Let Us Rage

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This powerful response to recent events has been written by Auckland TheoRel student Harriet Winn. It was originally published on her own blog, Floating Thoughts. Please read, and rage.

“Do not go gently into that good night, friends. Rage, rage.”

For many of us, women especially, it feels like we are entering a void where nothing but despair dwells.

The election result seems to have shattered any notion of universally held values which privilege goodness and kindness. It feels hopeless. It feels bleak.

I don’t need to reiterate what this result represents – we already know, some of us far too well. It represents a manifestation of fierce hatred. Hatred for women, Muslims, gay people, trans people, Latino people, black people, people with disabilities… the list goes on. In my heart I never truly believed that a campaign built on such ferociously violent rhetoric would succeed. I genuinely (naively) thought that human empathy would overcome hostility, and light would overcome darkness.

I’ve spent today in a slump. Completely and utterly consumed by this overwhelming sense of darkness. Terrified of the immense suffering that is being felt by people of minorities in particular. Terrified that bigots everywhere have been validated in their malice. Terrified of the social regression this symbolises.

I keep seeing quotes pop up which read, ‘Don’t mourn – organise.’Bullshit. Let me mourn. Let us mourn. Our grief is valid and our tears fall for a reason. The pain is still raw. Mourning is part of the process; it is healthy and it is natural. Nothing productive will come from burying our hurt.

But as we mourn, I urge us to rage too. Rage for the lives of our Muslim, gay, trans, black, Latino, disabled sisters and brothers. And turn that rage into action. Let us not descend back into the comfort of normalcy. This is not normal. In the election of Trump, hatred has prevailed and my deepest fear is that that very hatred becomes normalised. Normalcy leads to complacency and right now, complacency is the most dangerous prospect there is.

Let us look for ways to tangibly challenge this vitriol of hatred that Trump so doggedly spouts.

Joining your local Thursdays In Black group is a good place to start. Grassroots movements that hold those in positions of power accountable are urgently needed, now more than ever. By its very existence Thursdays In Black challenges the poisonous endorsement of rape culture by the president-elect. I urge you to start wearing black on Thursdays – join a worldwide movement in taking a visceral and symbolic stand against sexual violence. Let’s make it loud and clear to Trump and his supporters that we refuse to allow the dehumanisation of women and we refuse to let vic­tims of sexual assault be silenced.

So let’s not delegitimise each other’s grief at this awful, awful situation. Let’s be kind to ourselves – and to others.

And let us rage.

If you would like to learn more about Thursdays In Black, follow this link http://www.thursdaysinblack.org.nz/