I’ve been reeling over the past few days, hovering between sadness and anger, grief and the cusp of depression, yet thankfully not sinking. I don’t live in the US. I don’t know what it’s like to have someone like him voted in as President-elect. I know what it’s like to be horrified by the result of something, because it validates bigoted and racist views, namely the exit from the EU. I’ve felt the fear that accompanies the electing-in of parties that don’t stand for anything that I feel is right for the good of the country I live in, that denigrates and erodes the well-being of its citizens, particularly those who are struggling and marginalised.
What has saddened and scared me the most over the past few years is the rise of fascist and far-right views. It’s insidious, easily disguised, at times so subtle that you’re not sure whether something someone has said is xenophobic or just concern over ‘mass immigration’. It’s happening all over the place, not just in the UK or the US. I don’t know what to write, because so many people have said it better than I have, and have given me a way to understand what needs to be done next, where we can help, and that it’s okay to need some time to process, grieve, and feel anger. I’m angry because I’m a woman, and I’m deaf, and I’m human. I care. I’m afraid for people, for their future, for their safety. I’m also seeing a lot of people mobilising and coming together.
There are things we can do, to be the allies we need to be. There are ways to try and educate, to support, to listen, and to be brave enough to call out people when they’re wrong. If you have a certain amount of privilege, use that privilege. Be vocal about the importance of acceptance, diversity, and compassion. Educate yourself, be a witness when people are talking about oppression, and don’t be afraid to ask respectful questions. Understand that we all have some level of privilege, and that we can choose what we do with what we’ve got. Be a champion for people who need you now more than ever. Lift each other up. It’s going to be hard, but not impossible, and from here in the UK, I’ll be doing what I can to make the world a little better. I’m not always sure what to do or say, but I’m here, and I’m listening, and I’ll be here for anyone who needs me to be.
My sister said to me that I don’t need to carry the world on my shoulders. It’s true. Neither do you. The weight is too much for one person, and that’s why we have movements and protest groups, that’s why we talk to each other, and share the responsibility of making the world better together. That’s why we have community leaders and communities. We’re not alone. You’re not alone. No matter how bad things might get, or how difficult, there are people across the world (and more importantly, in your own country), who have your back. I don’t know if that lightens the load or if it helps. I hope it does a little.
Here are some things that are helpful:
20+ Resources to Help You Process After the Election – Everyday Feminism
‘I’ve seen the nations rise and fall,
I’ve heard their stories, heard them all.
But love’s the only engine of survival.’ – Leonard Cohen, Democracy.