'In this new reality, we have all been radicalized'
Lena Dunham is finally speaking out following Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election on Tuesday, calling for Clinton supporters to band together and continue the fight. “In this new reality, we have all been radicalized,” she wrote.
The Girls star’s lengthy letter, published in her Lenny newsletter, marked her first comment on the election result. Dunham spent months campaigning for Clinton throughout the country, and wrote how Tuesday felt like a victory lap. “Because as horrifying as I found Donald Trump’s rhetoric, as hideous as I found his racism and xenophobia, as threatening to basic decency as I found his demagogue persona, I never truly believed he could win,” she wrote.
But during Clinton’s election night party, Dunham wrote, “it became clear something had gone horribly wrong.” She added, “Celebrants’ faces turned. The modeling had been incorrect. Watching the numbers in Florida, I touched my face and realized I was crying. ‘Can we please go home?’ I said to my boyfriend. I could tell he was having trouble breathing, and I could feel my chin breaking into hives.”
Dunham noted how during the campaign, she was attacked online by trolls who called for death, but “kept going, thinking these were the dying moans of the dragon known as the patriarchy being stabbed again and again in the stomach. We believed that on November 9, they’d be licking their wounds while we celebrated. It is painful on a cellular level knowing those men got what they wanted, just as it’s painful to know you are hated for daring to ask for what is yours.”
Like Samantha Bee during Wednesday’s episode of Full Frontal, Dunham also called out white women for Trump support. “It’s painful to know that white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, and so inoculated with hate for themselves, showed up to the polls for him, too,” she wrote.
In the letter, which included quotes from many famous women, including Clinton herself, Dunham noted how millennial voters rejected Trump and laid out where she sees the movement going from here.
“Wednesday was a day of mourning. Thursday, too. Hell, I’m giving us till Sunday. But then we fight. Now, more than ever, our power is in numbers and in our refusal to accept the idea that our leaders intrinsically know what’s best for us, better than the people we meet every day,” she wrote. “In this new reality, we have all been radicalized. It’s no longer a word for those living on the fringes. It’s a word for everyone who walks in pain with the results of this election, who feels their identity being crushed under the weight of the half of the country who voted for a man who denounces and denies the basic rights of women, the queer community, immigrants, Muslims, people of color and the differently abled. We’ve been radicalized and therefore we’ve been deputized to do our parts. What that means will become clearer over the coming months, and we will all have to use the tools we have to speak for ourselves, but moreover speak for the voiceless, the people who can’t demand change for fear of very real and violent losses. Those who are gagged by the system Donald Trump proposes.”
After thanking Clinton for her campaign, Dunham concluded the letter with a call to action. “The work isn’t done. It is only beginning. We will stun ourselves with what we are capable of. We will laugh with surprise like kids who finally threw a punch back at the schoolyard bully. We will watch our friends in awe as they step forward and demand more, as they recognize and wield their politicized identities. We will not be governed by fear. We will show our children a different way. We will go home like shooting stars.”