Numb. That is pretty much how I would describe the day after Election Day 2016 in our house. After less than two hours of sleep, my boys woke up and came into our bedroom. First, my 13 year old son wanted to know if Hillary had won. When I told NHL to sit down because we needed to talk, he knew something was wrong. I explained the events of the evening from the time he went to bed until three in the morning when the president-elect came on stage. The look of horror on his face was real. When I saw that, I instantly felt tears in my eyes.
Thanks to NHL’s age and topic of his Bar Mitzvah Dvar Torah (read it here on TechyDad’s post), he knows history. He recognized similarities of a man from the past and the one that will soon become our president. I left him with words to be extra kind to the kids in school. To remember that this is going to be especially hard for many of the students in classes with him because of their race, religion, and where they come from. You see, NHL’s school is beautifully diverse. A large number of children are new to the United States. At the end of the day, he reported that there were tears at school. I can’t even imagine.
Now back to my youngest. I had shielded him from a lot this election cycle. He is only nine and doesn’t need to grow up too quickly. What I didn’t realize was he was painfully aware. When TechyDad and I told him the news he started to cry. Nine year old JSL could not pick up his head because he was crying and afraid. When we asked him why he was crying, it broke my heart. He worried about his friends, many who are new to this county. He asked about the wall and whether they would be kicked out.
I sat there and was numb, but tried to perk him up for school. I reminded him to be a great friend and try to make people smile if they were upset. That night JSL did not sleep well. It took me several days to figure it out. Apparently a buddy of his that is Muslim had been out since Election Day. My poor child thought he had already fled from what may happen in our country.
So why am I writing all of this?
I need to get it off my chest and I must do more to help others. Like my son wrote in his speech, if we don’t help others there will be nobody left to help us when the time comes.
The fear in my mind and heart is real.
I worry about family and friends that are not white. While I am Jewish, I am a white woman. I know that if I am walking down a street wearing regular clothing, I do not attract as much attention. My boys are white and I have had to talk to them about being the eyes and ears for their friends in case injustice happens in front of them. I want my boys to speak out and help a friend if they are wrongly accused of something. They must stand up if a friend is being bullied for any reason. It makes me sick and sad that friends have to worry about their children simply walking down the street because of the color of their skin.
Hate crimes have never gone away, let’s set that fact straight. They have been all too real for many living in the United States, but they are increasing and being more blatant for the public to see first hand. Silence from the President-elect on this topic is deafening and says a lot.
Religious freedom is being threatened. An entire religion is being attacked by the President-elect and many of his followers. Why? Simply because they share it with extremist groups. Friends I know have been threatened and told to leave the country, though they are United States citizens like me. The only difference? Their skin color and religion. Peaceful people now live in fear and are trying to keep their families safe. No, the election did not cause this. It has always been happening. The difference we have someone that is instigating it and not telling others to stop.
Deporting innocent refugees that came to our beautiful country to escape horrors is not the answer. This is not the American way and it never should be. We need to embrace those that come here and help them to get back onto their feet. My community is special because of all of the different people living in it. This is what we need to keep in the United States, not stop it and send people back.
Marrying a person you love should make no difference to anyone else so long as you are in love. I have family and friends that are LGBTQ. Some are married and others are not. They all should have the same rights that I have as a married person in this country. They should not have to live in fear of being hurt holding hands with their spouse while in public. Oh and if you are wondering, you can’t wish it away with therapy like a certain vice president-elect may think.
Most people know it is never acceptable to make fun of someone with a disability or special need. This could be physical, neurological, mental, or something else. Every human being is different and we need to stand up for them. They have right and should not be harassed. In addition to this, they should not have to worry about medical care. If we don’t watch it, they may be stripped away from people because of preexisting condition status.
While I do not have daughters, I am concerned for the future of women in our country. How can they feel safe? The President-elect of our country has stated that as a celebrity it gave him rights to touch women in places that are not acceptable. Hands off my kitty and anyone else’s! While we are at it, I don’t want any man or politician telling me what rights I have for my uterus and any care I need for it. No, I did not vote with my vagina, but I sure as hell want my rights to remain without someone putting their religious beliefs ahead of mine. Separation of church and state is here for a reason.
Seeing Swastikas in the news sends chills down my spine. Anti-Semitism is alive and thriving. Horrid groups are showing the country that they have been lurking and are ready to be seen again. Crickets from politicians on support from their group and the hate that they spew is a real kick in the gut. My oldest son sees similarities with the past. My youngest is still learning about the Holocaust and history of Germany and WWII. Neither of my kids have seen it first hand. I wish I could say the same. I still remember my synagogue being set on fire when I was slightly older than NHL. Swastikas were all over the walls and we knew it was an arson fire based on hate. As I am typing this, a known anti-Semite has been selected as a chief policy adviser for the new administration. I am going to be sick. I see history flashing before my eyes. I feel like I have entered the Twilight Zone. I used to have nightmares about being in the Holocaust like my ancestors. Now, I have to worry about this and more for my family and countless others that are not acceptable to the incoming administration.
So I am writing this as a starting point. I am looking for local, state, and national groups to work with and make a difference. I want to be actively involved and show my children what must be done. Below are some posts that I have gathered by different friends in the blogosphere. If you have more links to add, please let me know in the comments below and I will edit and add to this post.
- Traveling while brown through Trump’s America: Tips, advice, and words of empowerment – Carol at Girl Gone Travel
- Why I Will Wear a Safety Pin – Andrea at Good Girl Gone Redneck
- Safety Pins and Entry Level Allyship – Christina at WELL, in THIS House
Together we can and will make a difference. We have to because ALL of our kids are our future.