Last night, I went to bed at around 1 AM, leaving my phone ringer on so that I would hear it buzz when the New York Times alerts that Hillary was winning came in. I figured it was a pretty safe bet considering every major news source had the probability of Hillary winning at around 75 to 80%. I was confident that I would wake up in several hours to good news.
About an hour later, it buzzed. “Donald Trump has won Ohio.”
A bit later, “Donald Trump has won North Carolina. This could pave the way for him to win the election.”
Panic began to settle in but I tried to reassure myself, trying to think of maybe 2012 or 2008 when the early victories belonged to the Republicans. I attempted to go back to sleep but ended up more or less just laying in bed.
A few minutes later, “Hillary Clinton has won Virginia.” A bit of relief, but I was still on edge. I tried pushing it out of my mind so that I could get some sleep but I just kept moving around uncomfortably and going in and out of restless sleep. I must have finally fallen asleep around 3 AM but woke up with a start at around 4 AM after having one of those anxiety dreams where your heart beats really hard and you feel like you have to pull yourself out of the dream. I looked at my phone, more alerts and more messages from friends. I started to realize the brevity of the situation and that there was a real possibility that Trump could win this election. I altogether gave up on sleep and opened my laptop to follow various live updates.
Over the next two hours, it went from just a scary thought I tried to push aside to actual reality. I was and still am in complete and utter disbelief that this is the future of our country now. President Donald Trump. I loathe to say that. It disgusts me.
It disgusts me and worries me and angers me and makes me sad. I am genuinely concerned not only for what this means for myself, but for the countless number of people Trump has attacked during his vitriolic campaign from POC, women, LGBTQA, immigrants, Muslims and sadly, more. His words have incensed an entire group of people (read: white males) who have felt the progress we have made over the last few years has somehow shoved them to the margins, a group of people who don’t want to hear they have are privileged and living at the top of the totem pole. Neo-Nazis and the KKK have endorsed Trump. And that’s terrifying.
The reality of the situation is that these people are not new to our country. They have been there from the start and make up an essential part of its foundation. But Trump has brought them out of the woodwork and emboldened them. And now he is our next president. America took one step forward 8 years ago when we elected Barack Obama and now we just backwards flipped into the ocean.
I can’t stop thinking about what this means for our future. I know that for many people, the foreseeable future is one in a hostile environment. I never wanted to be in a country where Muslims didn’t feel safe going to their place of worship, where children worry that they and their parents could get deported, where women don’t have access to basic healthcare, where LGBTQ youth are forced into conversion therapy. But here we have been and here we will continue to be, at least for now.
I am angry. I am angry not only at these people and at how hard they have pushed against progress, but also at the institutions that go us here. I truly believe that if the media had not given Trump the time of day and turned him into a sensation at the beginning of his campaign, we wouldn’t be here right now. The way the various media outlets treated Trump was nothing short of unprofessional in my opinion. It was akin to the sensationalist journalism that does not do anything except work people into an uniformed frenzy.
And let’s talk about those emails, shall we? Let’s talk about about how those stupid emails got more coverage than the women that came forward and accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. Where was the coverage about the allegation of child rape against Donald Trump? Or basically anything else terrible Donald Trump has done over the last several months? And let’s just make something clear: politics are dirty. Of course there were sketchy things in those emails. Did you really think that they were going to reveal everything was sunshine and rainbows? And let’s be real, I’m sure there are other politicians who have done far worse than what was in those emails.
And on that note, I am angry that apparently America still can’t stand the idea of woman president so much that we’d rather elect a bigoted buffoon than a woman who was a senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State. Apparently our institutions hate the idea so much that those emails were given more airtime than women who said they were sexually assaulted. So much that the director of the FBI just happened to come out with a new investigation a week before the election. And I think you’re naive to think that Hillary being a woman has nothing to do with the outcome of the election. It has 100% to do with it. Hillary’s loss today is what happens to women everyday on a grand scale. Women who are far more qualified, better suited for the job, and with more experience losing out to idiot men who have no right to be there.
At the beginning of this election cycle, I said that I was afraid that if Hillary wasn’t the nominee we would lose all the momentum we’ve gained thus far. That it would be several more years before a woman would get to that position and win. (I also want to make it clear that I did not vote for Hillary for the mere fact that she is a woman. The fact that she is a woman, and that she is a Wellesley woman at that, makes me extremely proud but in no way affected how I voted.) And now that Hillary has lost, I’m worried it will take years to rebuild what we have just lost, in the same way that I think it will be a long time before we elect another president of color. There is no progress without backlash, I suppose, but the backlash against all of the progress we have made so far truly disgusts me.
And if you voted for Trump, a third party, or did not vote at all, I hope that decision weighs heavily on you for the rest of your life. Because there are going to be very real consequences and there are people across the country genuinely scared for the what the future holds for them.
And to my host brother who yelled “TRUMP! I told you so!!” when I got home tonight, you can kiss my ass.
Today is a sad day. We were so close to a euphoric and historic decision and sadly, hate had a brief moment of victory. And we should all take today to feel what we are feeling. Feel sad, feel angry. Panic a bit or a lot. Cry a bit or a lot. But tomorrow we should get up knowing that even though this terrible thing has happened to us, we have the ability to continue moving forward and make a change. There are so many things we can do to work against the everything that won last night (although there were some pretty great things that won last night.) We can donate to organizations that now have a potential to be defunded, like Planned Parenthood. We can write letters to our local representatives urging them to support measures that will make our communities better. We can lobby or protest or lend words of support and stand in solidarity with our friends and peers when they need it. Most importantly, though, do not let today discourage you. This will be a stain on our history but we cannot stand idly by. We would not be any better than Trump and everything he stands for if we didn’t take today as an impetus to create change. I’m still figuring out how best to do that and I know I’ll make mistakes along the way, but I cannot stand the idea of not doing anything. And while the idea of moving to a small town in Canada sounds tempting, I can’t stand the idea of fleeing the US and leaving behind those who can’t. We really are stronger together. Take care.
And oh yeah – fuck you, Trump. You are not my president.