I woke up on Saturday, thinking it was going to be a day just like any other. The sunlight shimmered through the curtains, birds chirped outside my window and the world was at peace until I saw my phone screen. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away while I was sleeping and suddenly it felt like I was being plunged into icy water. We have lost a legend, a heroine and a trail blazer. My lungs searched for air but there was invisible smoke filling my room and sirens were screaming inside my head. Blurry eyed and shaken to the bones, I was an empty frame searching for a morsel of hope.
In any time, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be monumental and significant but in today’s climate it’s shockingly so. It’s a shame we cannot honor her life work in the way she deserves but perhaps the fight for equality and democracy is the best nod to her memory that we can give. But to be honest, a part of me is crushed. The writing has been on the wall, the warnings have long been ignored and now we are here holding our breath with 45 days until the election.
As I am living on foreign soil, I must admit I have a much different perspective, for better or for worse. In the past three years, I have been told to shut up about what is going on in my home country because if I am not living it, I am no longer allowed to have an opinion about it. This thought process infuriates me. Europe has ruined me, I have become even more of a snowflake then I was, and since I am out of the US my head is filled with lies. I have heard it all, but fuck that noise. My loyalty does not lie with any party. I refuse to allow people to silence me because I believe that the basic needs of every human should be met regardless of sexual preference or identity, that we need to take care of and give back to the Earth that we are so lucky to live on and that the government should not be able to control what women, who are 50% of the countries population do with their bodies.
On November 8th in the year 2016, I cried. I cried a lot. I knew what the impact this current administration could have on my students, some of my best friends, on the environment, on women and on people of color. At first, I danced on glass in conversations with my conservative friends, trying to understand their perspective but I can no longer do such a thing. When I was leaving the US people told me I was being dramatic, that there’s no way that Roe V. Wade would be overturned, LGTQ+ people just had a big victory with marriage equality, the wall would never actually be built. I just needed to calm down. It was me that was the problem. But, here we are in 2020 with a raging pandemic, consistently increasing hate crimes (especially directed towards POC), migrants held in atrocious conditions while separated from families, rampant police brutality, and abhorrently blatant racism. And as of this weekend, there is now a very likely possibility that the Supreme Court will have a conservative majority. Which has the potential to result in catastrophic and long term effects for the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, women, people of color, the environment, education and so on.
I challenge you to ask yourself, what you really believe in? Do you think everyone in America country is treated justly? Would you trade places with a person of color right now? What about a woman? If it was your neck on the line, would you give a shit? I am begging you for the sake of our democracy, for the future of our world, for your daughter or your son’s future, please ask yourself is this administration making this world a better place? Being honest about the flaws and the problems in your own country, in my opinion, is far more patriotic than sporting a red hat and declaring that it’s Great Again or can be by covering all flaws with an American flag. We can be critical and patriotic. We can change this, the solution it isn’t perfect but we have the power just please VOTE. VOTE now, VOTE early and be LOUD.
Maybe this doesn’t affect you, that’s a privilege many don’t have. Lucky you. However, there are also a lot of people who haven’t been affected, who may be now, or at least soon. It’s not too late. This is the fight of and for our lives.