When I started work on Monday, I was sad. Not because it was Monday. But because I knew eventually Friday would come. And this Friday wouldn’t be routine as usual. It was bringing change… or rather, a lack of change.
Because on January 20, 2017, the United States of America will swear in Donald J. Trump as the 45th President.
In case you’d forgotten, sorry folks. It’s really happening.
And I still can’t believe it.
But just as most things in my life, when things suck and feel gross, soccer somehow makes its way back into appearance.
It was there after the election results back in November, when Mexico faced the US in the Confederations Cup playoff game and ended in the 2-0 streak in Columbus, Ohio. Both teams joined together to get one photo. A show of solidarity that made me feel somewhat better, particularly after Rafa Marquez scored the game-winning goal.
That happened today, too. As I was sitting at my desk, only half joking with my coworkers that I would be wearing all black tomorrow to mourn the loss of a family member (the United States), I was reminded by Wiso to apply for a press pass for the Mexico-Iceland game in February.
Back in November following the Confederations Cup game, I had saved a document for a blog post I never got around to writing but only left the title. It read: “PERSONAL: World Cup Qualifiers and the Election – My Week of Self-Identity.”
I feel the same thing now as I did then. This inescapable need to evaluate myself, of determining who I am and what I stand for in terms of the country that I live in. And of all the things that I am that Trump hates, I keep focusing on my race. A Mexican-American who was once referred to by the soon-to-be president as a partial “drug and rapist” who can be assumed to be a good person. I also keep focusing on what life will feel like in two and half weeks of having Trump as our president and being at a Mexico game in a city that exploits capitalism, heavy spending and luxury living, particularly as a fan of El Tri.
Not only that, but what it feels like to swear in a man who has been victorious by singling out the “others” and projecting that he will somehow “Make America Great Again” by slowly doing away with them? How coincidentally there was an argument just last week all over twitter in regards to the US soccer media (in a sense, I might also just being saying this for correlation) have spent years metaphorically building a wall around its Hispanic viewers? About this weird limbo Mexican-Americans live in where we aren’t part of the “US soccer culture” that some are trying to establish but we also don’t really fit in with our Mexican aficionados? Some of us speak only English but wear the colors proudly. Some of us speak a combo-Spanglish fusion. And some of us speak Spanish but have lived our whole if not most of our lives in the US. We sort of fit but not really.
What do we do? What will become of us? And to that, I look back again at my old Instagram post:
I've been trying to make sense of this week. Ive cried. Argued. Been angry. Angry at what has happened. Angry at what's to come. And like always, soccer helped me get through it. My friends. Family. This sports. It's players. Today history was made: in a great way. And Mexico, they needed it. Even if it was inspired by the political atmosphere we live in, what a victory. I'm still scared. But damn it, I'm proud to be Mexican-American. Proud to be part of a country that I don't know from living there, but that exists in my heart. I'm scared to think that in a few months, being proud of my background might be a dangerous thing to proclaim. But I won't stop. And I hope you all keep fighting. Keep fighting the good fight. And for those of you who don't vote or say voting doesn't matter, politics and engagement exist more than just the polling booths. You're upset? Get educated. Don't just post shit on social media. Learn. Be informed. And unite. And then, you'll remember you have a voice. So tonight, for the first time all week, I fall asleep proud and with a smile. □□⚽️❤️ #ElFutbolEsNuestro #AbrazosPorElFutbol #OneTeamTwoNations We're going to tear down your wall. #NotMyPresident
A photo posted by Amelia Lopez □□⚽ (@aztecaameliaaa) on
I’m reflecting in my self-identity and I still come back to my same conclusion: I’m still proud to be who I am. And this might solely be focused on what it feels like to Mexican, but it goes for everyone.
Be proud to be Mexican.
Be proud to be a woman.
Be proud to be disabled.
Be proud to be a Muslim.
Be proud to be Black.
Be proud of being LGBQT.
It’s going to be a long four years. And it’ll feel like we’re being isolated and targeted and discriminated every chance he and his posse (a posse, by the way, that fails to have a single Latino in the cabinet since 1988) get to talk. But just remember this: on February 8th, you can bet your ass that Sam Boyd Stadium will be full of Green, White and Red.
Because we’re here and we’re proud.
Es tu tierra pero es mi casa.
Keep fighting the good fight, guys. I’ll be right there with you.