Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thoughts on the Apocalypse

It's been one week since the apocalypse happened. People are protesting, fear is rampant among the citizens, and a dangerous new era has arrived. I can't help but dread every news update that I see, because in the past week, the reality has worsened, even as many try to normalize the truth of who our new president will be.

Sorry for the rather dramatic introduction, but while that may seem like a dystopian novel opening, I think these words may be even more unnerving.

"Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government." 

These are actual words from the House Speaker, describing the current state of our government.

Compared to most, I'm lucky. I'm not a part of the specific marginalized groups that Trump and his campaign has targeted, although I would consider myself a second-generation immigrant. I have not been attacked or threatened by strangers based on who I am, and the worst I've encountered is some Twitter trolls. But I'm terrified. Asians have been harassed, being called slurs and I have no idea when/if that will happen to me. And while I want to think my peers are civilized, if there are vicious hate crimes occurring at even the most prestigious and well-educated schools (see the UPenn incident, an IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL), I'm terrified. I attend school in a red state, and while the district I am in voted blue, it's a sobering thought.

Last week, my friend and I were joking about Trump even being a candidate and how we couldn't wait for the news to stop focusing on him when the election effectively destroyed him. While I was aware of the legions of loyal followers I saw on the media, most people would surely be reasonable enough to see the true monster he is. Yet, this country failed me, especially those of white. Calling those who voted for him racist is too extreme, is an arugment that I've seen online. They had valid reasons and are not all ignorant, they say. Yet my question is, did sacrificing the safety and well-being and mental/physical health of the majority not factor into your decision? I'm supposed to understand why you thought letting someone who has no idea what he is doing into office was the smart, well-thought out decision. The fact that such people exist in the book community is disappointing but unsurprising, considering how many treat diversity, and the severity of the hurt racist/problematic books inflict on people.

What has kept me going is the tireless efforts of many authors that I see on Twitter, the authors that have been advocates of diversity and now in the face of a real crisis, have championed this cause with the same rigor that was applied to the problems in the book community. To take a moment, if you are vocal about the issues of diversity in books but have not cared enough to support the real issues so many Americans are facing because of the dark lord who has been elected, I don't trust you or your advocacy. You are indirectly telling me you don't care enough about my mental well-being or those of so many in the book community who are working so hard to call representatives and donate etc. This might sound harsh, but the fear and anger I've heard from friends is so much more important than your guilty conscience.

The one thing that has come out of this entire election that could even be positive, is that I've decided to seriously consider working in publishing. Literature is important more than ever, and I want to work somewhere where I can work to make a difference, and while it is a pipe dream, helping to have the publishing industry diversify and promote marginalized authors, who represent those who are going to have it the hardest in the coming years, is the least I can do to help. It's my way of working towards something I can do to help. It may not be much, but as Rudyard Kipling once said,"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

I've also decided to pay even more attention to politics. I am slightly ashamed that I didn't know the name of my congresswoman until this morning. She is thankfully, very vocal about denouncing the terrifying figure up for a senior WH position as well as her opposition towards the interests of our president-elect that will destroy our country and I am grateful and proud. There are senators and House reps who are working to protect us, and I am thankful. I am still terrified because it may and very likely could not be enough because the fact stands that enough citizens believe that supporting a racist egomaniac who was fully equipped with a vice presidential candidate who is well known for being strongly anti-LGBTQ+ and appealed to the white supremacy and racism that is deeply rooted in our country, is the correct track for our country.

This ended up being filled with anger and fear and for that, I apologize but I felt this needed to be said. To my friends who are also scared and concerned, I am sending you love and hugs. I am uncertain and worried as well, but I have hope in the people that are fighting, and while so many in America are rotten from the core, I know there are those out there who know this is not okay. To those fighting, thank you and I love and respect you.

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