Now, Hatred Becomes Law

By Dante Flores (Emerson College Undergraduate)

I had grown complacent.

I was lucky enough to have never grown up in environments dominated by racism; in which the color of my skin was never once considered as a deciding factor in my overall makeup. Doubtless, there were tiny encounters with the uncomfortable realities of it, but I was never made to feel that in my bones. I walked and drove and wrote and acted without fear. 

Even when I moved from Texas to New England—where some have gone there entire lives without seeing a black person (much less a Hispanic person) and where I became indelibly aware of my status as a person of color—I still never once felt like I would be attacked on the basis of something so inconsequential as race.

On the night of November 8th, before the end but after the certainty of the outcome, I left the room:

“This is too much. This is just too much.”

I went to sleep with the paper-thin hope that by some miracle, I would be proven wrong; that our President would not prove to be the candidate who talks in smoke and illusion, but rather the candidate with experience, respect, and a clear plan. Still, the hard fact of it rooted itself the next day:

“Donald Trump has won the Presidency.”

Now is when hatred becomes law. Now is when progress is stopped in its tracks. Now is the past coming back to bite us.

Now was I irreversibly aware this this country was not designed for:

  • Women
  • The LGBTQ+ community
  • Non-Christians
  • People of Color
  • Me

My mother says she’s cried every morning since Tuesday. That she’s scared and she never thought it would come to pass that she fears this much for her children’s safety. 

The feeling is mutual: I fear for her, who has never been afraid to speak out and let the world know what she thinks; who has fought tooth and nail against the grain to get where she is; who even in the face of terror and disdain still showers her children, biological or otherwise, with love.

I fear for my father, who has the most gentle spirit; who has found light in the darkness for the whole of his life; who meets adversity with grace and humor, and who rolls up his sleeves and gets things done in the narrowest of nighttime hours.

I fear for my sister, who, like my mother, has never been afraid to speak her mind; who has an indomitable will and has never failed to put her mind to her craft; who has always been there for me and for her own; who, as of this writing, takes a trip to Oklahoma tomorrow. 

I fear for my marginalized friends, who already have been followed, cat-called, told to leave the country, or otherwise.

This country, we have been shown, was not made with us in mind.

Hope, amidst the horror: It wasn’t the election of Donald Trump that made me cry, but Secretary Clinton’s concession speech that moved me to tears. I was standing just outside one of the classrooms, watching with some others who had put it on the projector. There were hugs shared. Tears shed. 

But now we’re galvanized. Now we’re awake. 

This nation has done this dance before, and we survived. 

With the future in our eyes and love in our hearts, we’re going to fight.”

“Never stop believing that fighting for what is right is worth it.”