I tried not to think about it much what would happen if you became president of the United States. Because I became to afraid for people I care about in your country and minorities that you have shown amounts of hate that I wasn’t sure did exist in a developed country – like yours. But if I thought about it I wondered how I would react if you became president. I was sure I’d feel terrified and furious.
When I woke up this morning in Iceland, after a night of disruptive sleep and nightmares, most likely thanks to you, I saw that the nightmares were nothing compared to my reality. You are president of one of the most powerful nations in the world. A world I live in.
But to my surprise I was not angry or terrified. I felt similar to when a natural disaster strikes the world, where people are injured and killed, and homes are destroyed. I felt loss. But I also felt overwhelmingly focused. The way I attend to feel when there is sudden chaos, everything is out of place and I have no other choice than to stay calm and start working my way through the mess. I felt like jumping out of bed, getting dressed, transferring into my wheelchair, getting out of my house and straight to work. I felt the same urge to help as I feel when there is a disaster. And as I thought more about it; you are a disaster. What has just happened is a human disaster. Most likely people will get injured and killed and homes will be destroyed. Because of you.
But I’ve decided I am going to try as hard as I can, not to become afraid and full of hate towards you. You are not worth it. It is going to be hard and I am going to fail sometimes, because I am human being, with zero tolerance towards people like you. It is easier for me than your fellow citizens. I’m not one of your sexual assault victims that now have to look at you and listen to you on the media as their president. Like the election period wasn’t enough. I’m not the parent who has to explain to their disabled child why the president of their country mocks disabled people as a tool in their political battles. I’m not the immigrant who is now afraid for his safety in his home because of the president. I’m not walking in the shoos of all the other people who you have disrespected, frightened, dehumanized and traumatized through the elections. I am aware of that.
Instead I have decided to do everything in my power to be nothing like you and do all the things you despise. I’ll do that by keep building up, among other disabled people, a intersectional feminist disability movement. I’ll do that by finishing my MA thesis on internalized oppression in the lives of disabled women. I’ll do that by being more loud and less silent, even if it means ruining a family Christmas gathering or spoiling the mood in a party. I’ll do that by taking up more space and appoligizing less for my existence. I’ll do that by never again regretting to talk about politics, discrimination and power structures with the children around me because it could be harmful for them. It’s not. It’s the only way for them to survive.
This will also go for my own future children. I’ll play with them, love them, feed them, nurture them, laugh with them and do my best to keep them save. But I will also talk about dead serious business with them. I will talk about you with them. I’ll talk about how your country, like mine actually, has for years sponsored wars. I will talk about slavery and other forms of violence, racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and all the other isms out there. Not to make them scared or anxious but to keep them more secure and with better self-esteem. It doesn’t rob them of their childhood, it gives them better childhoods. It helps them know the difference between right and wrong. It stops them from being silent and pushes them to speak up. It gives them better tools and knowledge to be the change we want to see in the world. And when they are adults it lessens the threat of them becoming you or voting for a person like you in a position of power.
All this is not going to change the world. But if we all take responsibility you and people like you will not conquer the world. We will. Nothing else is an option. So thank you for being one more dreadful reminder of how far we still have to go. How much terror we still have to remove. How undeveloped we still are as human beings. Thank you for reminding me how hard we have to love each other across different cultures, genders, bodies and identities to counterweight your amount of hate. Because we will.
You might be powerful, but much so is the love, solidarity and ambition of marginalized groups and their allies when an important job needs to be done.