RAYMOND-GARCIA: Effective Trump opposition starts with your mental health
Opinions Column: A Ray of Esperanza
It’s only been 13 days since the election results rolled in — 13! It feels like the world was turned on its head and has not been balanced ever since. Within the past two weeks, we have all felt a noticeable shift in our own and others’ behavior. In that time, I have managed to feel every emotion associated with unhappiness and anger one can think of and cycle through most of the stages of grief. Those who will be undeniably affected by Donald Trump being chosen as the President-elect have felt some variation of the same spectrum of emotion.
What has become apparent is that I am not just feeling a sense of loss for myself, but a collective loss for the people around the world who are genuinely fearful for their lives, and with good reason. There is a heaviness that has blanketed our ability to cope with a reality that is still so unsure, that could very literally spell the end for some.
There are people who will not nor cannot accept the fact that Donald Trump will take over the Oval Office and, in effect, be the most powerful man in the world on Jan. 20, 2017. Their reasoning being that if they accept such a fact, it will make them feel as if they are being complicit with the social injustices that are meant to keep people of color, queer individuals, women and other groups who have been historically marginalized for centuries at the bottom of the food chain. On the other hand, others are intensely accepting this fact, and in doing so, are using it as fuel to fire their passion to take down the multiple and intersecting systems of oppression that made Donald’s ascension to the highest political office in the world possible. Regardless, we are going to and should be working overtime to ensure that this man, his agenda and all of his supporters are unable to continue and worsen the systems of global imperialism and capitalism. Until we can individually and collectively mourn such a loss, however, we will not be able to be effective in doing so.
While it was incredibly optimistic for many of us to believe that we would soon have our first Madame President, we should have known better given the fact that a black man held the highest office for not just one, but two terms. Breaking two glass ceilings in such a short amount of time was something we should not have had such high expectations to happen. The idea of an individual who is KKK-endorsed, racist, white nationalist-supported, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, anti-climate change, etc., taking control of the oval office is something those of us mourning surely did not want. While Donald Trump is someone who should most definitely be feared, we should also be careful of the individuals who support and promote all of the things Trump represents. They are the ones who interact with us every day, and, if provoked, can very well be a serious danger to our personal safety, as demonstrated by acts throughout the country.
All of this is to say that your grief is real and valid. During the next few weeks, do not accept anyone telling you otherwise. Grief usually kicks in when we have lost a considerable amount of hope in something we were once so optimistic about, that we felt we had so much reason to believe would become truth. There will most definitely be people who, after telling them the reason you have not been yourself lately is because of the election results, will try to invalidate and erase your legitimate concerns. Understand that these particular moments will show you who you should and should not keep around, and you should most certainly not feel the need to rush through your process of grieving. It is important to take the necessary steps to get over the shock and the sense of loss you feel on an individual and collective level because not letting yourself properly address these feelings will only prolong the process. If you take your time, are patient with yourself and do not allow the internalization of others invalidating your feelings, you will be able to start coping better eventually. We are going to need every person possible to take part in the movement against all things hateful after this historic blow, but you need to take care of yourselves and your loved ones first.
Vanessa Raymond-Garcia is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in women’s and gender studies with a minor in public policy and a dual candidate for a master’s in public policy. Her column, "A Ray of Esperanza," runs on alternate Mondays.
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