Last night as Dan and I watched the election results unfold on television as Trump began to rack up an electoral college win, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t believe that it was happening. We both said little as it became apparent what was going to happen, what we would wake up to.
I drove home in silence. No radio. No iTunes. Just the sound of my tires thumping down the road and my own scattered thoughts rattling in my head.
When I got home, I turned on the TV and looked at FB to see if there had been any last-minute surprises. There were not. I was up very late, unable to sleep until about 4:30 AM. I woke up at 7:00 AM to the sound of my alarm. Unlike every other morning for as long as I can remember, I didn’t immediately open my eyes. I lay there with the alarm chiming and my eyes closed. I was afraid to open my eyes. For a few blissful moments, I didn’t have to face a world where the electorate decided that a racist, sexist, misogynistic, pussy-grabbing, xenophic megalomaniac sexual predator was fit for the presidency of the United States.
Ultimately I decided to open my eyes and turn off the alarm and contemplate my next steps. In my department, at my level of management, 3/5 of my team are LGBT. One already called in sick. Now I had to decide whether I would too. One of the signs of privilege is that you don’t have to worry about your individual speech and actions being considered representative of others like you. Minorities don’t have this luxury. We have to decide if we’re going to be the angry black woman, the militant Deaf person, or the weak gay person who can’t handle it when the going gets rough. Knowing one of us had already called off, the remaining two of us decided that we would go to work, despite feeling angry, sad, and scared at the betrayal we suffered at the hands of our fellow citizens. Sometimes individual self expression isn’t an option for us.
I did text my boss and say that, for obvious reasons, I would be late. I looked at Facebook for a bit, and then took a long hot shower. I got dressed, stopped for coffee, and then headed into the office. Over the course of the day, I’ve heard stories of the KKK marching on bridges in their hoods, and minorities being accosted in Starbucks and being told, “This is Trump’s America!! Get out!”
I don’t know what will happen next, only what I will do next. I know that most people look at me and see a funny, if meek, unimposing gay man. That’s okay. I’m soft and kind and it’s generally how I like to live. But when pushed, I have ire in me. I’m an Owens and Wells, neither surname associated with even temperament. If the fight is brought to us, we. will. rise.