I’ve been hearing so many people say we still have hope. My desperation comes from the fact that I actually did have hope but in this moment it feels as though all hope is lost. I had hoped America was becoming better. I had hoped that we weren’t a nation utterly filled with hate and bigotry. I am well aware of the pervasive bigotry and hate that is spewed toward people of color and people of other faiths. Our young black men and women are being murdered in our streets, too often by the very people charged with protecting them. We lash out in fear at those who practice faiths other than our own rather than practicing the humility, justice and mercy that we all claim to believe. But still, I held onto hope that we were working harder to demand justice for all. I still had hope that we were building a majority that was inching forward despite all our setbacks.
I had hoped that we were smarter than we apparently are, that we were kinder than we are, that we believed in the basic tenets of the faiths we claim. I had hope that love truly does trump hate. But now, hope has been shattered.
I’ve lost hope in America, lost hope in the American people. We have embarrassed ourselves beyond belief. We have made a mockery of the presidency of the United States. We cannot pretend that the person we elected to that office is not a reprehensible fool (the most polite words I can come up with).
One of the most frightening and disturbing statements I read today was from a Canadian journalist, Neil MacDonald. MacDonald said “Ultimately, though, this was a legitimate expression of the will of the American people.” (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/neil-macdonald-trump-victory-1.3843090?cmp=rss) Is it truly the will of the American people to be governed by a billionaire who has promised to improve the financial condition of the middle and lower classes by bringing jobs back to this country while his own products that are made in other countries line his own golden tax-free pockets? Are the American people really that stupid?
Is it truly the will of the American people to build a wall around our country – denying certain groups of people the very essence of hope on which this country was founded? And do we not know that walls keep people apart by preventing movement in either direction?
Is religious persecution truly the will of the American people? How many of our ancestors came to this country to escape that very persecution? And did we learn nothing from the atrocities of Nazi Germany?
Can it truly be the will of the American people that girls and women are still nothing more than property to be used in any way for the entertainment of men? Do we want our boys to grow up believing that if they are sufficiently famous or have enough money they have the right to grope women whenever they choose? Can it possibly be the will of the American people that sexual abuse, harassment and assault are the price women should have to pay if we attempt to gain equality.
I could go on and on and on. But … I just can’t go on. “This was a legitimate expression of the will of the American people.” I no longer have any will to be called American.
Tomorrow will be another day. It will take more than a single day to overcome this sense of desperation in the midst of grief. But I saw another quote today that is so much more familiar, reassuring, and inspiring. One of my heroines, the great Maya Angelou, said it so eloquently –
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
And tomorrow we will rise. Tomorrow we will mobilize again. We will come back stronger and more determined than ever. We will shatter that glass ceiling once and for all. We will stand with all of our sisters and brothers, of all faiths, of all colors, of all sexual orientations, of all ethnicities and nationalities to work for justice. You will have a choice to stand with us or just get the hell out of the way. Do not underestimate us. Wellesley women are known for their tenacity. Wellesley women are Women Who Will.