I’m a natural-born American citizen. This is the only country I’ve called home my entire life.
I’m also a child of Indian parents.
And I’m a woman.
And today, I’m not only ashamed of the nation of my birth; I’m choosing to give up on it.
I am not an advocate for hate today or any day. But the United States of America has spoken, and its voice can be heard loud and clear across the world: love does not trump hate.
Hate, in fact, won the day. And the next four years. And because of the control Donald Trump will have over the Supreme Court, perhaps the next several decades.
I’ve seen far too many posts across my social media indicating “it will all be okay” or that “we’re overreacting.” But the truth is, no one knows that.
No one knows if it will be “okay” for immigrants. Or Muslims. Or Latinos. Or gays. Or women.
This isn’t just another election where disagreements about the economy and foreign policy took center stage.
This is an election where disagreements about how we treat our fellow humans took center stage.
And we, collectively, chose to turn our back on our fellow humans that don’t look exactly like Donald Trump: white, heterosexual males.
Today isn’t the day to wake up and rally together behind our new president and make the best of it. Today is the day to start to ascertain what’s wrong with us as a nation, but also what our best path as individuals.
I don’t believe in blind loyalty – to anything. Not to one man or woman or religion or group or nation. I believe blind loyalty leads to blind action. Today, I’m asking myself, “what is patriotism but blind loyalty?”
So no, I’m not proud to be an American today. Nor do I have any desire to stay and try to be one. This country has failed every marginalized group there is – failed horribly. I believe in fighting for change, but I also believe in recognizing that change has to come from the inside out. Social justice happens incrementally, yes, but so does tyranny.
And here’s the critical point distinguishing this election from any other: we’re not moving forward at a glacial or mediocre pace. We’ve chosen, as a nation, to move backwards. How does one fight for progress forward when the populace has voiced a vote to go back?
Perhaps in a few days or weeks or months things won’t look as bleak for the government. But things are as bleak as the seem for the populace. It’s not about who we put in power, it’s about who we’ve become as people.
I don’t know what the answer is. But I do know we each have to search for our individual “answers” before we can find any answers as a nation. I haven’t yet decided whether my answer will simply be to leave the country and never look back, or whether it will be to try to fight for more change while living in fear that that majority of this country doesn’t believe in basic human rights.
And I no longer want to argue with anyone on my social media. I don’t care what your poor justification is for voting for this man or for abstaining or for voting for a third-party: all the matters now is the result. No matter why we got here, we’re here. And there’s no going back.
We’ve been led here by everything. We’ve been led here by mass shootings. We’ve been led here by the fucked up media. We’ve been led here by terrorism. We’ve been led here by a poor educational system. We’ve been led here by a broken justice system. We’ve been led here by length incarcerations for non-violent crimes.
We’ve been led here by a lack of love and an abundance of fear.
At The LITMO Life, I’ve always talked about traveling as a way to change ourselves and therefore, change our world. I’ve always believed that travel contributes to making the world feel smaller – by realizing that we’re all just one human race, I hoped, we would begin to fight for each other, instead of against each other.
Now, though, I’m viewing my travels as an escape. I was, of course, already on a path to leaving the States. But the question then was when would I return. Now, the question is will I return.
When something I love has turned into a way out of a country filled with hate, I’m not sure I can reasonably continue calling that country my country. And the truth is, I’ve never felt as unwanted in my life as I do today by the country I’ve called home.
So there you have it: The Divided States of America, where love does not – and perhaps will not – trump hate.