I am devastated by the election results. I am experiencing all of the stages of grief. This is so much more intense than 1980 and 2000. Because in this election an ugly spirit was unleashed to stoke fear and attract votes. One candidate gave people full permission to express misogyny, racism, and xenophobia both in words and actions. And now winning the electoral college (but not the popular vote) these same people are emboldened and we are seeing a lot of ugly.
I am still struggling with how to express my dismay without closing down the possibility of dialogue with people who didn’t vote or voted for Trump and are not racists. I attended a Stronger Together organizing meeting in Sacramento with over 200 people on Veteran’s Day. I hope they follow through with the ideas of communications training and a clearer message about the Democrat’s vision for the economy. This will help in 2 years.
What can I do in the meanwhile, when so many people feel fearful and are experienced harassment or worse? I read a post by one of the women in Pantsuit Nation on Facebook where she introduced the idea of wearing a safety pin to let people know you are a safe person committed to standing with them against the threat. She read that this started in Britain after Brexit when they had a similar increase in racially-motivated violence. As the writer said she is a little overweight, grey-haired and looks like someone’s grandma. She is invisible most of the time. Yet, she is also non-threatening to the fearful person and yet a formidable foe to a bully. This is me!
I can use my superpowers of invisibility. I look powerless and benign. However, I prepared to stand up or beside anyone who is threatened verbally or physically. I’ve been the person who needed someone to walk me to my car, or to sit with me while I wait at a scary train station. Now it is my turn to provide safety in numbers.
Some say that I am appeasing my white guilt and can keep my damn safety pin. I am not acting out of guilt. Yes I am privileged because of my lack of pigment, and my relative wealth. And I’m a woman so I know what it is to be made less than because of my sex. I know what it is like to stand up to bullies alone. And I have asked for help and received it. So I will put my safety pin on with intention and ask God to help me stay awake and alert to what is going on around me. I will make eye contact and engage with all people in a friendly way. And if needed, I will respond to assist people to safety.
Coda: Good advice on having a plan if you do wear a safety pin: https://isobeldebrujah.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/so-you-want-to-wear-a-safety-pin/
Coda2: Sometimes it feels like this: