Battle of America

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I was talking to my dear friend Renee over the phone at work, and she asked me: How have you been, since the election?

One word summation: tense. Right now, I feel that anyone who opposes Trump feels like that scene in Deathly Hallows Part II, where the Order is casting their spells over Hogwarts in preparation of Voldemort’s storm making its way, ready to tear shit up. It feels like we’re all getting ready to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Now, it sounds dramatic but fiction is truth and that’s the only way I know how to explain what I’m feeling. I’ve been listening to NPR constantly, trying to get some insight about the storm that’s to come. So far of what I’ve read/heard, we have every single right to be worried.

I’ve been asking people older than me, if it’s ever been this bad. I’m only 20 and I want to think about this critically: does this just feel bad because it’s the first time I’ve really experienced the tangible consequences of a shitty President? Or are we actually at the cusp of dramatic social change? Most people I’ve asked, people well into the later half of their lives have shaken their heads, stating that I’m not being melodramatic. That we are in a really bad spot.

I’ve been thinking about my role in this and what to do, how to help. I ended up thinking about the humanities and how they’re so important. No other branch of learning teaches you how to think critically about the world than the liberal arts. As liberal arts students, I’ll boldly state that we are the gatekeepers of the essence of what makes us human, whether you are in art, literature, anthropology, or psychology, etc. There’s a reason why people don’t want you majoring in this fields, and it’s because this is where power lies. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that’s only to take away the credibility of the statement.

That being said, I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today as part of the self-care I’ve been neglecting. I remembered how much I loved the Wizarding World, and how much it shaped who I am, right now. I remembered how with Harry Potter, it is the first time I began to question things about myself, my personality and the type of person I wanted to become. I wanted to know what Hogwarts House I would fit in the most, and I began to be reflect inwardly. I was eleven, and I was already asking the big questions, like who am I? And what makes a person a good person and why does this matter. This is the power of stories.

My goal has always been to be a writer, but with the current political chaos, I wondered if I should put my dreams on hold, to I fight for the rights of people I love. I thought about going to law school for a second. And then I slapped myself, because I realized I started to undermine the importance of stories. Stories are who we are and they help us become who we will be, and we need them more now, than ever.

It was 11:32pm on November 8, 2016. I went outside for a cigarette when the radio hosts on NPR declared Trump as the projected winner of the 2016 Presidential Election. I didn’t cry, I just smoked a cigarette, making me sick. In retrospect, it forced me to feel something when I was numb. But I remain hopeful, because in most stories, good always trumps evil (pun intended). It’s gonna be four years of Hell, and there have been casualties already. If you’re feeling shitty, I ask you to revisit your favorite Good v. Evil story, whether it’s HP or Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. You’ll find an inspiration to keep going. I know I did.

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Jacky.

Jacky Linares lives in Long Beach and likes long walks in the school supply section of Target.

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