A World in Flux
It has been a month and a half since Donald Trump was announced the winner of the United States of America's Presidential election and in that time people have been asking me if I planned to write a blog post in response. At the time, I had a response half penned that I never posted - in part because I couldn't get my thoughts in order, and in part because I honestly wasn't sure I wanted to make a public commentary on the changing state of the free world at that point in time. Yet the more time has passed, the more I realise that yes, I do actually want to make that public commentary because the thoughts still flit throughout my mind on a regular basis and this is the space where I like to get them out.
So I thought I would do things a little differently - I will post the thoughts I had written at the time, and then I will post my thoughts as they stand currently. Do let me know what you think about both.
To begin, my thoughts from that fateful election when it first occurred in November 2016:
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I am bereft. People say it doesn't affect me as an Australian. I disagree.
It affects me when I get messages full of despair from people I love, lamenting that they are now painfully aware of the hatred people in their country feel toward the colour of their skin. It affects me when they worry that their child who is a person of colour will now spend part of her life in a place where not only is she at risk for that very colour of her skin, but because she is also female and this man being given power has suddenly made it acceptable for men to treat women so degradingly. It affects me when already people are making degrading, racist, sexist, and homophobic comments because they now believe it is truly acceptable to do so, cheering for him and using his words as slogans for their hate. It affects me because I am human. I believe in a world where equality should exist, and this new 'leader of the free world' has so far promoted so many agendas that are against that ideal.
My heart breaks
I don't claim to know much about the USA political system or even much about either candidate. But I do know that despite not being an American myself, I stood with her because she stood against all he represented. I stood with her because she was on the world's biggest stage, showing girls and women everywhere that you don't stop trying. I stood with her because she fought against his misogyny. I stood with her because she offered hope. I still stand with her now, because in the face of defeat, in the face of this open acknowledgement that even when she had the political background and expertise to do the job better, that the man who could put on a good show got the job over her, she is gracious. I still stand with her because she showed a generation that dreaming big is not impossible. Just like I stood with Julia Gillard when she ran for Prime Minister here in Australia, I stood with Hillary Clinton because she was a woman fighting to break that damn glass ceiling, and I want to see that shattered.
Looking forward, I refuse to give up hope. As I told one of those friends, I believe in the power of love. I believe that if people rally together, they can stand against any hate that follows. I respect democracy and so I have hope that this man who has been elected to the most powerful position in the free world will use his position wisely, that he will show the world that we have been wrong to worry, and even in recognizing the naivety of that hope, I carry hope that those who remain in politics stand against any hateful things he tries to put into play.
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My thoughts now, on Christmas Eve, 2016:
I continue to believe in the power of love, for surely there is power in love to combat all the hatred that might otherwise overpower the world. I continue to believe in the power of people to stand true to all that is good, to have integrity, and compassion, and empathy for their fellow people, for surely it is through showing kindness that we can heal. I continue to hold hope that this President-elect will prove himself to be a President worthy of his title, and I absolutely continue to hold hope that those in the political system with him, and those in other countries - Australia included, make a point of standing up against any hateful, oppressive behaviours that may appear. For without that hope I would still feel bereft. I recognise, however, that I have the luxury of hope for I do not live under his rule and any effects of his Presidency will not have immediate impact upon my everyday existence. Yet for all those I love who are immediately affected, I send this message:
Stay strong. Do keep believing in love and in hope. Never forget that there are people who see all the colours of the rainbow. Not everyone's view is limited.