Liberals tend to look outwardly. Self-preservation means something different to both sides. What won the election for Conservatives was fear. What lost it for the Liberals was apathy. What this whole country suffers from, on both sides, is ignorance.
This thing has been done. It will go horribly wrong for everyone if ignorance continues to prevail. It’s time to embrace the Other, whoever that is. If we always act in kindness, we can’t go wrong. If we always treat the Other as we would want for ourselves, our loved ones, everyone wins.
I will not be silent. I will not mourn. I will not give up the fight. We can get there, America. We will get there.