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I wrote this poem the day after the November 8, 2016 election. I had so much emotion surging through me and needed to release it on the page. Certainly there is much more nuance to why people voted the way they did and it is a bit simplistic to only name two categories, hate and love, and that is not recognized in full in this poem; however, the words I wrote still strike a chord within my heart and I still believe in their truth, even if they are only a piece of the truth. And these words are proven truer every day.

“The Day Hate Won”

On the day hate won
racists and white supremacists
xenophobes and homophobes
anti-immigrants and anti-Islamists
proudly walked the streets,
free to harass and scream as they pleased,
feeling they were backed
by one who also attacked
Blacks and Muslims,
Mexicans and women,
folks with disabilities
and different gender identities,
veterans and refugees,
treating all of these
and many other Americans
as if this was not their land.
And those who voted for hate
took their leader’s cue
and lashed out at these folks too.

The day hate won
people applauded and cheered,
mocking the despair and fear
reverberating through many.
Telling any who would listen
That those in fear were learning their “lesson.”
People praised and raised hate high,
denying and rejecting it as hate
but as justice that came late
but at just the right time.

The day hate won
children everywhere asked their parents
if they were safe
it they would be ok.
And parents asked each other the same
and this refrain
rippled throughout the terrain
of this broken land,
people desperate to understand
because no one knew
if what the tyrant said would come true
even though deep down
they had heard hate’s battle cry sound.

The day hate won
people hid behind religion
as their excuse for their decision.
Putting all the weight
on a single issue or stance,
saying now the unborn have a chance
to be safe.
But the trade they made
was for the lives and wellbeing
of many now living
outside the womb
who wonder if there ever was any room
for them in this society.

The day hate won
working folk who felt ostracized
and demonized
who’d been looking in from the outside
for years
felt they finally found one whose ears
heard their desperate pleas
but hate did not care about any of these
they were all part of hate’s strategy.

The day hate won
people said it was an election
like any other
With a winner and a loser.
But this was unprecedented,
in direct dissent
to the first Black President,
a call to white folks across the nation
to reclaim their “rightful station.”
And the winner that day was hate
and the loser was the entire nation-state.

The day hate won
the earth shook and cried
she knew that her fragile life
and the fragile lives
of all creatures in her care,
already damaged beyond repair,
were now at even greater risk
because hate denied her suffering,
denied that people were the cause of it.

The day hate won
love was shaken to its core.
In some places love was shocked,
in others, love was mocked.
In some, love was not surprised
but tears still fell from love’s eyes.
Love raged, love took to the streets.
Love disengaged, love hid under the sheets.

But love was not extinguished.
Deluded, yes.
Disoriented, a little.
Dismayed, a lot.
But love reached out to love
and love found itself in others,
in quite whispers,
and tender hugs,
in shared rage at the present danger,
in shared tears on the subway with strangers,
on social media posts and posters in the street.
Love was broken and bruised,
angry and hurt and sad and confused.
But love did not die.
Love organized.
Because love knew that hate may
have won the day.
But in the end
love
will have love’s way.

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