2016 is finally over. To use the already nearly-cliche description: it was an utter dumpster fire, from many perspectives. We endured the end of one of the longest, most ridiculous, and exhausting presidential election seasons of recent history. We lost seemingly countless inspiring and progressive celebrities – falling like dominoes. We mourned over heinous massacres and tragedies like Orlando, Paris, and Aleppo (some of which are still ongoing). I know I am not the only one who is completely emotionally drained at the turn of this new year.
Fortunately, I did have some personal high points to offer a reprieve from everything else. Highest on the list would have to be 1) purchasing a house with my boyfriend Anthony, and 2) earning a promotion at work. So, at least in my personal life, it really has been a "glass half full" sort of year. It's just when I start considering the nation-/world-wide events that the glass really starts looking more on the empty side...
I've never been blind to the fact that the marginalization of minorities is alive and well in this country. But with the swift progress we've made in the past decade, I've always had hope that the progress would always win in the end, and my little liberal bubble reinforced that. But thanks to the outcome of this presidential election, I have come to realize that I severely underestimated the size of the "deplorable" population in this country. It was quite a sobering realization, and I outlined a bit more of my reaction to that in my previous blog post.
I hate to be such a party pooper, but frankly, nothing I have seen since the weeks leading up to the new year has given me any reason to be optimistic for the year to come. (You probably guessed based on my less-than-enthusiastic title to this post). Our President-Elect has been behaving as consistent as ever (obviously not a good thing), and the deplorables he has emboldened to speak and act out over the past year have only gotten louder, more irrational, and more bold. I'm sure that trend will continue into this new year. Best case, this will mean more bullying of minorities (such as any non-white, non-Christian, or my fellow LGBT+ citizens). Worst case, this will mean even more deliberate violence against these minorities – running the gamut of physical, emotional, and psychological in nature. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, all I see is an increase in pain, suffering, and death for those groups that deserve it the least.
The only thing I really plan to focus on this new year is to continue researching the most effective and meaningful way that I can fight this new dark political landscape.
If you're struggling to see how/why things are so "dark" from my perspective, I challenge you to reach out to me (or someone like me) and initiate a dialog (with an honest and open mind).
If you are also feeling similarly hopeless or helpless or frustrated, please also feel free to reach out to me! Let's chat about it, provide each other some emotional support, and maybe join our activism efforts (whether thats finding a charity, volunteering time, or something else). I think it would do us a lot of good to channel some energy outward. I'd love to hear from you.
Otherwise, as I've kinda said in the past, I just ask that everyone to fight discrimination and marginalization everywhere you go. If you're not in one of the marginalized groups, but consider yourself as a supporter of those groups, I ask that you don't just "let it slide" when you hear or see people normalizing, sustaining, or promoting inequality. Continue doing your part to help your neighbor – we really do appreciate it! I, for one, thank you with all my heart.
For the new year, I wish you all the best. I can only hope that we all feel better than this when we get to this time next year.