Laura Simis

Don't "Move On." Move Forward.

Laura Simis
Don't "Move On." Move Forward.

I didn't want this.

I cried into my Bernie Sanders t-shirt on election night, when it became clear that Hillary was fighting a losing battle. I wore all black in mourning for a full week, and nobody noticed because I pretty much only wear black anyways. 

We have been told to just “move on” and “get over it.” It's true: This is not the end of the world. But here’s the thing - If you’re fortunate enough to easily “move on” and “get over it,” you are privileged.
 

If you aren’t living in fear of being threatened or harmed because you’re wearing a hijab - you are privileged.

If you aren’t living in fear that your parents will be deported and you might never see them again - you are privileged.

If you aren’t living in fear that your children will be targeted because of their skin color - you are privileged.

If you aren’t living in fear that you will be discriminated against for your sexual orientation and that it will be protected by the First Amendment Defense Act - you are privileged.
 

The truth is that as a straight, college-educated, middle class white woman, the only thing I’ve had to fear over the last two weeks is that someone will make me participate in a mannequin challenge video.

But I have friends who are Muslim. I have friends whose parents are immigrants. I have friends who are black or hispanic or some beautiful blend of ethnicities that others simply see as “non-white.” And I have a strong belief that just because my white family has been in this country for three generations doesn’t mean I have any more claim to the American dream than a family that emigrated here last week.

Mostly, I have friends just like me - white, middle-class, and trying to pay off student loans. We're not in immediate danger. We're likely not going to be victims of hate crimes. We voted for Hillary - we were on the right side, but oh well.

We could “move on.” But we should move forward.

We should refuse to look away - even though this election cycle has exposed something ugly in our country. We don’t get to turn our heads because we’re uncomfortable.

I’m a firm believer that if you want something to change, you have to do so from a place of love and a desire to understand the other person’s point of view. You can’t fight hate with more hate. And you definitely can’t fight hate on Twitter.

I’m sure you’ve already seen this in a grainy meme on your Facebook timeline - but Donald Trump doesn’t have to define the way we treat one another.

We're not the first generation to feel dissatisfied - to feel like we know better than the people calling the shots - and we certainly won't be the last. Rather than vilifying those who disagree with us or covering our ears because we don't want to hear what they have to say, it's important to remember that we're all here together.

It's also worth noting that one of the reasons this country is so great is that we all get to have different ideas and opinions - and we get to voice them! 

I know and love several people who voted for Donald Trump. I have no plans to unfriend them on Facebook or fight with them over Thanksgiving dinner. (Mostly because I don't want to endanger my slice of pumpkin pie. Whatever, I'm not perfect, you guys.) 

I could do a better job of speaking up when I disagree, and challenging beliefs that differ from mine with an intent to understand rather than to "win" an argument. I could be better at challenging my peers, even when I agree with them, so we all gain a better understanding of where the other side is coming from.

We have more than four years of work ahead of us to make America feel safer for everyone, to show kindness and love to people in our community, and to educate and unite as much as possible so that we don’t screw this up so badly next time.

Here’s a list of really, really easy things you can do right now that make a difference:

 

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” - Nelson Mandela

 

Happy Thanksgiving, ya' lil' giblets!

 

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