Distraught But Not Defeated

On the night of November 7th, I tuned in to watch Hillary Clinton's last campaign rally. The next morning I woke up eager to get out and vote. I wore a blue neck scarf (go Dems) and, all be it naively, walked around all day content with the fact that I was on the right side of history and that night, it would be made official. 

That night I turned on CNN with cautious optimism. I was annoyed at how calm the commentators were being as the night progressed into unchartered territory. I was restless. I considered going to sleep while Clinton was still ahead, but lost that window of opportunity quickly. I was talking to several friends at once, all of us stunned by how suddenly this was unfolding.

It's been almost a week now. I've watched Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah try to make sense of the election's outcome. I felt angry when Van Jones told Corey Lewandowski, "you won," and Lewandowski demanded him to repeat it. I felt deeply disappointed when I saw friends, who are also the children and grandchildren of Greek immigrants, accusing "liberals" of acting like "children," "babies," and "sore losers" over Hillary Clinton's loss. Because our families once too sought refuge in this country of promise and opportunities for all.

Every time I'd see someone share an article titled, "I'm a [insert name of demographic that Trump has insulted and doesn't give a shit about], and I'm voting for Trump" I wanted to ask them when they lost touch with their humanity. Because if you knew someone on a personal level, who has repeatedly degraded you and your existence without apologizing for it, would you trust them with your wellbeing and the future of millions of other people who might not be as privileged as you are?

I feel frustrated that there are so many people in this country who let their fear get the best of them. The fear of people who don't look like them, who don't worship like them. We just had a black president who did a damn good job and I'm sure that there are people who are uncomfortable with that. People like Donald Trump who relentlessly questioned President Obama's citizenship. People like Mitch McConnell who have said on record, ‘my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.’ 

There are people who believe that America should be restored to a preferred state of whiteness (specifically white Christian-ness) and that Donald Trump is the vehicle for that restoration. We're seeing this happen around the world, in European countries where far-right movements are gaining traction because of people's fear of immigrants taking over their once 'pure' nation. Donald Trump didn't have to say that he thinks all Muslims could be terrorists to appeal to people who do in fact think that way. Why? Because when he says he's going to put a ban on Muslims entering the country, he's implying it. He's telling islamophobes that "it's okay, I'll cater to your needs." When we marginalize people who are different than us, it's not the solution. That is dangerous, and that should make us fearful of ourselves as a country.

Trump specifically, and perhaps soon the GOP as a whole, has seemed to create an image of the left as elite intellectuals that don't care about middle America. And I don't disagree that things need to change. I do disagree, however, with lax stances on gun control, ignoring climate change, defunding Planned Parenthood, and repealing the ACA - for starters.  I look forward to people like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker championing a movement to challenge that. I look forward to real people doing the same. But for now, there is a man about to take the office of the presidency who has spent his life championing for no one but himself. We should deeply respect Hillary Clinton's dedication to public service and her love for a country whose public has been less than decent to her on many, many occasions. How could we expect someone to not be flawed when we have spent the last 30 years tearing her apart?

Instead we rewarded a man with no political or military experience because he's going to shake up the system. Because men are rewarded for their take no prisoners attitude and affinity for grabbing life by the pussy. What will quickly become apparent is that by voting in Donald Trump, we have also voted in Washington insiders like Rudy Giuliani and Reince Priebus, and alt-right crusader and giant white nationalist asshole Steve Bannon. Lest we not forget Mike Pence; the staunchly pro-life and anti-gay governor from Indiana. Because we should always trust someone who is not a woman nor gay to make decisions for said groups. 

I don't want a Trump administration to lead to the demise of America as we know it just to be able to say "I told you so." *repeats to self two more times* But I am genuinely curious as to how a man who led a campaign rooted in racist, sexist, and xenophobic rhetoric will be the champion of all the people. Especially if he keeps hanging out with all of these white men. 

There are moments where I'm overwhelmed with words; with things to say about how detrimental this presidency could be for our country and the world order. The first black president is being replaced by a man who is celebrated by the KKK. There has been an insurgence of hate crimes across the country. Black, brown, hispanic, muslim, gay, trans, disabled, and immigrant communities are at risk. Women's reproductive rights now seem optional. The alt-right has been let into the White House. The GOP has sold its soul to the alt-right, to white nationalists, to Donald Trump. This can't be normalized; we can't praise this man every time he successfully reads a teleprompter. We can't accept him telling us that he's going to work to help all Americans as sincere because we need to remember how he won this campaign. 

I get a text from one of my closest friends: "How is it possible to feel numb and angry at the same time?" Right now I don't have faith in Trump, I have faith in the majority - the popular voters.