Amanda Miska, Editor-in-Chief
I have written and deleted a thousand things here. There are so many who are more aware, more eloquent. more knowledgable than me about what's happening in our world. These are the thoughts that are first and foremost on my mind, which you can feel free to disagree with and question.
I feel the burden as an editor to talk about the deep fear and uncertainty many of us are feeling right now. Fear and uncertainty that have rendered many of us immobile. We can't sleep. We can't write. We can hardly think. We are grieving. This makes sense.
I am someone who has come from working class America, a red county in Western Pennsylvania, from parents who didn't go to college, from a dad who lost the factory job that he started at age 16 and and a mom who dropped out of college because she got pregnant (with me!) and at 53, has spent the last almost 20 years of her life cleaning houses for a living, from an evangelical home that has been a blessing to so many people, while also at times being judgmental and ignorant under the influence of conservatism, as well as passive on social issues when they should be active. (To be fair: I'm not saying they voted for Trump; in fact, I'm pretty sure they didn't.) I write this to show you where I came from. I write this because that place is Home, but for parts of me, it's a million miles away.
Because I left a small town, because I was educated, because I experienced art through books and music, and because I started to expand my world and world view by creating art myself, I have come to the other side. The truth is: I haven't always been here. Many of us haven't. I have been taught forward. I have been loved forward.
I see the word "empathy" being tossed around, mostly as "FUCK empathy." And I get it. FUCK those people who put their own interests before the safety and security of millions of marginalized people by voting for Trump, voting for a third party, or not voting at all. We call them ignorant, stupid, uneducated. And to be sure: many of them are.
But so are some of the people who voted in favor of Hillary Clinton. Because the sad truth is the world is full of assholes. Because the world is full of pain and suffering and bigotry and sexism. The world is full of humans, the most fallible of any living thing. These are not excuses, they are facts.
Also facts: Beauty. Truth. Goodness. Found in humans. Also found in Art.
Change does not come in isolation. It comes in community. It doesn't come from hatred. It comes from love.
These are also not platitudes, but facts. Really, they are challenges. It is hard as hell to not be angry right now. Hard as hell to love people around us who have not used their political influence for good. I hate evil: but I see it more in the systems that govern our country than I do in the people throughout our country, blue states and red, who have been crushed by those systems over and over.
What's the phrase people use about comedy? "Punch up?" The system is fucked. This is how someone like Donald Trump was even able to RUN for President (let alone how fucked up it is that he became the actual Republican nominee and eventual winner). The system wants us to keep fighting among ourselves because then we're too distracted to think about the system. And make no mistake, the system LOVES the internet. (Sometimes, I love it too, but often, it's causing more harm, distraction, and numbness than actual good.)
I want justice. I'm MAD for it. I will not be silent in the face of violence, both online and in the real world. I will not let it keep me from ushering more powerful voices into the world. I will not let it keep me from doing the work. I will most definitely not let it keep me from love, and instead, will take it as a challenge to love harder and louder than ever before, not just with words, but with actions.
Split Lip is a safe space. We welcome all voices, especially those voices that are most silenced and threatened in the face of this evil. We fight with you and when you can't do it anymore, we fight for you.