Grasping for Answers

I originally wrote this on Facebook on November 9, 2016, one day after the election. I’m posting it in-full, unedited here:

I ask these questions because I’m genuinely interested in your ideas and answers as someone who is my friend or family member. What do we do now? What are some concrete ways that we can stay completely alert in the coming days, weeks, and years–keeping our eye on threats our president-elect will undoubtedly throw our way? How do we stay accountable to, and involved with, our communities—especially those in it who are most marginalized? How do we become better allies to people who are living in fear? How do we keep what happened last week from ever seeming normal?

Like so many of you, I’ve lost sleep, focus, and strength in the past seven days. I know I will not be able to be much of an active member of my community if I don’t figure out a different way of going about my day-to-day.

Earlier this week, I went to a small meeting of community organizers in my neighborhood who activated after the election for the purpose of standing in solidarity with the most marginalized members of our neighborhood. Then, last night Nick and I went to our local legislative district Democrats meeting. The news and stories in both meetings are unsettling, to say the least.

Nick is a clinical therapist and I am helping expand an organization that fights for marginalized kids, so we’ve been seeing and hearing pain and tears all week (more so than before the election), in addition to the pain and fears of our friends. We know we haven’t done nearly enough to be involved up to now. We know we need to do much more.

I ask all of this from a place of privilege, a white guy living in Seattle, Washington. And, that’s why what I’m seeing and hearing is all the more unsettling. Even here, in recent months we’ve heard reports of racist bullying, a swastika being painted on a pole in our neighborhood, and LGBTQ people being attacked. In the past year, I’ve even heard hate-filled, derogatory comments within the ranks of people I considered to be closest to me, which of course was the most alarming.

I was one of the shocked white people on election day. In my privilege, I had believed that our country—that every single one of my friends and family members—would reject Trump for all the horrific things he is. So, I want to make sure my ears and eyes are more open now. I truly want to understand how this could’ve seemed like the best option. I want to be an active part of the resistance to what we’re about to go through. Most of all, I want to be more available to be an ally to those who feel even less safe than they did a week ago.

I feel like I may sound alarmist. But I refuse to lay down and say, “Well, let’s just hope for the best.”

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and ideas.

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