My Thoughts on Today's America

10:29 PM

A photo posted by Sora Hwang (@via_sora) on

I hesitate to even write this because I started Via Sora to focus on the good in my life, on the things that make me happy, and to get away from the negativity. The current political climate is not one of those things.

But, I've been angry and unable to think straight. Writing is my way of sorting through those jumbled thoughts, so here we are in an attempt to work through this emotional weekend and get down to my own fears. To let out some of the infuriating anger I have been harboring since the election.

This weekend has been a tumultuous one, to say the least. I went to sleep on Thursday dreading a Friday for the first time in my life. Then, I woke up on Friday ready to throw up. I waited for that feeling to go away - that deep pit in my stomach, the knot in my throat, the weight on my chest. From my commute into work to my usual morning office routine, it never left. In fact, it only got worse as noon drew closer.

It was such a different feeling from what I had in 2009. Then, my high school stopped classes for the entire student body to join in the auditorium to watch Barack Obama's inauguration. Regardless of party or views, we all recognized how important that moment was in our history. Our first African American president. Wow.

I remember not knowing much. As a 15-year-old who couldn't vote yet and didn't have much interest in politics, I didn't know what platform Obama had run on. I didn't know the intricacies of the 2008 election. What I did know was that I was watching history. I felt excitement. I could practically touch the hope and promise of progress around the corner for our country that has been so rooted in racism. We were on the verge of change.

As a daughter of immigrants and a first generation American, I was overwhelmed with the (for me) newfound potential for minorities in this country to show that we have what it takes as much as the majority. Obama becoming president showed me, even as an Asian American, that your skin color didn't have to be white to succeed.

Fast forward eight years.

I sat at work on Friday, trying to tune out what was happening even though there were TVs around the office playing the ceremony on high volume. As I did my work, I overheard parts of his hateful speech... "crime," "drugs," "American carnage." I started to think he and I weren't talking about the same country anymore.

I felt no hope. I felt no promise for change. I felt no excitement of continuing the progress that this country had made in the last eight years.

I felt regression. I felt this country going back to a time that it should be ashamed of.

Yet, instead of shame, I heard this country proudly telling me that I don't matter because I'm a woman; and even more proudly telling me that I don't matter because I'm not white, that my parents don't matter because they are immigrants. What I heard on Friday was that this country didn't care that my parents had fulfilled the "American Dream," coming to a country where they didn't speak the language and had no family, building a successful life for themselves and a better life for their child.

I felt sick to my stomach. I could barely eat. Despite being surrounded by people who also oppose this misogynistic bigot accused of sexual assault stepping into the highest office in this country, I felt attacked.

You can tell me that the president doesn't actually have that much power, that not that much is going to change, and you won't comfort me one bit. The fear of what Trump is going to do with this position is one thing. That day, what really scared me - and continues to - is how many people in this country voted for this man. By casting a vote for him, they told me that they don't care about their immigrant neighbors, their LGBTQ friends, their disabled community, their female relatives, their friends and family who are also silenced victims - the list goes on.

They told me that they could overlook the vile things he said because it didn't apply to them and they don't care to check their privilege. They told me they don't care about anyone else but themselves. By casting a vote for him, these people made it loud and clear that they are not an ally to anyone. Even if the people that voted for him, including the electors that solidified his win, may not be racists, sexists, close-minded fascists, and all-around horrible human beings themselves, they found it acceptable and excusable in their president. That scared me. It angered me.

I spent all of Friday feeling utterly disgusted.

Then, Saturday came.

Saturday showed me that I'm not alone. It reminded that the number of people who are ready to fight back and keep this man in line is far greater than the number of people who voted to put him in office.

Even with the terrible sick feeling I had all day on Friday, and will most likely continue to have until this man is out of the White House, I felt a spark of that hope that I had eight years ago. It was a different hope because it's maddening that we still have to have these protests about equal rights for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race. But, that spark was there. The faith in my citizens and our democracy came creeping back.

The number of people that turned out for this message rather than the message on Friday made me feel protected.

It made me feel loved.

It made me feel undefeated.

I am still infuriated. I am still absolutely repulsed by a third of this country (because yes, as we all know, he lost the popular vote, which I'm sure he still loses sleep over), this man, and his administration. But, I am more hopeful now than I was on Friday.

There is still so much work to be done. I know and have seen the army that is willing to fight for the right side of history. And now more than ever, I am ready to fight, so if this abominable, terrible, disgusting, misogynistic bigot and racist expects us to go down easily, he has another thing coming.

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