Have you been threatened?

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<p>Members of Pantsuit Nation gather at the South Carolina State House the day before the election</p>

Members of Pantsuit Nation gather at the South Carolina State House the day before the election

Ron Hagell

I woke before dawn on Saturday from a dream of strategizing instead of having a nightmare about hate for first time this week.

Other things I've done this week: walked through a parking lot with my wife, not holding hands. Kissed her before work, away from the front window, in our own home. Crossed the street near the State Capitol alone after the above photo was taken and prayed that someone wouldn't run me over because I was wearing a pantsuit and carrying a rainbow Love Trumps Hate sign - down at my side - the day before the election.

I told this story to one of my best friends on Thursday. She is part Muslim and part Hindu, grew up in the south and now lives in New York, and when I said I was afraid I would be run over by a truck, she said to me, "That's how I feel every day of my life."

She told me how she sat alone in a restaurant the night after the election and was the only person of color there, all the other people were white, and she wondered if they were happy. Maybe they were, like her, just trying to eat and be with friends and comfort themselves. Or maybe they didn't care.

And then we talked about how so many white women voted for him. And she asked me, "What is it about white women? Can you explain it to me?"

"What is it about white women? Can you explain it to me?"

I tried.

I said they are trying so hard to be good. They want to be good moms. Often they are economically dependent on their husbands. And there are strong neighborhood, community and church pressures to conform.

When I first moved to the south, I was constantly asked what church I went to. And what kind of name is Premo. And then there was the older white woman who ran the archives at the college where I worked, who, when she asked me what religion I was and I said Catholic, told me she knew a Catholic woman once and she had kept her children "so clean."

And when they heard my northern accent, they asked, "Where are you from?"

And the answer (born in Detroit, grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota, lived and went to college and graduate school in Virginia and Georgia) was too long for them. Their eyes glazed over and then they looked away. I learned to pick one place. I said DC, where I went to high school. Where my classmates were all women but white and black and Asian and Hispanic and some from other countries because their parents were diplomats.

Many of the white people who live in my southern city have never been anywhere. They remember when the store on the corner used to be a restaurant and before that it was the Flagler house and before that it was part of the farm owned by Smiling Pete.

The world is a scary place to them. They see it on the tv. And they love their families and love where they live and they have no desire to go anywhere except maybe the Grand Canyon or Vegas.

I'm not just talking about southerners. This applies to my cousins in Michigan, too. And those who do travel out of the country do so by joining the military and are a huge source of pride for the family.

I stop. And even though my friend tells me I've helped her and she didn't think of these things in this way, I tell her I don't want to be an apologist for white people.

And I resist understanding their lack of understanding.

I want to say to them: you've never been threatened. Not really. Well, you've lost jobs and you're afraid of terrorism and you think the world is a scary place. But those are collective realities that you deal with- we all, in a global economy, deal with them.

But you've never been threatened in a personal way just by having the body you do. You see, the reason this is so painful for so many people right now is that it's our bodies that are being threatened.

You see, the reason this is so painful for so many people right now is that it's our bodies that are being threatened.

Our lesbian and gay and trans bodies. Our bodies of color. Our immigrant bodies. Our female bodies.

The morning after the election I felt a sharp pain up my vagina so intense that I thought I would pass out and had to lie down on the couch. Another friend of mine threw up in her back yard when she heard he had won. We've had stomach aches, diarrhea, migraines, and dizziness. Even my own mom had what she calls her "heart clacks," when her heart runs irregularly and her pacemaker has to kick in.

We are not being whiny babies. We are not sore losers. We are in pain. Literal, bodily pain. Because it is our bodies that are being threatened. Told they are not American.

And it's pain not only for our own lives and families but for people who are not the same as us but are feeling this— the gay man the same as the Muslim, the immigrant the same as the white mom who makes a symbolic dinner of tacos for her husband because she can find no other way to express her grief.

This is the body collective. This is what it means to be united. This is what it means to say we are all connected and this is one world. We feel it when others are threatened. We feel it when others are in pain. We feel it when others are afraid.

Have you ever been threatened? Can you feel what it feels like now? Because we need you to feel it. And we need your love.

And we need your love.

Here is a video I made yesterday to express what this nation would feel like without your love.