As someone who writes fiction, I consistently find myself writing on the theme of hope. Yet, lately I’ve been feeling hopeless.
The election of Trump felt like a blow to the gut for many, including me. I believe it was especially hurtful for individuals who were excited to continue moving mountains in terms of racial and gender equality, climate policy, equal pay, income inequality, healthcare and education reform, and many other things that would actually make America great. It wasn’t about Hillary, it’s what she represented in terms of sustaining progress. We had come so far, only to see the carrot on a string dangle further away.
So, here I was writing how my characters need hope to power through when I was simultaneously posting memes on how the end of the world was nigh.
I thought carefully about the next four years. In the same way one of my characters would find hope, I wanted to find a silver lining as well.
So, here are the silver linings I believe come with a Trump presidency and the hope I see for those concerned.
We are having an awakening
The SNL skit that featured Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle was spot on. It showed how many are living inside a bubble, unaware of everyday racism. And it’s not just everyday racism that is rising to the surface, it’s the uncovering of America’s extreme hate groups like neo-Nazism. It’s nice to pretend that these groups don’t exist. But they do. Of course, many people were already extremely aware, but now it’s out in the open like an ugly wound. And wounds can only be healed once exposed. For many, it’s a privilege to be blind to such hate and discrimination. We must recognize that. I believe it’s good we’re having these conversations and seeing the underbelly of this nation. If we don’t, we can’t fix it.
We are getting stronger
A revolution is spreading across social media in the United States and beyond. While racial, gender, and income inequality conversations were certainly being had before Trump, they are on full throttle now. Soon, this revolution will take full shape and be on visible display at the Women’s March on Washington. There are tons of sister marches as well. A striking quote has gone viral, and it couldn’t be more accurate.
We are organizing
Pre-Trump, I think many people thought, “my vote doesn’t count” or “they already know who won, what’s it matter” or “I can’t stop the Illuminati, so why even try.” Or who knows what people thought, really. I just know, people seem to be paying more attention to their own voting and organizing rights now more than ever. In the wake of Trump’s election, a petition to stop Trump circulated, citizens made asserted efforts to call their local officials, and many people banned together to show the next administration that they stand up for the liberty, justice, and respect for ALL people. All a hopeful sign that many people are looking to the future and will be ready in 2020.
Class warfare is common ground
There have been a lot of articles challenging anti-Trumpsters to at least see where Trump supporters are coming from. This one, in particular, is pretty good. And there have been viral memes, tweets, articles, and other online content that’s been generated to show Trumpsters that there’s just no forgiveness on this one. But when all is said and done, income inequality is still a huge reason many people voted for Trump. These were valid concerns, and it’s just a shame a con man recognized this and provided false hope.
Income inequality has been the heart of Bernie Sanders’ message his entire career. Just because there are a lot of other issues that need to be dealt with in the coming years, this one can’t go away. Perhaps, when the Trump facade fades for those who sing his praises, we can all find common ground on this issue.
While I still think a Trump presidency is a blowback to civil rights—and perhaps that is an understatement—I also know that, like my characters, you don’t achieve anything by staying stagnant. There is always a way out, always an opportunity to build up bravery, always a silver lining. And we have four years to figure this one out, much longer than a three-act play, but we will.