Oh, America. Sigh.

I’m going to attempt to avoid a politically charged post.  After all the shock and denial and disgust and sadness and fear that happened, pretty much in that order,  after the election, all I can say is that #1) despite not having voted for him, whose name I still have difficulty associating with being president, I have resolved to #2) keep an open mind.  I’ve had a couple of conversations with people on this subject, including a good friend who voted for him, and who also is a white male born and living in the Midwest.  We all experience America in very different ways, and as a minority female in this country, my experience is extremely different from that of my friend.  He at least acknowledges this among other more human things.

Tonight, I pack for 3-1/2 days in Oklahoma.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked the trip a few weeks ago.  To be honest, I’m a little nervous about what to expect when I arrive.  Are strangers going to randomly shout at me, and tell me to go back to the elitist and liberal coast from whence I came?  Will they tell me to go back to my country?  Now, I know NYC is very different from the rest of the nation and world, but this IS my country.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled around the US quite a bit, usually for work, to states and cities that I’d probably never otherwise visit.  Idaho?  Maybe to go snowboarding, but Boise was really cool!  Wisconsin?  Aside from disproportionate amounts of drunk driving, it’s kinda pretty up there.  Go Badgers!  Wyoming?  The Teton Mountains are breathtaking!  North Carolina?  Georgia?  Nashville?  Arizona?  Check, check, check, check.  And let’s not forget about all those visits to Michigan.  I’m purposely leaving out states that are on the Northeast and West Coasts.

Shit, New York State is huge on its own, and is extremely conservative outside of the city. I’ve traveled all over this state, as well.  I know what it’s like to be the only Asian in a classroom (if people can even figure out that I’m Asian).  Thank you, Syracuse U. for that experience.  I also know what it’s like to have just one Caucasian in the classroom while everyone else is a person of color.  Thank you, Brooklyn Technical High School, for that experience as well.

All I’m saying is that I am not an “elitist liberal from the coast”.  I’ve seen a lot of this country, but definitely not all of it.  I don’t believe that the middle and south of the United States is filled with nothing but racist, gun-toting rednecks because I know that’s not true.  The fact is that those people exist everywhere, even right here where I live in New York City.

The fear and the concern for the future, though, is real.  For all the voters who support bigoted, sexist, derogatory speech and take our President-elect at his word, I am afraid.  For myself, for my friends and family, for the country, and even the world, I am afraid.  After experiencing so much of this country, I knew that this could very well be the outcome.  Here we are, a nation divided in so many ways.  Male/female.  White/black.  White/everyone else.  Straight/gay.  Rich/poor.  Us/them.

And on that note, I should start packing for Oklahoma.  I have no idea what to expect for those 3-1/2 days, but as always, am hoping for the best and, perhaps naively, expect the best out of people.


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