This election won’t bend or break me

I think we can all admit that it’s been one hell of a week. Regardless of who you supported in the election, there weren’t that many people that truly expected the electoral map to fall out exactly as it did. No one would’ve won this Powerball.

And now we have this situation that so many of us dreaded. I have to note that before anyone decides to go off about how I’m a “libtard” or a “bleeding heart”, please know from the depths of my heart and soul that I will NOT tolerate any of that bullshit, the comments on this blog are moderated to weed out spam and assholes, and if you can’t be civil, then STFU.

I have an immense amount of privilege in some areas, and a complete lack of it in others. I can camouflage. I can hide behind my skin color and others’ assumption of who I am because of it. I have a Western European background–primarily Anglo-Saxon–so I can masquerade and move silently through the crowds as though I’m something I’m not. But I choose not to.

I choose to be out as bisexual because bisexuality chose me and I will not be afraid to live as who I am. (Yes, I’m married to a man. Monogamy and bisexuality aren’t mutually exclusive.)

I choose not to hide that I’m a woman or pretend that I’m meek. I’m not meek. I grew up with examples of women on TV like Colonel Wilma Deering, Jaime Sommers, and Wonder Woman. I grew up idolizing a mother who worked full-time in management and was a full-time wife and was a full-time mother. I knew that if she could do it, I could too. I SHOULD. Meek is for mice.

I choose not to hide that I’m Jewish, although I must admit that I’m not and never have been an observant Jew. To those who hate Jews, though, that matters little. People have already been out on Twitter, loudly offering “tattoos and showers” to Jews. (If you don’t know how unkind this invitation is, do some research on World War II and you’ll see.)

So, what do I do with all my anger for an administration that’s pledged to roll back rights for LGBTQ people? What do I do with my frustration at so many people who think it’s okay that the President-elect has freely admitted to sexual assault of grown women?

I could be meek, but…nah. Fuck that.

Here’s what I do plan to do, and this action plan isn’t the end; there will be more.

  1. Renew my membership in the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s always important to commit to stopping hate wherever it rears its ugly head, and given the number of hate crimes that have already occurred just in the first 48 hours since the new President’s election, they have a lot of work to do.
  2. Start donating to Planned Parenthood. In general, I try to concentrate most of my donations to food banks and children’s health, but things are about to get way worse for women’s access to healthcare, and Planned Parenthood IS the primary health care resource for many women across the country.
  3. Continue encouraging my kids to be themselves and not let others get in the way of that. Just because a bully has been elected to the White House doesn’t mean they have to be bullies. We always have the choice not to be the things we see that aren’t okay.

I know I lost friends along the way through this election. They took their leave or I dropped them out of my Facebook feed with impunity because this was real for me. I won’t cry for what I didn’t have in the first place. I trust my friends to have my back, as I surely have theirs. Actively supporting someone who has shown no respect for or belief in the humanity and equality of women, Black people, LGBTQ people, Muslims, Jews, or–really ANYONE who’s not from America shows that you don’t have my back. And I won’t miss you when you’re gone.

There’s been a lot of talk about people living too much in their own bubble, how those of us living in urban coastal areas (who overwhelmingly voted Blue) just don’t understand those who live in more homogeneous environments. Oddly enough, no one seems to want to turn that around with an expectation that those who live in less diverse areas try to understand what it’s like being in an area where people don’t look like you, don’t worship like you, don’t love like you. We are the only ones who have to change or understand. That’s utter bullshit. Either we ALL have to get out of our bubble or no one does.

I remember my first few weeks at college, when one of my roommates–who’d never met a Jew before–actually checked me for hooves. She didn’t realize Jews had feet. I’ve seen what that bubble looks like, and if those people don’t try to get out of theirs, they will continue to wallow in an ignorance that more than half the population rejects.

So, I’m going to be more active and work for a better America despite the election of a man determined to tear it down for his own personal profit. And I will teach my children to be better than he is (admittedly, a low bar to jump over). And I won’t be meek. EVER.