Junot Díaz Ignites “Radical Hope” In Post-Election Essay
In the week following Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, beloved author Junot Díaz pens a timely message for Americans left in despair.
In a post-election essay series presented by The New Yorker on Wednesday (Nov. 16), the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is one of a group of like-minded and talented folks who take on “Trump’s America.” His original essay titled “Radical Hope,” takes the form of a letter as he addresses “Q,” a woman who reached out to him after Trump was named the nation’s President-elect, but his response speaks to many attempting to process what the next four years will bring.
“We need to connect courageously with the rejection, the fear, the vulnerability that Trump’s victory has inflicted on us, without turning away or numbing ourselves or lapsing into cynicism,” he writes. “We need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country. We need to mourn all these injuries fully so that they do not drag us into despair, so repair will be possible.”
Díaz stresses it’s necessary to feel the blow of Trump’s win, but cautions readers to avoid the trap of stagnancy. “[While] we’re doing the hard, necessary work of mourning, we should avail ourselves of the old formations that have seen us through darkness. We organize. We form solidarities. And, yes: we fight. To be heard. To be safe. To be free,” he continues.
He adds that he understands continuing the fight after a brutal setback isn’t easy, but he is hopeful that “faith and energy” will return once the shock passes. “Because let’s be real: we always knew this sh*t wasn’t going to be easy. Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit,” he reminds us.
“We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future—all will be consumed. Those of us whose ancestors were owned and bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is, in part, our past. And we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe. Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same. This is the joyous destiny of our people—to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone.”
Read Junot Díaz’s full essay, where he explains why “radical hope is our best weapon against despair,” here.