"I'm 36 and Hispanic and today I fear for my safety. So this is what it feels to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain"
That was my first thought this morning and I even tweeted it... but I deleted it. Not for fear of backlash, but because I don't want to live in fear... and it's hard at this moment. Someone who can barely construct a sentence and has insulted pretty much anyone he can insult got elected President.
Some people will ask why I feel fear. More than likely these people haven't been asked where in Mexico they are from, even if they are from Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Perú, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or even Spain. They probably haven't gone into a supermarket in a largely white city and been followed by a security officer. They probably haven't been called spic and their main worry is what to have for dinner and that taxes are too high. These aren't bad people either. They just don't understand because they haven't lived through stuff like that. They also haven't felt racial tension escalate to the point where two people or groups of people will fight. They also don't know what it's like to get a job and have people question whether you deserve the job or if it was affirmative action covering the quota.
I'm talking as a Hispanic, by the way. I can also add that I am openly agnostic, which isn't the same as atheist, but you can imagine my worry at how little people accept what they don't comprehend. I can't begin to understand how people feel if they are women and have been harassed or assaulted. I can't begin to understand how black people feel at this moment. I can't begin to understand how my brothers and sisters from the LGBT community feel either. I can't even begin to understand how other Latinos feel. I can only understand how I feel... and it isn't Great.
Am I saying the other candidate was a darling and perfect? No. I never have. I never will. But if she had won, my first reaction wouldn't have been fear and confusion. I would have worried, but I wouldn’t have been afraid. And this has nothing to do with being a democrat or more so a liberal who voted for the democratic nominee. This has everything to do with what I've seen the last few months about a person I never liked and grew to despise. About someone whose perceived "values" are really anti-values. Of someone who has pledged to look for sweet oil, who downplays hate speech, who has made "locker room talk" completely Ok, who mocks people with disabilities, and has spurred and encouraged violence. I'm not talking about the Republican party. I'm talking about one individual who has touched every nerve to show the reality of where we live. Someone who has put the idea that one group of people is better than the other. That's how it feels to me at least... and I suspect I'm not alone.
Still, beyond that initial fear, I see a dim light of hope and I cup it with my hands. I clicked on the tweet and deleted it. I share it here so you can see I'm telling the truth of what I felt and how I reacted, but I openly retract from that feeling and instead hope deeply that given the opportunity, people who have been consistently considered poor in their decisions for the environment, the economy, women, and minorities will do right and prove all the naysayers wrong, me included.
I'm also listening to the acceptance speech of the Republican candidate because this is the reality and it has to be accepted and it is the first time I've heard words that automatically don't fill me with fear and hate. I'm not saying I'm hopeful and happy. I'm saying I'm listening because not doing so goes against the best interests of the country. The votes have been cast, the decision has been made, and now we all have to work towards good.
Some people will call me ignorant, others will keep me in their thoughts and prayers, some will call me a hopeless dreamer, some will nod in approval at these words of hope, some will call me a liberal tree hugging hippie, but in the end I am one thing, and one thing only... human.
My age doesn’t matter.
My race doesn’t matter.
My religious beliefs don’t matter.
My political views don’t matter either.
What matters is that I shall always define myself in the best possible way and I shall exercise the right to keep giving my best and choosing love and hope over fear every step of the way.
Peace, love, and maki rolls