I sat in a writer’s room last night, trying to find the humor in Trump’s victory. I found none. No one did. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States and a lot of us are feeling like that 5-year-old who gets dropped off on his first day of Kindergarten. Our faces pressed against a window holding our sad little lunchboxes. Weeping.
Raise your hand if you called your mom last night.
Despite how it may seem, despite how it may feel — it’s not a time to retreat into depression. Right now, it’s more important than ever to focus on how to proceed without losing our minds.
2016 has been anything but ambiguous. It revealed the true face of racism in this country and made it impossible to ignore. From #OscarsSoWhite to the countless acts of brutality. The election numbers showed a landslide divergence in how wwhites and Blacks voted. But, in order to overcome something, you have to know where you stand. This defining year has solidified our issues and our convictions as well as showed us who our allies are. The Black community came together and, as the polls show us, so did the White community.
Though it may seem frivolous to cling to such a fleeting silver lining, Barack Obama is still our current president. We can still say that our president is Black today. No matter what, his election still represents history being made. Having the Obama family in the White House was a much needed morale boost for the Black community and set the pace for so much awareness. There’s bound to be a few more significant moments and motivational speeches to come. So for now we can stay curled up in our warm Obama blankets just a little bit longer as we gather our strength.
Last night most of us felt helpless. We watched poll results fall out of the sky one after another, each one more devastating than the last. TV screens were yelled at. But, don’t forget that our own actions are what dictate our environment. You can still choose to treat your neighbors with kindness and you can still choose to do something productive with your convictions. Don’t use election anxiety as a reason to become unhinged. Don’t gaze over your erupting timelines and sip tea. Right now, we can all pick our jaws up from the ground and keep moving toward what’s next.
Like Obama said in his special election night message on BuzzFeed, this country has always been a mischief maker. Why is that comforting? Anyone old enough to remember the Bush administration remembers a time when the U.S. saw the president as that drunk uncle at a BBQ. We took some big losses during his time in the White House (9/11, Hurricane Katrina, No Child Left Behind) but we also strengthened as a community and grew as a nation.
It may be time to take up journaling or photography or start a podcast. One day someone will ask you what you did after the most pivotal election in history and you’ll want to have a good answer. With a loud-mouth, controversial president like Trump, there’s sure to be plenty of historic moments to come. Instead of resting in doom, consider the fact that things will get extremely interesting next year when Trump is sworn in as the 45th U.S. president.
Most of us are grappling with staying positive and being crushed by defeat. Looking to the lighter side may feel like a cruel joke made too soon. But the biggest comfort of all is that the communities represented by people of color are resilient and collectively progressive. The talking heads can spin and social media can erupt, but at the end of the day, you have to check your melanin, remember who your ancestors were and say, “bring it.”
(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)