It's been a rough 48 hours.
Following Trump's startling victory during the wee hours of Wednesday morning (November 9), many Clinton supporters spent the remainder of the day in a wash of tears, shock, and therapeutic kitten GIFs. Sorting through all the rage, hurt, and fear — whether it was for ourselves or our friends — felt like a near unsurmountable task, and the idea of what our world might look like for the next four years made the thought of staying in bed infinitely appealing.
But while we're allowed to be sad, what we're not allowed to be is defeated. That's the message Jennifer Lawrence shares in an essay titled "Don't Be Afraid, Be Loud" published on Broadly Thursday morning (November 10).
And our girl makes some powerful points.
Lawrence begins by questioning what we've learned about the "stark reality" of American sexism.
"Is this the stark reality? It doesn't matter how hard you work or how qualified you are, at the end of the day, you're not a man? Is that what we just learned?" Lawrence writes. "This country was founded on immigration and today the only people that feel safe, that their rights are recognized and respected are white men."
She then provides some key pointers for where we can go from here, saying we should "think strongly and clearly about what to do next because we cannot change the past."
"If you're worried about the health of our planet, find out everything you can about how to protect it. If you're worried about racial violence love your neighbor more than you've ever tried to before — no matter what they believe or who they voted for. If you're afraid of a wall putting us all into another recession then organize and stand against it."
And she asserts that, no matter what, this election's outcome must be seen as a reason to work harder than ever before to create change.
"(Women) will keep educating ourselves and working twice as hard as the man next to us because we know now that it is not fair. It is not fair in the workplace, so you make it impossible to fail. And like Hillary, it might not work.
"But like Hillary, you can still be an inspiration and get important things done. Do not let this defeat you — let this enrage you! Let it motivate you! Let this be the fire you didn't have before. If you are an immigrant, if you are a person of color, if you are LGBTQ+, if you are a woman — don't be afraid, be loud!"
As motivational as Lawrence's words are, though, there's ONE detail she gets wrong.
Seemingly in contradiction with the essay's title, Lawrence at one point discourages readers from displaying their dissent publicly, saying, "We shouldn't blame anyone, we shouldn't riot in the streets."
This isn't entirely true, though — nor is it Lawrence's place to tell oppressed communities how to react to news that's jeopardized their basic rights and safety. We should never encourage violence, of course, but for those of us processing Trump's victory from places of privilege, who are we to police how others stomach the loss of their own security? Helplessness is a dark, overpowering thing. And if joining others marching in the streets is one's anecdote to counteracting it, then so be it.
I understand the dire need for optimism at this time, and for messages of hope. But peaceful public protests have a specific purpose, too. They're a powerful, visual symbol that there are those of us still willing to fight the good fight; that we haven't capitulated to the seeming victory of hate. And that, as protestors gathering in New York City Tuesday night (November 9) declared, we'll never be defeated.
So, as Lawrence says — don't be afraid, be loud! And do so wherever the hell you want to, for pete's sake. We have a duty to not be silent.