In 1938, my grandfather left Germany and got on what was most likely the last boat to America. He then turned around and fought against the country he grew up in. He didn't talk about Germany much but I grew up learning about what happened to him as he would tell me and my sister stories of how friends became bitter enemies.
When I was in graduate school, ten years ago, I had a series of dreams about what I fear is about to become our reality in America. In one of them, my grandfather was singing to me in German and told me to get my sister and get out of here. For a week, all of the dreams connected, albeit they were mixed up in a gigantic puzzle that I had to piece together.
I dreamt about prison camps and a militarized America where people were rounded up and never heard from again. Weirder still is that a good friend of mine had a similar dream at the same time, about hiding and being rounded up. I am not saying we will be like Nazi Germany or that our new POTUS is Hitler but I do foresee a very dark future for this country.
Should I heed my grandfather's advice and leave? The writing is on the wall; perhaps now is the time to pack my bag and get out of dodge before it's too late. An overreaction? I think not. I don't feel safe in a country where people vote for a man who is so bigoted that it seems like an uncouth joke. This, however, is no SNL skit; it's reality. America is racist, homophobic, chauvinistic, xenophobic, and intolerant of differences. The new norm is extremism and I know now more than ever that I am not welcome in the USA anymore.
God, take control because I fear this society is about to collapse and implode. God help us all!
I wrote that on the heels of learning that Donald Trump won the electoral vote and thereby secured his spot as America's next president. Everyone said he would never get the GOP nomination, and then when he did, everyone said he would never become president. But here we are.
Many of my friends are scared. Why? Because they are in one of the little boxes that lie far away from the land of privilege and security. My friends who wear hijabs and pray in mosques do not know if they are welcome or safe from Islamophobic fueled violence. My LGBTQIA+ friends are in fear for their lives not knowing if someone wielding a baseball bat is waiting around the corner. Female friends are scared that they can be sexually assaulted or raped without getting any shred of sympathy or credibility to their objectified victimization. Immigrants fear that they or their parents might be forced to go back to their country often leaving them returning to a life of hell on earth. Finally, all of my friends of color worry about their safety every minute of the day but now it's tenfold. Being followed in a convenience store or pulled over and frisked because of a burned out blinker will be at the bottom of the list of worries. If Trump hasn't made it clear what his views are about diversity and his vision for this country, then you have been asleep.
The thing that is more frightening is the fact that already there have been attacks across the country. There have been swastikas and racial epithets spray painted on walls. A gay producer was attacked on a NY subway. A Midwestern woman had her genitalia grabbed in a parking lot. People are getting notes with words like 'faggot' and 'nigger' scrawled on them with a 'welcome to Trump's America'. The crazies are running the show so now it is a free for all. Every extremist lunatic thinks that he or she now have free reign to spit into the face of a stranger or yell obscenities because now their views are shared by the president elect. Has society finally shit all over itself?
At the same time, however, there are protests happening in many cities across the country. From Seattle to San Francisco to Chicago to New York City there are people just as pissed and scared shitless as I am. And that gives me comfort. There are hooligans out there with torches ready to 'burn the witch' but there are also still most of us saying 'this is not okay'. I hope that the intellectual majority wins out and all of the vigilante activity taking place comes to a halt.
I am going to leave this post telling you that I still have hope for a better future. I don't want to come to the final conclusion that I need to flee because I don't feel safe. I already have considered buying a firearm so that I know I am safe as a minority who can check off a few boxes. I would like to think I still am safe. The people who hate me, who want to see me die want me to cower in the dark. I am going to fight and scream against hatred. Love and light will lead me forward. I will also ask that this blog be open to folks to share their stories about what's happening to them. If you go to a protest or if you are a victim of a hate crime, I want you to share your story. Together, we'll keep the candle lit and after everything, love will still win. #lovetrumpshate