It has now been two full days since the election and I have been struggling to express how I feel.
I study English, journalism, and Spanish literature; I work for a news organization; I run a blog; I edit an esteemed student magazine; all I do all day is write. I have invested my whole self in the power of words. And yet, right now, I don't think anyone has the right ones.
I feel genuinely dumb now for not expecting this outcome. I have experienced sexism first-hand. I have watched my black friends and black strangers grapple with the realities of racism every day. I have seen prejudice and hatred actively practiced against Latinx, LGBTQ, and Muslim people. And yet, I feel dumb—not because I underestimated Donald Trump, but because I think I vastly overestimated the basic decency of people. I think I expected more people to cast votes for third party candidates, write-in candidates, or not at all. I expect apathy towards the American political system, but still, I assumed most people would be at least opposed to the vile spewings of Donald Trump. I had foolishly assumed that despite Hillary Clinton's low favorability, the average American would recognize a ballot cast for the GOP nominee as a deplorable act.
If you voted for Donald Trump, please don't tell me that you're not racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc. Either you are and you're lying/blind to your own hatred or you directly endorsed a man who is. And at some point, there's no difference there. I don't want to hear that you voted in the interest of national security (even though Donald Trump wants to give dictators nuclear weapons), or that you voted for financial reasons (economists have predicted that Trump's policies will lead to a disastrous worldwide depression). I don't want to hear that your Christian values led you to your vote (Trump is on his third marriage, has cheated on all his wives, and has openly been pro-choice in the past), or that you were voting for the party and not the candidate (prominent Republicans have denounced him; past Republican presidents refused to vote for him).
There are too many inconsistencies to be upset about. There is too much uncertainty when it comes to Trump's platform; the truth is that we have no idea how he will govern. That's what happens when you want a "political outsider" with absolutely zero governmental experience. Honestly, none of that even matters to me right now. Whatever policy you thought you were voting for doesn't matter. What Donald Trump has said and done to demean minorities absolutely disqualifies him from leading our country; if you see his casual hatred of others as a minor character flaw rather than an immediate deal-breaker, that's all I need to know. As a friend of a friend wrote, "I don't care about policy until AFTER a candidate has passed the freaking human decency test."
America is not broken. America is doing exactly what it was built to do: protect the rights and interests of rich, white men. And despite the outcome of the popular vote, despite the "will of the people," 52 million Americans still voted for a platform built on bigotry. As much as I want to work towards compromise and a better tomorrow, right now I am not proud to be an American.
"don't attack someone for their political beliefs" you say, as your political beliefs attack the rights of poc, women, & the LGBTQ community— dani #NotMyPresident (@reillyrousso) November 9, 2016
Whatever happens, we have lost. Half this nation voted for white supremacy, sexual assault, and more. The Klan is happy. We should be sad.— Baratunde (@baratunde) November 9, 2016
I'd like to speak directly now to those of you who have said anything along the lines of, "stop overreacting," "calm down," or "why are you so afraid?"
Odds are, you are a man. Odds are even better that you're white. In some cases, I have seen truly misguided women making such statements (I am honestly appalled at the sheer volume of white women in particular who voted for Trump. You have made a grave error in judgement. You have decided to be intentionally ignorant and elect a man who neither cares about you, nor sees you as a full human being).
Listen, of course this is not the time to lie down. This is not the time for apathy. It is more important than ever that we stand up and fight for our individual liberties, our basic civil rights, and the equality of every human being.
However. In the immediate aftermath of this election, I beg of you, do every single thing in your power to practice empathy. If someone tells you that they are scared, that's because for them, this is not a game. The abstractions of a Trump presidency are now tangible; the threat is felt locally, poignantly, in a way that we cannot escape.
On a daily basis, my female body is leered at, scanned, appraised, groped and violated. I don't know one woman who has not been accosted by a strange man or touched without her consent. And now, not only do I have to worry about this from strangers on the subway, I have to worry that my literal president views me as a prop or property. The election of Donald Trump—an accused rapist, an admitted serial sexual predator—emboldens every man with both blatant and casual misogyny. There have already been numerous reports of men trying to physically grab women's vaginas in public. I wonder where they got the idea that that would be okay.
I am a white woman from a privileged community living in a liberal city; my fear is merely a fraction of the fear felt by women of color, queer women, and trans women. And as women, our fears are only one part of the whole. Donald Trump's list of targets seems to know few boundaries—from disabled people to war veterans to immigrants and refugees. Hardly anyone feels that they will be welcome in Donald Trump's America.
If you are able to accept this election's result and practice compassion without fear right now, you have privilege. You are one of the few groups that Trump has not endorsed violence against. So do it. Show some fucking compassion. We need to fight, yes, but we also need to heal. Muslim women are not wearing their hijabs outdoors. Gay men are trying to act more masculine in public. People are afraid, and this is not a mythical, dramatized threat. Please take a moment to imagine what it's like to be a queer, female, or non-white American right now and watch your country show you how much it doesn't care for your wellbeing. Your fellow citizens have proclaimed, in no uncertain terms, that their comfort and safety is more important to them than showing our children that they should condemn sexual assault, white supremacy, and incitements of violence.
be good listeners to the women in your life who do not think everything will be fine; they live in a world that doesn't want them to succeed— Ingrid Ostby (@ingridostby) November 9, 2016
I knew that if Hillary lost, I would be sad. I would be angry. But I did not anticipate how extremely fucking injured I would feel. Knowing how the millenial population voted, I feel betrayed by the older generations that claim to want to look out for us; you have potentially ruined the Supreme Court for the rest of my lifetime. I feel insulted by people who realized they had nothing to lose in a Trump presidency and decided to stay home on Election Day, or cast an unheard protest vote. And most of all, I am hurt that people are trying to invalidate these feelings—that people are trying to silence the very communities that need most of all right now to be lifted up and listened to.
The first thing you learn in crisis management is to take a moment to cry, really feel your feelings, before jumping into important decisions. Right now, do whatever you need to do to process what has happened. If that means skipping class and eating ice cream in bed, do it. If that means writing lengthy blog posts, do it. If that means donating to organizations fighting for equality, please do it. Most of all, stay aware and spread love. Find support and, eventually, get organized. There is so much work to be done. And please know that in the grand tradition of history, we win. Progress always wins.
Protest racism, protest xenophobia, protest homophobia, protest inequality, protest hate, protest hate, protest hate, but don't become it.— Cole M. Sprouse (@colesprouse) November 10, 2016
White ppl: if you're really 'bout it, now's the time to GET TO WORK. Learn what white supremacy looks like, dismantle that shit relentlessly— Lydia Ogwang (@lydiaohh) November 9, 2016