Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I was feeling down for most of the day. No, that’s not quite right. I was filled with anxiety for most of the day, feeling sick to my stomach and overwhelmed and wondering about our future. It made me so sad that so many Americans could vote for a man I see as absolutely vile. It made me sad that so many Americans were embracing his racist, sexist and pro-hate narrative – how could I still think about moving to America when so many of my friends were looking to get out? Would my move to the States be an endorsement of who he is and what he stands for?
Then, Dean and I went out. We went for food and drinks and to really talk about it all. And we will still move to America despite Trump becoming president. Day to day life will probably still be the same – good schools will still offer Harley a quality education, good jobs will still pay us salaries that make life affordable, and we can still have access to all the good food and cool gaming and fun activities available in the US of A. But more than that, there’s something I can do in the States that I can’t do here; I can make a difference there.
Here, it feels almost colonial if I try to work to change things in the country. What right do I, a foreign white woman, have to tell South Africans how to make their country better? But in America, I’m not a foreigner, I’m not a minority. I can and will work for change. So Dean and I will move to the States, we will find a good school for Harley, we will decide about having a second child and we will get ourselves settled. Meanwhile, I will do everything I can to promote women’s rights, immigrant opportunities, and progressive ideals. I will help with campaigns, I will help organizations that are working to make the country a better place, and I will lend my voice to causes that I believe in. It’s something South Africans can do here, and something that I can do there.
Movements don’t happen on their own. It takes people, lots of people, standing together and saying with one voice that this is unacceptable, that we do not agree, that we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Maybe Trump will bring in more jobs. Maybe he will help the average people in middle America. Maybe he will deliver on his promises to the people who have believed in him. But even if he does those good things, I’m sure that hate groups have also been bolstered by his victory. I see it all over my social media already as hate groups are coming out in force. It’s scary and awful and I don’t want Harley exposed to that.
But I can’t run away. I can’t move to another country, or hide behind my ability to live elsewhere. It’s time for me to stand up to it, to fight for what I believe in, to try and make the world a better place. And if I do that by volunteering at a shelter, or helping to organize fundraisers for a women’s clinic, or joining local councils, then that’s what I will do. Instead of bemoaning the election results or worrying about the future, I’m going to take action, to try to fix the things I think are broken. It’s time for me to be the change I want to see in the world.