New America

Hey.

Honest to God, I intend to talk about Taichi Keaton, but like many people, I was sidelined last week by the US voting Donald Trump as president. So, instead of moving forward with our first female president, we now have a president who in past political time frames would have been asked to step down. Sixteen women came forward about being molested, and he was elected. So, a bit of shock here, of course. White America, even white women, didn’t care enough. Well. Well, indeed.

Once the final analysis came in, Clinton won the popular vote. The Electoral college gave voice to parts of the country that wanted something different than the diverse America that is naturally emerging. They sent the message, loud and clear, that they wanted to be in charge because…well, white people should be in charge. Should I have been surprised? No. Was I surprised? Yes.

Hate crime has gone up. It’s like opening Pandora’s box, giving the KKK and extremists a voice and a license to move forward. If only it were them, because Trump’s election has seemed to give people I assumed didn’t possess these -isms a chance to be MUCH more public about the -isms.

In my real life, I am a teacher of immigrants and refugees. Most of these folks are followers of Islam. They are real people, like you and me who also have hopes and dreams. They don’t want to blow up your city hall or take your jobs. These people are my students and my responsibility. I have been busy trying to explain this turn of events to them. I have been busy trying to understand this turn of events myself.

Alternatingly, I have been distraught, angry, disgusted, and grief-stricken. I have a political list of to-dos each week. Make phone calls. Protest. Get some real news. Stay off Facebook and the silos there. Work hard and stand up for those who are now considered less than, more so than it has seemed for the last several years. This problem has always been there. I thought there were fewer of you than there were, racists. Misogynists. Homophobes. Forgive me if I don’t celebrate you coming out of the closet.

And those of you who are getting back to “the new normal.” Nice invocation of white privilege there. I can’t do that. My responsibility as an American is to defend all of us. I like the constitution. I dig religious freedom. I like liberty and justice for all. Sorry you can’t be bothered.

I know many of you feel the same as I do, and I know there is nothing we can do to change these results. But we can hold this new American accountable every inch of the way. I know we are not alone. I know conscientious legislators have our backs. Let’s let them know we have theirs.

And for those of you who think I might be engaging in histrionics, that’s really sexist, but hey, check back with me next year. I would be very happy to be wrong. I did, however, grow up abused by my family and bullied in a small town. I recognize this feeling. Only this time, I’m not a kid and I have people to protect. I’m going to leave you with my favorite bit of advice from that guy a lot of you pretend to worship. Jesus advises, “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.” Would you like a swastika pinned to your door? Or a balloon full of pee thrown on you even though you are indigenous and were here first? Maybe you’d like a cross burned in your yard?

I am deeply, deeply disturbed. Next time, I’m gonna talk about why doing art in the new America Trumpland is more important than ever. See you in a couple of weeks.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.