Students at Berkeley High walked out of classrooms today and on to Berkeley streets in protest of president-elect Donald Trump.
They then walked past my friend and me, as we had taken to the streets ourselves in an attempt to wrap our heads around what went down last night (spoiler alert: we couldn’t).
As the students marched, they chanted fuck Donald Trump! and cheered at passersby like me who waved or whooped in solidarity. But my friend, though also distressed by Trump’s victory, couldn’t condone the students’ anger.
“Why do they have to use the word fuck?” she asked, unable to reconcile her belief in compassion with the students’ outrage.
On some level, she’s right. Responding to Trump’s hate-filled words with hate-filled words of our own won’t get us anywhere.
But the anger and outrage itself is important. It’s what compelled these kids to march and yell and hopefully channel their discontent into positive action in the future, while my friend and I just wandered around the neighborhood feeling disconsolate.
We need compassion, lots of it from all sides and soon to be sure, but we need passion, too, and it looks to me like these students have it. And so their protest and their anger and yes, their language, gave me a shaky kind of hope — hope in the form of committed young people who stood up, spoke out, and who might one day, perhaps not too far in the future, right something that I see as very, very wrong.
I look forward to cheering on that movement, too.
Or better yet, being part of it.