"It's like how much more black could this be? And the answer is none.
None more black."
I arrived home late from Paris last night, tired and drained with traces of Cote du Rhone still milling around my bloodstream. I went to bed almost immediately and Mike, feeling poorly, stayed up to watch the first results of the US presidential election filter in. Hearing him pace the living room, I put on my dressing gown and got up too. In the end, I had three hours of sleep.
My Twitter feed was filled with rage, sadness and the occasional meme to break the tension. How? HOW? We knew how. Low voter turnout. White men, angry that a black man could be replaced with, horror of horrors, a woman. An electoral system that overruled the popular vote, the vote of the people. Media channels whose criticism of Trump has been as abstract as his policies. A presidential campaign that played on racism and fear of "the other".
I work almost exclusively with cishet, affluent, able-bodied, middle-aged white men. I was still surprised when one, upon learning I'd been up most of the night waiting and worrying, asked: "Why?" with a puzzled look on his face. Almost all of them said they weren't too fussed about the result. It was a talking point for their tea break, soon to be shrugged off. We live 4,000 miles away, after all.
Residents of the USA might never fully realise how their culture reaches around the world, that even in my small country known for its stereotypes of kilts and haggis, we eat their food, watch their television shows and occasionally hear a phrase or two sneak into our vocabularies (I love "garbage fire"). We're emotionally involved.
Naively, I thought the complaints of sexual assault would matter. I knew nobody would stand up for the disabled, for the Mexicans or Muslims, but I was kidding myself when I thought misogyny, both overt and internal, didn't run as deep and as wide as it does. And in hoping the accusations against him would matter, I was hoping my own sexual assault would matter too. I live 4,000 miles away but Trump and his supporters' message was one for all sexual assault survivors. We do not matter. We will be crushed.
I feel a fool. A fool for looking at, but not really seeing, the racism. So many PoC in my Twitter feed say this knotted feeling in our guts of disappointment and fear is something they live with every single day in a country where they can be pulled over and shot in their vehicles at any moment, no questions asked. I knew that but I didn't know.
I know now. I'm so sorry.