It’s election night. November 8th, 2016. I sit at my desk, attempting to study for my bio test, attempting to do my ACT work. What is is the genotype of a heterozygous mouse with brown fur? Should there be a comma before this independent clause? Pick A,B,C, or D. I obsessively refresh my web browser, each time checking. A little forecaster reads the probability of Hillary Clinton become our next president; 87%, 64%, 55%. I check again. How many votes? Who claimed Florida? Who got Ohio? Wisconsin? I click, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh. And then I click refresh, and my heart stops. It stops. And I think we all know what happens next.
I hope I’m not being vulnerable when I tell you that after I see that that little weather forecaster has turned red, I shut my computer, crawl into my bed, and start to cry. I feel numb, angry, upset, sad, depressed, distressed, unsafe, not heard, not respected, and confused. Mostly confused because we all knew that we would be waking up on November 9th with the first female president of the United States. We knew, yet somehow, we were so, so wrong.
The next day I go to school – except it’s not school. At least not the school that I’m used to. Everybody just sits around, as though we have forgotten that we have classes, and things to do, and tests to take. It’s a little more quiet than usual. It’s a little more cold, a little more lost, a little more hopeless. People wear all black, which on any other day would feel cliche, but today, it feels strangely appropriate. My teachers, my role models who I rely on to be stable when I am not, don’t seem so stable anymore. And personally, I don’t really know what to do with myself. But I start to categorize my emotions, to write them down.
As a woman, I do not feel safe. I do not feel safe having the most powerful leader in the world say that sexual assault is okay. To some, this may be hard to believe, but sexual assault is not okay. It’s not. But I’m sure you know better, Donald Trump. After all, what more am I than a “nasty woman”, what more am I than a body, a rating on a scale out of 10, another “Ms. Piggy?”
I do not feel safe knowing that my power over my own body has the potential to be taken away, and put into the hands of somebody who does not deserve it.
I do not feel safe having our president be a person who labels good, kind people as “terrorists” just because of their beliefs, who says that they do not have the “God-given right” to live here because they don’t happen to conform to what he wants them to be.
I am scared for the woman I read about in the news the other day, a woman wearing a hijab, who got approached and told that her “time was up.” Who got threatened that she would be raped if she didn’t take it off.
I do not feel safe living in the same country that writes racial slurs on a minorities’ car or dorm rooms, that puts black paint on its face and pose in front of a Confederate flags, that wears pointy white hats and marches around claiming that it is “pure.”
I do not feel safe having a Vice President who thinks that if you are gay, or lesbian, or trans, or bi, or anything other than “normal”, then you can be “fixed.” That you should be sent to a conversion camp, where you can get “better.” Who does not agree that love is love is love is love.
But mostly, I fear for others. Because I, compared to others, have privilege. I am privileged. I have only a couple ticks on a long list of potential “faults” that our future leaders say a human being can have. So yes, I am scared for myself, but to all of you who have many more ticks than I, I cannot begin to imagine how you feel.
I could go on, but I won’t.
America, home of the brave and land of the free. Not anymore. When did we become so intolerant? When did we become so hateful, so ignorant, so spiteful, so childlike, so inhumane? When did we decide that punishing others, demeaning others, insulting others just because they were different was okay? When did we decide that THAT is who were were as a country, that THAT is who we wanted to be.
And the thing is, I’m angry not only at you, America, but at what type of person I have become in the past couple of weeks as a result of this election. Because I have become just like you — I have become hateful, and spiteful towards this country. I have become bitter towards the people who don’t agree with me, the people who caused this election to turn out the way it did.
We had a good choice. Maybe not the best possible choice, maybe not a perfect choice, but a good choice. A person with experience, with knowledge, but most importantly, with passion, and not a passion that hurt others. Hillary Clinton could have made change, she could have progressed this country. But why didn’t she win? Was it because she was a woman and people were looking for every opportunity to tear her down, to prove that she wasn’t worthy? Was it because of a couple email scandals? A couple of mistakes that she made in the past? Compare those email scandals, those mistakes, to Donald Trump’s list of wrongs, and they don’t seem that important do they? At least not to me.
One quote from that day has stuck with me over these past couple of weeks. As we all lay on the floor because we were too shocked to dance, my dance teacher said to my class: “Today you can mourn. Today you take the time that you need, but tomorrow you get up and you fight.”
So we’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Over the next months. Over the next years. If you are feeling particularly lost or scared, and if it makes you feel better, know that nobody knows what will happen next, where we’ll be after all of this is over. But to everybody who cares, I want you to think about what this means for your future, for our future. And then, I want you to get up, and I want you to fight.