What Now? Election 2016

Today I walked into work with bags under my eyes. I put my head down and walked to my office, afraid of the red hats and laughter I knew would be around me. I tried not to cry and I failed.

One of the people I worked with asked me to describe how I felt about the election results by using only one word. It came pretty quickly to me: devastation.

I spent yesterday evening eating fried food at the city fair with a new friend. We talked about student loans and our parents and Kayne West. And all the while I internally panicked: what if? I thought. And then I tried comforting myself with the mantra everyone had been saying for about a year: there’s no way America would elect him.

I will never forget the disappointment and shame I felt when Ohio went red. And then when Florida went the same. It felt like I’d been dumped out of nowhere, as if the person I’d loved for my entire life had decided I was no longer worth it. I watched the map become redder with each passing minute. My mind paced: what does this mean? How is this happening?

I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual female American. I’ve had many people tell me that I’ll be fine, that I have nothing to be scared of. I saw all over social media today that people were being ‘overdramatic’ or ‘butthurt’ (I’ve never seen this term so much before- where did it come from?) and that everyone would be fine, that nothing would change in any significant way that it affected our lives. Simultaneously today I had to read an email from an incredibly kind and smart student from Syria who is scheduled to spend his semester abroad in the United States asking if he could still come. Telling me that he was scared. Simultaneously, I looked up IUDs and called my gynecologist because I felt terrified of how accessible my birth control (which I have been on for twelve years) would become in the next few months. Simultaneously, my queer friend texted me and asked how she was supposed to go to class. Simultaneously, my black friend called off work because she was scared and couldn’t stop crying. Simultaneously, my Muslim friends posted only defeated, sad emoticons and/or deleted their profiles.

Believing that everyone will be ‘fine’ is an act of privilege. Telling others to ‘calm down’ in the face of their actual rights being threatened and gravely in jeopardy is malicious and blind. Putting your faith in Jesus or God is even to the point of frustrating me- are you that privileged that you can resign what’s going on to the sublime? Are you that unaffected by these changes that you can leave it up to a metaphysical being?

I see no light right now. I feel incredibly alone in this hurt and rage and embarrassment. I am having trouble looking Trump voters in the eye- not because I am trying to be hateful or cause more of a rift between the parties, but because I am worried about what a Trump presidency means for these beautiful beings around me. I am heartbroken that so many people voted Trump because they felt that the equality Obama and Clinton spoke for was a form of oppression on whites. I feel so much devastation and worry. What do I do now?

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