I wept for two hours yesterday morning as I watched America continue to show me its true colors.
When I asked myself why the tears wouldn’t stop rushing from my eyes, my whole being—my mind, my heart, my spirit—responded, “This hurts. I’m hurting.”
It hurt as a Black woman living in a land where, at one point, I could be raped whenever the white man who owned me wanted to assert himself.
It hurt as a future mother, seeing Black men and boys shot dead in the streets for reasons not befitting death as “law and order” is interpreted through Wild West hermeneutics.
It hurt as a Christian, seeing the love of Christ spat upon in favor of laws that would have been propagated by Pharisees, who—need I remind these Christians—had Jesus murdered.
It hurt as a Republican, seeing capitalism trampled upon in favor of isolationist policies that are actually contrary to the party’s basic tenants.
It hurt as a global citizen, seeing America hermetically seal itself away and close its eyes to the beauty of the world’s people.
I almost believed that because we’d voted for a Black president twice, America had come so far. Yes, we no longer consider human beings property, and we, in fact, outlawed that idea. And, yes, women can vote and children can’t work in factories and companies can’t sell poison without labeling it as such.
But this election result hurt because it exposed America’s spirit: underneath the veil of progress lies a serpent that vomits racism, sexism, and hatred, soiling the tapestry. The manifestation may change over time, but the spirit is exactly the same.
America elected a man who brags about sexually assaulting women, who had to have his Twitter privileges taken away because he couldn’t speak to people respectfully, and who demanded to see the first Black president’s birth certificate but refused to release his own tax returns.
And that hurts us all.
No, it is not the end of the world or the beginning of the apocalypse. But it is a time in which we’ve shown that we value disrespectful speech, sexual assault, and white supremacy over life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But I will still stand firmly on the principles on which America was founded. Although these principles did not apply to Blacks or women when the country’s seminal documents were constructed, I still believe in democracy, I still believe in equality, and I still believe in freedom.
Last night, my writing instructor told our class, “I’ve always thought of writing as my calling, and a calling is a gift. It is a gift to be a writer in dark times. In dark times, we bring light.”
So, I will bring light.
I will be a voice for those who can only whisper.
I will put into words the collective sigh.
I will write past the pain.
I will write until it no longer hurts, and even then, I will keep going.
As I do, I will set free the hearts and minds of the people in the country that I love, even as it continues to turn its face from me.