In the days following the election, amid the shock, numbness, and utter disbelief, I remember walking down the street and seeing all the "normal" people go by me, chatting excitedly about the spectacle of it all while having coffee or window-shopping or just going about their day to day business like nothing had happened. It felt so strange to me, completely out of synch with how I was feeling. I could not understand why people weren't feeling like the world was about to implode or why there was such an absence of fear in their faces. I began to realize that many of these people may actually have voted for Trump, as many people I know have proclaimed on social media since he won. I immediately felt distrust and paranoia at not knowing who would stand up for me or who would stand idly by or cheering on while my rights were stripped away and the progress we have fought so hard for over the last decade was reversed. That's when my second realization came. It's so obvious, it has always been there, I've always known it, but the weight hit me with a force I haven't felt since I left my conservative high school and hometown far behind me.
I am a minority.
What this means is that in a sea of people I am statistically isolated and alone. The things that dramatically affect me the majority have never experienced, cannot empathize with, and have chosen to ignore when it meant the most. I was among millions who would not stand up for me. I am among those who will justify and rationalize the most obvious perversions because it is easier than doing the work it takes to gain a broader understanding. This was made all the heavier by the fact that now I knew there were none in power who are willing to protect me.
It was in this moment I came to the selfish realization that I had been putting too much energy into people who do not and cannot understand what it is like to be a minority. People who have never been verbally, physically, or legally attacked because of who they are cannot imagine the fear and loneliness I feel and will not be made to understand. There are, however, people who do understand and who live with the same fear as me. These people will stand up for me because a fight against me is also against them. In these coming years we are going to have to stand with one another because in all likelihood we will be the only ones who will. These are the people who I need to cling to, to comfort and provide understanding, and to look to for solidarity when the majority willingly lays down in idle ignorance.
This was a very selfish and bitter position to be in, but it is how I felt in the wake of the election. I guess this is also why I continue doing these paintings: To Refuse Undoing My Progress. This I why I #paintTRUMP
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