I’m at a loss for words recently. I have thoughts splashing around my brain, but haven’t known how to formulate sentences to explain the anger and sadness I feel because of this country.
“Proud to be an American” is not something you will ever hear me say unless it is in a sarcastic tone. Even when America did something right in the past and patriotism rose in me, it quickly fizzled out because our "progress" is not enough. We are the country standing at the finish line yelling "VICTORY" meanwhile, other countries have lapped us.
Now, under a Tr*mp administration, I deeply fear that we will not only cease to progress, but we will begin to move backwards. This scary thought keeps shoving its way to the front of my mind even when I know a mental break from thinking about politics would serve me better than worrying endlessly.
I’ve written before about the fight or flight mode that my anxiety will set me into and the aformentioned intrusive thoughts have stirred up a lot of panic in me over the past few weeks. When flight mode kicks in, I desire to be anywhere but America and I dream up an apartment in London just to escape it.
Other times, I want to fight. Fight to open peoples minds, fist fight with anyone who is intolerant of anyone different than them. This stage of aggression only lasts so long and then I’m back to passive mode, where all I can do is think about getting my passport and saving for a one way plane ticket to Europe or Australia.
If I could just stay in fight mode, maybe I could be a better ally to all of the people in this nation that feel silenced. I am aware of my privilege as a white, cis gender, middle class woman. I am also aware that with my whiteness comes responsibility. I was born into privilege and because of that, my voice is more easily heard. I am aware that my skin is a tool and I am okay with it being used as one for marginalized communities who feel ignored and isolated.
I was in fight mode at the March on Washington in DC this past Saturday. I listened, yelled, cried, hugged, helped, marched. On Sunday, I woke up with the residue of pride still on me because I had been a part of a historical moment, one I hope will be a turning point. Then, on Monday, I read about the march’s lack of intersectionality and I thought back to my experience, realizing this was true. The idealistic bubble I was in after my weekend of activism needed to be burst, but it stung to know that many people left the march feeling excluded.
I read tweets of an indigenous woman describing her multiple negative encounters with white women at the march. She wrote that white women referred to the indigenous women as Indians and their clothing as costumes. These white women showed up in the name of feminism, but forgot that feminism does not just come in the shade "ivory."
I also read about trans-women feeling isolated because of the "pussy hats" and signs such as, "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries." Of course, these women are not wrong to fight for reproductive rights and to reclaim the word "pussy" after the tape of Tr*mp bragging about sexual assault. The women holding these signs may have had the best of intentions but the backlash comes from not all women having female sex organs.
I am not writing about the faults of white people to speak on behalf of marginalized communities. The last thing anyone needs is white people speaking FOR them. I am writing this to say that I will fight BESIDE these communities. I saw firsthand the problem with feminism without intersectionality this weekend and I vow to be a better ally after witnessing this.
America is in a frightening place right now and I have never felt so uncertain and vulnerable. I am realizing that my privilege kept me from feeling fearful like I do now after the change in presidency. But for many people of color, low income housing residents, people identifying as LGBTQIA+, etc this uncertainty and fear has been present regardless of the president.
The realizations that I've had because of this election will stay with me always and I will use them to be a better ally. I am here, I am listening.