As my loved ones woke on Wednesday morning to a changed world, in Japan we had be watching the US presidential election unfold during the working day.
I now live in a country where women often play a traditional role and society is generally more conservative and conformist than the UK. But on Wednesday my colleagues and I shared our concerns and our fears for the world when Trump is US president.
The news that a well qualified, though not perfect (heaven forbid), woman had been overlooked for an inexperienced, under-qualified man thanks to an electoral college system also created by men, was confirmed on my bus journey home. I broke all the rules of Japanese society and cried in public.
I cried for women and girls, for my young nieces, for liberals and moderates and for minorities; they all have everything to fear. I cried again at Hillary’s concession speech and again when I read scared friends Facebook status’. I cried when I thought about the first black president handing over to a man endorsed by the KKK. I cried when I thought about those that could not protect their daughters and wives from a man like Trump. I cried when Angela Merkel gave Trump an icy warning and Theresa May just ‘looks forward to working together’. I cried when Dan asked me if I was ok.
Emotional wreck, huh?
No. Not a wreck. Passionate. Scared. Angry. Powerful. Emotion is a building block for compassion.
I know in the future that women will not only break through the infamous glass ceiling, but we will grind it to sand and sprinkle the glitter all over the haters. “You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter”.
It is easy to feel helpless and a little lost right now. At first, this is ok. Let’s all get frustrated, mad and cry a little. But soon, conversations must start. Those who support Trump, Brexit and persecution of minorities need to be spoken to. And I do not mean “given a talking to” as my Granddad used to say. I mean talked to and included in conversations. I do not understand what is happening globally and how it has happened. Maybe it is due to out of date election / referendum systems. Maybe it is due to white people feeling marginalised and ignored by politics. Maybe it is the media. Maybe it is genuine racial hatred and sexism. Maybe it is an issue with global education systems. Everyone has an opinion at the moment, but no one really knows for certain. It is probably a combination and it is complex and always requires conversation and discussion to understand.
I tried to start my discussion and conversation by writing this with as littler anger as I could muster. I’ve encouraged my students today to research Trump and understand more about what he stands for and how it could affect them in Japan. I’ll keep trying to be tolerant, embracing different views and ideas.
I also promise to keep chipping away to fill that glitter pot. Let’s sparkle.