I’ve been quiet, these last few months, despite the chaos and despair and fury and bitterness and all of the other emotions brought upon us by this nightmarish election and the slowly approaching doom that we’re getting as a result. Probably uncharacteristically quiet. Sure, I’ve been vocal on Twitter, but other than that, I’ve contributed next to nothing when it comes to the rising tide of Trump and all that brings with it. It’s for a number of reasons — some of them quite dull, to be frank — more time spent at home with my family, more time spent at my day job, more time spent on my day-to-day life in general.
But the truth is, I’ve also been quiet because I lost hope. Completely. This is the first time I’ve felt so completely shattered by an election. For every post that my co-workers have put up about the fight against Trump and all he stands for, I’ve just been slowly drowning, with no way to get back to the surface.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what anyone can do anymore. This country — this country that I’ve made my home, that I’ve chosen to raise my family in — has done the unthinkable. It embraced all the hatred, venality, prejudice, and small-mindedness that I thought I’d left behind when my family fled South Africa 30 years ago. The United States has always been broken, but it wasn’t until this election that I started to think that … maybe it can’t be fixed. And that has led to nothing short of despair. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know who to talk to that can give me any sense of hope for the future.
That changed this weekend. Finally. It took some pretty drastic things — mainly, the ongoing attack on Representative John Lewis, one of my few living heroes. First Trump, then D’Souza, then Spicer, then Rob fucking Schneider, of all people. All people who felt like they needed to lecture one of the few truly good, honest men in this world. Someone who has literally devoted his life to the cause of equality. But god knows that sometimes, white Americans can’t let a black man talk back to them for a second without giving him a lecture. And so once again, white folks decided to start telling black folks how to black better, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, no less.
And that was the straw.
Actually, this was the straw:
People? I am fucking done with your bullshit. I don’t know what the next steps are, but I’m gonna figure that out. We’re all gonna figure it out. Together. After a few minutes of frothing rage and howling despair, I stopped. I took a breath. And I immediately, without even really thinking about it, did this:
Because seriously? Fuck that guy. So I’ll start small. I started by making a pact with myself: every time I see some truly egregious bullshit like this, be it racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, any of it — I’ll throw some money at the group being affected. Even if it’s a couple of bucks. Not because I want to make a statement, not even because I necessarily think it’ll make a difference. But because it’ll keep me moving forward. It’ll stave off the inertia. It’ll remind me to stay vigilant. And by staying vigilant, by reading and listening and watching and talking and discussing, we can start learning how to fix this goddamn disaster. It’ll suck. It’ll be hard. But enough with losing myself to fear. It’s time to dust myself off and get back up, just like millions of you are already doing. Like Dustin wrote recently, it’s already begun. So let’s talk some shit out. What are you doing? How are you doing it? How do you stay engaged, stay enraged? What do you do to keep hope alive?
We fight the fight in every way we can, big or small. Talk about how you’re doing it.