Twenty sixteen has been a nightmare of passings. We have been in shock over the loss of our artists, of our journalists, of our heroes. And then the Brexit. And then election. The fucking election.
After it was over and the results were called, I sprinted out of my comfortable existence, understanding in my skin that I was no longer safe. I was searching desperately for the thing I could to do to fix this. The country that had given me some relative sense of security (subject to exceptions based on gender and sexuality) was not the country in which I actually lived. America had revealed her true self to us.
People of color – specifically Black people – have been telling us about America for decades. They are the Scooby Squad unmasking the kyriarchical ghost to reveal that it was America all along, over and over and over again. And we White people have been fooled by the mask, over and over and over again.
The mask is off, and it ain’t going back on. Any belief that we had that the arc of the moral universe magically bent toward justice, instead of having to be forged by the fire and lives of multitudes who refuse to let it bend back, has to be set aside now.
My logic brain knows this.
And yet, I mourn.
I mourn the America that elected and reelected a Black man to the White House. I mourn the America that found its way to marriage equality. I mourn the America that looked ready to elect an imperfect White woman as president. I desperately mourn for the America of possibility, where our national ethos of all people being created equal, equal in rights and equal in dignity, was more than a pipe dream.
I believed in that America. I – a very imperfect White woman – lived and worked for that reality. And right now, all of those dreams and all that work has gone to shit.
America, my America, the one that I have been intensely privileged to have, is dead. She died on November 9, 2016. Something of me died with her, and my grief has been unfathomable.
I want to end this post with a call to action. With a rousing cry that we will not let America the Beautiful rest in peace, that we will revive her and fight for her and make her better than my naïve experience of her ever was.
I want to, and I’ll get there, but not now. My sprint has ended, and I have to catch my breath. One foot in front of the other, I am traveling down a road I cannot see and have no idea how or where it ends. It is dark and I am terrified, but we have miles to go before we sleep and stopping is not an option.