I’m home with a migraine. I’m going to pay dearly for looking at the screen for as long as it takes to type this post, but the stress of not typing it is doing its own damage, so there you go.
Yesterday, I went to work. In a numb state, I taught all day, a lesson (pre-selected) about Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, which deserves its own post and which has inspired me to find my voice to write this post, even though this blog really isn’t the place for it. I had to keep my opinion about the results of the election to myself while around kids–which is something I understand, because they should feel safe being authentic and shouldn’t have to worry about whether their opinions match mine. In any other election, I would 100% agree with this. In this one, it felt like a big lie. Thus this post.
A month ago, I texted my teenage daughter that the election was over. The bus tapes had been released, and I knew that the American public would never elect a man who spoke so casually about sexually assaulting women. I mean, it should have been over before then, but now it was really over.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and of assault as an adult, this whole side of the campaign became a trigger–not the fact that Donald Trump said those things (I can handle a single person being a creep), but the fact that such a huge portion of our population was okay with it, so okay with it that they felt that he was still fit to be the President of our country. I got to a point where I could handle it, though, because he wasn’t actually going to become President.
Then, well, you know.
I know that this is just one issue among many, and I am highly, highly concerned about all of them. I am highly concerned about my students and friends who are Muslim or LGBTQ. I am highly concerned about casual racism and misogyny. I am highly concerned about people losing access to healthcare. I am basically terrified.
But here’s where I am especially having a problem right now, and probably why my head, that has been actually been doing pretty darn well the last few weeks, has decided to throw a huge migraine my way. We, as a society, seem to be saying to boys and men that girls and womens’ bodies are not their own. We just said it’s okay to joke around about grabbing girls and assaulting girls. We think it’s okay for a grown man to go into the dressing rooms of teenagers to check them out–not just okay, but we think that man can hold the position of highest power in our nation.
People, I can’t wrap my mind around this. I thought that the world was changing and that it was safer now than when I was a child. I knew it wasn’t safe then, but I thought it was better. I need to believe that it truly is better, but part of that is simply going to have to involve me finding a way to let my middle school students know that, while I support their right to be for Trump (about half of them voted for him in our student election), some of his behavior is simply NOT OKAY and not easily dismissed with “that’s just locker room talk.” We don’t talk like that in any locker room in my world.
I can only imagine how it would have felt if, as a child living the life I was living, I had the added stress of knowing that half the country was essentially cool in some way with what was happening to me, so cool that they elected a President who would possibly do those things. I know anyone who voted for Trump is going to read that as overdramatic and unfair, but a child’s brain, seeing things through the media lens, might very well see it that way. And how freaking heartbreaking is that.