The Year We Did Not Go Gentle | Teen Ink

The Year We Did Not Go Gentle

November 10, 2016
By TessM. GOLD, Lake Zurich, Illinois
TessM. GOLD, Lake Zurich, Illinois
14 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Even if it's Friday and I've been working on not falling apart all week, it is still Friday!"

To my lesbian sisters, the American POC, the LGBT community, the disabled and neuroatypical, the Muslims and Jews, the indigenous and First Nations peoples, the immigrants and children of immigrants, and those with a fear that borders on parasitic.

The night of November 8th, something terrifying happened. Let me establish that. The results of this election have already yielded casualties, lives belonging to those who believed their human rights were already gone. Young people are taking to the streets, united against what democracy has brought us. Panic has gripped the nation over what it believed could never happen. My pansexual Arabic-American friend worries for her safety.

I am sixteen, and I am white. I am part of a privileged majority who will not feel the same fear as transgender black boys, as young Latina women, as those the alt-right movement has tried to scare into silence. I am luckier than most, and I feel that weight with every iota of my being. It is not fair. It has never been fair.

I also have a girlfriend who lives halfway across the nation. She and I talk, consoling each other, reasoning, making plans. I tell her that this, too, shall pass. I tell my thirteen-year-old sister that this, too, shall pass.

But right now it is beginning.

What do we do? Where do we go from here? I, for one, have started by holding my race accountable for the damage they have caused to America. This was not just on the white men, but the white women of the country who cast their votes with hate in their hearts. To my fellow white people: This is on us. The numbers are there. This is on us.

And yet white guilt is not the core of this election. The people have spoken. The decision has been made. Now, above all, it is the responsibility of each and every open-minded and caring American citizen to stand in solidarity with their fellows. Stand with the mixed-race children who are terrified of losing one or both of their parents. Stand with the women who are not wearing their hijabs because they are scared of walking the streets. Stand with those who live outside the gender binary and the heterosexual norm, and now face the kind of discrimination our new president has justified. Stand with the Holocaust survivors.

Raise your fist. Open your mouth. Let those around you know that this is not just a national upset, but an international one. Rally with the people you love, and love them as fiercely as ever. Do not resort to violence because others have. Make yourself heard, because you deserve to be heard. Refuse to let anyone tell you otherwise.

Know that you are not alone. There are millions, if not billions of people who feel like you do. There are people your age who have dissociated, panicked, suffered their way through the last twenty-four hours. There are sons and daughters who do not understand why their country hates them. Some have not made it this far. If you are reading this, you have made it. You are here.

Above all, reject hate and discrimination and bigotry and the ugliest things the election has brought out in us. Hold your head high and carry yourself with determination and pride. Make the most of every second you are alive. And to those who cannot, to those who are still crying and grieving and anxiety-stricken: I know. Take your time. Please, breathe.

The night of November 8th, something terrifying happened. We will fight. We will survive. We are, after all, stronger together.

Make this the year we did not go gentle.

The author's comments:

I am still with her. I am still with the nation. I am still with liberty and justice for all.

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