November.



#LaVieContinue.

A hashtag that widely circulated on social media after the Paris terror attacks that happened exactly one year ago.


Back then, I wrote, in a post, my feelings in the aftermath of these attacks.
I come to wonder how life goes on. How the universe still exists, how the sun still rises, how the clocks keep turning, marking the passing of time. How an act of such cowardice and horror was not able to throw off the balance of the universe and bring its doom.

But I realise I already have the answer in me. 
Life goes on because bonds like friendship and love cannot be broken by tragedy. In the contrary, in the aftermath, we forget trivialities, misunderstandings and doubts, and we feel those bonds reinforced by their core, by the strong and untouchable values that had created them.
Life goes on because we are too proud of our culture, of our lifestyle, and of our country to let [the terrorists] destroy our love for life and our need to love. 
Life goes on for me because I am proud to be everything [religious fanatics] hates: a woman, lesbian, atheist, French-Lebanese, feminist, intellectual, and especially, especially because I am proud to be born free, and I will be proud to die free and standing upright.

Life goes on because love is stronger than hatred.
Self-love, the love of another, and the love of life.

Three months ago to the day, I stood in a courtroom, took a solemn pledge, and became a citizen of the United States.

And on Tuesday, I voted for the first time in my life, casting my vote for a woman that I've admired and rooted for to become president even before I was old alone to vote, or even before having stepped foot for the first time in the United States.

I cannot describe the feeling, of voting for the first time in my life and for a woman. When I inserted my ballot inside the voting machine, I felt as if I already heard the glass ceiling shatter. I heard the sound of justice being made to those who had ever been victims of sexism, myself included.

The general mood on Tuesday night, among my family and my friends in the US and around the world, went from euphoria to horror as we saw the woman who was almost guaranteed to become the first female president loose state after state.

The next day, I felt like I had woken up from a nightmare. And then reality settled in, at the very moment my cousins found out that Trump had won the electoral vote.

It felt to me like death had struck again. Figurative this time, but still. I am not comparing Trump's victory to the string of terror attacks that shook France since Charlie Hebdo, but rather to the feeling of mourning. The mourning of freedom under all its forms.

I went to work, where almost everyone was in shock and in mourning. I commiserated with my colleagues over coffee and our non-chemical version of Xanax, dark chocolate. I taught my class, which was a welcome break from the non-stop updates I received on my iPhone about Hillary Clinton's concession speech.

And then, back in the car, when I turned on Classical WETA, which I almost always listen to, I heard the familiar and soothing notes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor. The soft, almost inedible theme of the Ode to Joy, which would become stronger and stronger before blossoming into full explosive strength.

I smiled for the first time at that very moment. Because I realised that no matter how devastating the loss was, there was still beauty in the world. There is still classical music, gorgeous fall leaves, cats, awesome friends, cute cousins, loose-leaf tea, high heels, and of course, chocolate.

And there's always, always the certitude that, no matter how long it takes, good wins over evil. Hope wins over despair. Tolerance wins over bigotry.

I won't lie, I am worried that I will loose my right to marry and to transfer my US Citizenship to my future wife if the Supreme Court, with a newly appointed conservative judge, passes another DOMA-like legislation and overturns Obergefell v. Hodges.

I am worried that I will loose my right to choose the right course of action to deal with an unwanted pregnancy, or a pregnancy that severely threatens my health or that of my child.

I am worried that with the stroke of a pen, a small group of sexist, homophobic men will erase the legacy of so many brave women who fought for my rights before I was even born.

But I know the fight is not over. And I know it will be one hell of a fight for all those that the individual who has won the electoral vote (#notmypresident) has insulted or promised to persecute during his hate-based campaign. Muslims. Immigrants. LGBT. Black people. Latinos. Other minorities. People with disabilities. And women.

Many hate crimes against all these groups have been committed across America in the last few days.

But no one will stop fighting for all our rights.

And this is why I am not packing my bags and returning to France or Lebanon. It would be too silly to uproot my life. I am finally a citizen, I have a job that I love, and am slowly but surely building a wonderful life as I ease into my mid-twenties.

I will not let racism, sexism, hatred and bigotry steal that wonderful life from me.

This isn't the Third Reich reborn, and hopefully it will never be. The individual has already begun to whine and rescind on his campaign promises. Let's not begin to mourn just yet.

And, at the risk of sounding like an optimistic madwoman, there is a faint hope that the electoral college will reverse this travesty by voting, on December 19th, according to the wishes of the American people. It has never happened before, but then again, if this election has proven something, it is that there's a first time for everything. I have signed this petition and am hoping for the impossible to happen. (Maybe it's because I'm sick and writing this post under the influence of my aunt's grog, but I have the feeling the impossible could actually happen.)

As to the individual's supporters, let's not get down to their level, but show them that #LoveTrumpsHate in all ways. Garance Doré explains this attitude better than I could possibly.

Let's show everyone our support. Let the people who have been targeted by the individual's hate speech know that they are in a safe place around us. That they have our compassion, understanding, and love.

And if all else fails, remember there is classical music, gorgeous fall leaves, cats, awesome friends, loose-leaf tea, high heels, and of course, chocolate.

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