Since the election of president-elect Donald Trump, the United States seems to be going through...a lot. Liberal media boasting that there was no way Trump could win, and that “Hillary has it in the bag” convinced most of the country that our next leader would be our first female president.
Clearly, that’s not what happened. But as the country is spinning in circles scratching it’s head pondering “how did this happen?” what IS happening concurrently, has the media in a frenzy and the rest of us splitting further and further from one another. Protests, riots, over turned cars and flag burnings. The midwest and south seem to be experiencing messages of hate and entitlement from Trump supporters who feel it is okay to name call and regress from social progress because “this is Trump’s America.”
Admittedly, I woke on Wednesday morning, feeling defeated, afraid and helpless. My Facebook feed was full of statuses of grief, shock, and anger. Protesting had already started. Hate was spewing from every screen. This was the worst feeling and I knew I was not alone.
That was the secret, I discovered. I am not alone. I should stop worrying so much about the things I cannot change, and take action in the things I can. Right?! So, I cannot change the electoral college. But, I can tell someone that I will stick up for them no matter what. I can show my support for the LGBTQ community and purchase goods and services from their stores. I can help immigrants by helping them decipher a map or a sign. I can prove that Latinos and the black community are important by speaking up when another person uses derogatory language. I can write messages in chalk on the sidewalk in my neighborhood letting them all know we will be OK and that everyone of us is loved and important.
Today, (Saturday 11/12) I awoke to a live feed on Facebook of thousands of protesters in Downtown LA. The media has made these protests seem violent. Fellow Republican friends make these protests seem unnecessary, too soon, and that the people marching are “whiny little bitches.” I wanted to see for myself. For a couple reasons, really. 1, Who doesn’t like to see a little drama (hello ‘reality’ tv), and 2, how many times do you get to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself?
However, I have felt uncomfortable with the language these protesters were using. #HesNotMyPresident and #DumpTrump seemed to ignore the fact that this was actually happening. I don’t like it because I understand that turning my back on him will not accomplish anything. Rather, it will only makes things worse because my side will never be heard.
My best friend and I made signs to carry at the protest filled with love. I really felt people needed to know that everything was going to be OK! We wrote out in bright colors, “Free Smiles,” “Free High-Fives,” “Free Hugs,” and “United In Love” to help people realize that this may be happening and as long as we stick together, everything will be just that...ok.
We walked the mile to the subway station and rode into downtown, smiles on our faces and curiosity in our hearts.
What I wasn’t prepared for (besides the INSANE amount of walking...I wore chucks...bad choice) were the amount of people that just wanted to talk. I listened intently to their stories of shock and fear and how their mama’s raised them to be gentlemen. They told me about where they went to school, how they got to Los Angeles, and their confusion of lack of leadership in these protests.
It dawned on me that the people here were not expecting a revote, or for Trump to step down. Everyone came out because they were afraid in one capacity or another. Nobody wants to feel afraid and alone.
This was not a protest in Downtown Los Angeles today. This was a peace rally. A reminder to everyone that their fear must not consume them, rather, it should push them forward into conversations with someone else who does not look like them and get a little bit of understanding of how this beautiful world turns.
I went to this protest thinking I was going to see fighting, pushing, yelling, chanting and a lot of anger. I was delightfully surprised to see instead, that love was all around. It was in the signs, the speakers, the conversations and in those hugs that people desperately needed.
As I hang up the computer to go rub my sore feet before a stand up showcase show tonight, may I leave you with two thoughts?
One, if you aren’t sure about what you are reading or seeing, go look it up for yourself. This is painful to admit as I am part of “the media,” but the media really does a terrible job of giving you context or the full scope of news and news coverage.
Two, name calling only makes things worse. If you can’t have a discussion in real life or online with someone without calling them a: racist, biggot, misogynist, facist, uneducated, whiny, meaningless, stupid, or any derogatory name that you wouldn’t call your grandmother, then walk away until you are ready to listen as much as you talk.
Please, my Trump supporting friends, half of the country is still grieving. However silly you think these peace rallies and protests are, please know that they are helping us grieve and get to a point of acceptance.
I, for one, am sorry I missed something. Everyone at that peace rally missed it. Something very important. I implore you to fill the rest of us in. Calmly, and with a steady heart, discuss what it is you see in our president-elect. We want to stand with you; for two is always better than one.