What It Means

I continue to cry on and off throughout the day. Tears of sadness. Tears of betrayal. Tears of confusion at the kind of community it seems we live in now – or apparently, have always lived in since we stepped foot in this country as immigrants.

I keep staring out the window wondering, Now what? 

We lost something on November 9th. More than an election. Something – call it humanity, compassion, hope – faltered and perished, and something in me, too.

A friend came over last night. To be in a safe space, somewhere she didn’t need to worry about how people read her – Is she Latina? Is she Arab? Is she a citizen? Is she undocumented? Is she a student? Is she a worker? Somewhere she could lash out and vent, rage and despair over what this election means now. What this election means in terms of the people around her, yes, but also what it means in terms of how the country views her as a woman, a woman of color, a young woman of color. Perhaps, that she will never be good enough, smart enough, capable enough, or that she will be all those things, and that she certainly is all that, but that in the end it won’t matter because they will still choose a man, a white man, even if in comparison he’s completely incompetent, morally devoid, and psychologically unstable.

I despair with her, for myself.

I despair with her for all the ways I have felt this defeat, and probably will in the future. For all the ways I’ve been told I’m not good enough, I do not belong, I should go back to my own country. And then, for the possibility of our little Anna, only five years old, what does this mean for her? Not only the question of women’s reproductive rights, the right to choose, Roe vs. Wade, but for what we believe about women? What they can do? What they are called to do?

What this election means right now is that hate, misogyny, and bigotry have won out. What it means is that racism and xenophobia are given free reign to fully and totally express themselves. What it means is that the utterly superficial platitudes of unity and reconciliation are just tools of white supremacy to get everyone in line. What it means is that this country has said very clearly who belongs here, who is safe, who is one of “us.” What it means is that I’m afraid. I’m afraid for myself. Afraid for my family. Afraid for loved ones and neighbors who have been targeted by Trump’s campaign these last two years. I’m not afraid to say anymore that I am afraid of whiteness, and white supremacy and for all the blatant and explicit, all the insidious and hidden ways it exists and perpetuates itself.

But, what it doesn’t mean is that I will roll over or that we will go running for Canada (maybe, Pittsburgh, though). For now, I will keep on doing the everyday, and feign some semblance of normalcy for the children, and continue to be hopeful and optimistic about our lives. Driving them to school. Going to the store. Attending church every week. Sports practices, music lessons, hikes, and somehow, making what we do together as a family mean something, for it to matter. We’ll keep trying to teach and model love, acceptance, dignity, consent as much as possible. We’ll keep doing work that matters – loving and leading our communities, and showing them that it does mean something.

God help us, we’re up against a lot. 

But. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’m not alone. That we’re not alone. And that I can help others feel that they’re not alone either. I can be supportive of local groups and actions, and be an active part of these collectives and coalitions, and reach out to those groups in our community that need to know that we’re here for them and with them. I can work, to make this election mean something else, mean something good and real. And the little ways I can with what little I have at my fingertips – telling stories, lifting up those stories of those in the struggle, those who are fighting for what is right, for humanity, for the dignity of those who are considered the least of these. I’ll set that table wide, and fill it overflowing with good things to eat and share, and cram as many people around it as possible. I’ll look people in the eye as I pass them on the street and expect to see the imago dei, the image of the Divine, and all the beauty and courage possible.

What it means, is that I’ll keep trying, keep believing, keep hoping. 

“Today I believe in the possibility of love;
that is why I endeavor to trace its imperfections, its perversions.”
― Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

4 thoughts on “What It Means

  • November 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Yes, Mihee, you are not alone in your fears but also your determination that we all must continue to act in all of the ways that we know are right and good.

  • November 11, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I am a immigrant interestingly enough I am aghast at the lack of knowledge and above all else the lack of trust in our Sovereign God. I would not accept a lying cheating killer as one ordained by God even if it was a woman because He would never allow that. In the end I view this as a chance to spread God’s love and true information not fed to me by liberal media. His wisdom His love. Laws enforced to keep my slightly olive skinned children safe; within borders.

  • November 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Mihee – the hardest thing for me is that the church did this. The church has normalized authoritarianism and championed white supremacist heteropatriarchy and the church elected Trump (even my super liberal PCUSA church with a woman as head of staff). Therefore, the church cannot be my tribe. The Body is rotten and I need to cut it off and make sure it doesn’t contaminate my children. In fact, I woke up Wednesday unexpectedly furious with my own parents who both work in the church and always have and raised me in it, because they built this. I haven’t been able to speak to them yet even though they joyfully voted for HRC. THIS is the culmination of their life’s work. I thought that the church was the way, but now I think that the church is the obstacle. Could it be that the church has been how people ‘go high’ and what they should have done all along is ‘go low’ like Jesus?

  • November 11, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Your observations are right on. I am a Kansas WASP, but my father’s ancestor was Johann Lorentz from Germany. I doubt that he suffered as much as my wife’s ancestor from Ireland. Our own family includes four naturalized citizens, two nieces from Mexico and two of our own children born in Seoul and adopted by us. Our other two adoptees have ancestors even more troubled: American Indian and black/white mix. They are all over forty now and have tons of stories about living in this troubled country. Oddly enough, our Indian son, whose’s ancestors arrived ten to twenty thousand years ago when the land was truly free of humans, receives the same treatment as the others.

    As a high school teacher, I eventually realized that a significant portion of the population will not be convinced by facts that disagree with their tightly held opinions. They will rally around anyone who appears as an authority and feeds them the lies they want to hear. Rush Limbaugh and all his clones have made fortunes doing just that, and Trump is now their new anti-christ.

    1John 2:22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.

    Mike Lawrence

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