I didn’t stay up all night watching the news.
I went to bed. When I woke up, I checked Facebook. I checked my email. I checked my news sources (Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Mashable, etc.). I checked Twitter. And then I collapsed back onto my bed.
Why? How could we do this? Apparently, I severely underestimated the decision making capabilities of the general public of the United States. Somehow, someway, we decided to elect Donald Trump as the President of the United States.
I’m not going to focus on the criticisms of Trump. I’m not going to focus on his blatant misogyny. I’m not going to consider his unforgiving xenophobia and racism towards Mexican people, Muslims, and other such groups. I’m not going to think about his utter lack of ability to act as a decent human being and be nice to people, even with those who may disagree with him. I’m not going to care about his total, utter lack of preparedness for office.
I’m going to focus on the people who will be affected. Because, whatever happens next, already tomorrow, every woman, immigrant, and minority in America will walk a little less sure and safe and steady.
I’ve been analyzing my Facebook feed for the last several weeks. Surprisingly, it’s a fairly diverse feed. People from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different ethnic demographics, different places in the world, different levels of education. Trump, Clinton, and even third-party candidate supporters. You want to know what I’ve noticed?
Almost every single person who announced that they were voting for Trump to all of their friends…was white. Also, generally male (some female as well).
They say that Trump knows business and will help the economy return to its former robustness. They say that Trump will better represent our country. They say that Trump will be good for the United States.
Yet, what about everyone else? My friends. The ones who don’t have that same sureness of security that my more privileged friends do. The ones who are literally crying because they are scared for their futures. The ones who feel every single word of hate that Trump espouses. The ones who will truly be affected by the nature of the Trump administration now.
Imagine if you were a woman, and you heard the “nasty” remarks made by Donald Trump, the words masquerading as “locker room talk”. You see the way he treats women. How would that make you feel?
Imagine if you were someone of Islamic faith, and you saw on television Donald Trump saying that, if it were up to him, he would ban all Muslims from entering the country. Your people, your family across the sea, your friends outside of the United States, told that they were no longer welcome. How would that make you feel?
Imagine if you were from Mexico, and you heard Donald Trump saying that he would just love to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to stop “those murderers, those rapists” from coming over. You believed that no one would stand for his words, yet, as you visit the grocery store tomorrow, no one, not the cashier nor your neighbor across the street, disagrees with him. How would that make you feel?
There’s so much more I could say. But the words would fill a library.
Those of us who believed in the possibility of humanity tried. But as I've thought all year, our best weren't good enough to face our worst.
I used to be angry. I was furious with the rest of the country for forcing Donald Trump into our lives.
But now…I’m just sad. I’m disappointed because I thought the American people would have a little more empathy for those who are more vulnerable.
Believe me. I know it’s hard for some of you to understand. How could you? Don’t worry; I get it. Of course his words don’t affect you. If you’re not a minority, why would his xenophobic rhetoric matter? If I weren’t a minority, I know I wouldn’t care. I don’t have a controversial faith. I’m not LGBT. I’m from this country. It makes complete, logical sense for you not to care about Trump. After all, if some of his words do ring true, you’ll never hear the echoes.
Did you know that the initial title of this article was “Here’s What Infuriates Me”? I was prepared to lash out at the world with criticisms of people’s hypocrisy, with barbed speech meant to skewer those would disagree with me, what I deemed logic. But I stopped. Deleted half of my words. And remained silent and unmoving for a long time. Felt the anger drain out of me, leaving gray dullness in its place.
I have friends who are laughing right now. They joke “guess you’re getting deported now!” They roll their eyes and shrug. They treat this whole debacle as a game, like an unpopular football team just won.
We are so privileged to be able to laugh at this.
The air outside feels just a bit different now. It’s as crisp and chilly as it always has been, yet it’s biting now. You didn’t notice it before, but now it’s practically choking.
They are not monsters. They are silent wraiths, staring at people like you and me from their curtains of shadows. Not dangerous...yet. Just uncomfortable. They have always existed since the beginning of humanity. But now they’ve revealed themselves, and there are many, many of them. Their weapon of choice? Fear. Like a horde of disturbed cattle, fear is what drives them. And now, they intend to spread that fear to us. Compared to them, we are just singular sea shells amidst a vast shoreline of sand. They don’t have to worry about the high tide, the rising waves of water that threaten to swallow us whole and sink us beneath its depths. They don’t understand how we feel, nor can they. Life just gets that much harder for us now.
But that’s no excuse to just let it happen to us. We won’t stand to be bullied, even if we’re surrounded. We won’t abandon each other, not now, not when it’s now vital that we continue to stand up to those who would try to declare that this is the way that their world works. Perhaps it is the way the world turns…for now. But never accept discrimination and a culture of hate as the norm. Do not accept that this is how the world will be. Share your concern, your kindness, your love for those who need it now more than ever before. Those with privilege, shelter those who don’t. Those who don’t, hold each other close and stand strong.
It will be a long winter. Some of us won’t get to see a beautiful spring.
But we will survive.