"This is Your Vietnam"
There aren’t a lot of things to be hopeful about when it comes to the current state of our country. A homophobic, racist, arrogant, rapist was elected as the 45th President in what most can easily say is the biggest whitelash of our generation. It’s depressing, and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. But is there?
Just for the sake of optimism, I’d like to take a look at the positive things this presidency has already done for us. For most of the country, it was the wake up call many needed to finally get involved in the political process. The ignorance and injustice of this election has created a dialogue that may not have happened otherwise. Thousands of donations are streaming into Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the NAACP. And for me, this election has finally forced me to take public transportation in Los Angeles.
We rode the metro home from the march in downtown LA. Before this I had only ridden the train begrudgingly when my parents tricked me into it during my first year at school. We packed into the North Hollywood-bound red line train, where I had the pleasure of meeting a woman and her service dog who were also coming back from the march.
“This is her third protest,” she said of the dog, who had a sign strapped to her back that read “NOT MY POTUS.” We chatted about the immense size of the protest, about the peacefulness and passion in the air, and about her background as a civil rights activist in South Africa in the 60’s. She expressed her fears of the policies Trump and his cabinet will likely be making, but also shared her hope for our generation.
“This is your Vietnam,” she told us, making me pause for a moment. In some ways, this cooky old woman with her protest dog was right. This is our Vietnam. We’re facing injustice the same way generations before us did, and though it may be different circumstances, we’re coming together the same way the resistance did in the 60’s.
With a background in fashion this brings me back to something we were taught all the time in school. Fashion, much like history, tends to repeat itself. This isn’t the first time oppressed groups have had to fight for basic rights, and it certainly won’t be the last, but this is the chance for the new generations to stand up and break down the necessary walls toward equality once and for all.
If we can learn anything from the generations before us, it’s to act with compassion, listen with enthusiasm, and lift up the marginalized groups around you so they can speak for themselves.