We all witnessed a cause for excessive sorrow this past week, seeing incident after incident across our nation; children fear being sent away or not belonging in this country because of disabilities, race, or religion. Middle school and high school students use derogatory language, and college students create repulsive websites depicting African-Americans’ lynchings.
Children watched and listened to presidential candidates engage in offensive, childish name-calling and learned to accept this as the new normal. The alarming number of violent, discriminatory incidences after the election results has caused many schools to declare their values of inclusion and commitment to the safety and concern of minorities, immigrants, and refugees.
Regardless of how we voted, and whatever the reason, we must not ignore that a result of this election is the permission it granted racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry to emerge from the darkest recesses and surface openly in our communities.
Post-election, we need to put aside political differences and past bitterness toward previously elected officials and come together as families, friends, communities, and as a nation to address the numerous issues before us. We must unite in preventing and banishing hate speech and actions. We must join in being advocates for inclusion. The attacked are our fellow citizens, immigrants, refugees, our fellow humans, and our children.
If we don’t unite in addressing this clear and present danger, it will rip our country apart.
This past week, I felt sorrow, hope, and anger. I do not believe I am alone. Sorrow will lessen with time, but it does nothing at the moment except paralyze. Hope should sustain and grow, but hope, while necessary, in itself is not a strategy. Anger about the occurrences of the past week is a wake-up call to everyone, especially our newly elected leaders, that we cannot be complacent.
Racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, and hate, are born of and sustained by ignorance, fear, and despair. We must contain our sorrow, hope, and anger, and we should channel it into fighting for inclusion and fighting against ignorance, fear, despair, and hate.
Our future, our economic viability, and our national security depend on it.