Following the US election on Nov 8, 2016, we asked Dowsers contributors to discuss the moods and music the results inspired. We collected their responses in a series, After the Election.
In August, my sister gave birth to a little girl, a long, strange creature with wispy flames for hair and curiously loose skin. Like all babies, she was just a lump to begin with: a lump that stole my sister’s sleep, ravaged her boobs, and generally caused rockslide levels of chaos all around her. She had no discernible personality, no idiosyncratic facial expressions, no likes or dislikes. She just was. Then, thanks to said boobs and my sister’s superior ability to hold her shit together in the face of extreme sleep deprivation, she began to grow. Her eyelashes shot out of her face and, out of nowhere, she became sumo-wrestler fat. She grew multiple chins, each more beautiful than the last, and her hair—while still carrot-hued—began to form itself into an old-man-mullet: full at the back, scarce at the front. As the weeks passed, she began to make noises, to smile, and then—oy, my heart—to laugh. To be delighted by dancing and singing. To communicate with us doting, cooing idiots. To begin interacting with the world around her.
My sister took the little fatty with her when she voted for Hillary. She posted a picture online, of her chubby beloved strapped to her chest, her head cosseted in a winter hat with an “I voted” sticker. “One of us lost a shoe in the melee but it was totally worth it. Job done. Can’t wait to tell her she was there the day history was made. #formydaughter #forhumanity #imwithher.”
For my daughter. For humanity.
Because that’s what a Hillary win symbolized: a future that befits humanity; a future where my niece can grow up unencumbered by the idea that she is somehow “less than”; a future where ability, skill, and moxie characterize your path to success; a future where old white men are forced to make space for everyone else; a future where we keep each other safe. We voted for hope.
When I started putting together this playlist, I asked the members of Pantsuit Nation, the rogue feminist Facebook group Hillary mentioned in her concession speech, for the music that was getting them through the days since November 8. 5,000 responses later, I’m still reading the recommendations. From Ani DiFranco to Janet Jackson, from David Bowie to Beyoncé, from Kimya Dawson to Leslie Gore: thousands of people championing anthems of hope, of strength, of power.
Thousands of declarations of self, refusals to normalize hate, calls to action. Thousands of hands that will lift one another up, and thousands of hearts who’ll keep all daughters safe.
The music speaks for itself. For her.