In the aftermath of the 2016 election results, I’ve seen one particular article being shared by many of my friends. The article is titled “What Do We Tell the Children?”
In my particular case, a different question is weighing heavy on my shoulders. What do I, as an adult daughter, tell my mother?
When my mom came home from work on Wednesday night, I joined her on the living room couch and rested my head on her shoulder. We sat like this, quietly, for at least a few minutes. Eventually, my mom said to me almost silently, “I am so sad.” I am certain that the heartbreak I felt for her in that moment will never leave me.
My mother is an immigrant. She moved here before my older sister was born, and she has worked harder than anyone I’ve known every day since. I owe her everything. But on Tuesday night, as we watched the votes being counted and the states on the election tracker maps turning red, I felt so ashamed. Not of her, but of the country she entrusted with her family’s future.
She had long ago left a country where she had always felt accepted, but she came here to give her children the best kind of future that she could. And during this election, she had to watch as half the country told her that they don’t care about her, and they don’t want her here.
My mom is a member of just one of the many marginalized groups that felt the sting of this election. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, Latinx community, people of color, women, and more are questioning the safety of their futures. To all members of those communities: I’m so sorry that your emotional and physical wellbeing have been jeopardized, and I’m so sorry that we have let you down.
To see the vast number of people who supported someone whose campaign was built on a foundation of hatred is nothing short of heartbreaking. Yes, one man alone may not be able to carry out all the damage that he’s promised to. But the fact that he has received such an overwhelming backing has validated all of the people who share in his hatred.
I don’t know how to tell my mom how deeply sorry I am. And I sure as hell don’t know how to tell her that things will be okay, because I don’t know that they will be. All I can do is hope and fight so that she can one day feel that she is a valued citizen of this country.
And to the many others who are feeling isolated, scared, hopeless, or forgotten, please know this: you are not alone. Something beautiful that I’ve been reminded of this past week is that there are such genuinely good people in my corner; people who are contagiously compassionate and kind. And they are in your corner, too. These people give me the courage to fight, and I will fight for you until you feel safe again. I will fight for you because you deserve to be fought for.
Featured image here.