I have been vocal this election season—oh, who am I kidding, I’m vocal about politics in general. Last night though, I was stunned into silence; the only remarks I felt capable of making centered around key buzzwords…devastation, terror, defeat, lack of faith. How did we get here? How could our fellow countrymen betray us so thoughtlessly?
I take this election personally—this is personal. As a woman. As someone who aspired to be a political scientist. As someone who is both an ally for the LGBT community and someone who was raised by a member of that community. As a sister, a friend, a daughter and someone who hopes to bring children into this world someday—I must admit that I am ashamed of my countrymen. You have let us all down—and, no, this is not me being dramatic. And, no, you cannot tell me he is a good man. Or that he will make a great president.
Whatever he is, he is not a good man. Good men do not talk about women that way. Good men do not prey on naked women and teenage girls in pageant dressing rooms. Good men do not make fun of deceased soldiers. Good men do not mock veterans and prisoners of war. Good men do not do the things or say the words that Donald Trump has done and said.
Whatever those who voted for him feel today, I feel I should not have to remind you that the rest of us are scared. The rest of us awoke to an America we do not recognize. We have every reason to feel that the America we have woken up to is not an America that will protect or serve us. Some worry not only for their livelihoods but also for their lives.
This morning I walked my dog in my apartment complex as I do every morning. But today, a man felt the need to leer at me while he smoked his cigarette. He watched me the entire time I innocuously walked my dog. He watched me walk towards my apartment and he watched me walk into my front door. In those moments, I wondered: Is this the America Trump’s hateful words about women has created? Is this the climate in which I will have to survive?
You may feel happy. You may feel like your team just won…but for those of us who lost, this is Trump’s America. We have 4 years of fear to look forward to. Four years of men feeling entitled to say what they want about our bodies, feeling entitled to touch us without our consent. For my friends and family of color, it is worse than that. Their fears are rooted in the very fact that they may be separated from their families, deported back to war torn countries, deprived of civil liberties…killed. You may have “won”, but America doesn’t win when more than half the voting population lives in fear.
Today, I look back in unabashed and vehement anger. I am angry that the racism, xenophobia, and sexism of LESS than half the voting population of this country just resigned us to this fate. I am angry at the unprecedented number of rural, white men who decided to bring out the vote for the very first time last night…to what? Put women back where we belong? Show minorities we don’t want them here?
Don’t tell me the people have spoken. Clinton won the popular vote. More than half of the voting population believed she was the right candidate to lead this country. Trump did not win because the people spoke. Trump won because the Electoral College is an antiquated, unfair and embarrassing institution that perpetuates divisiveness, hardens party lines and fails the American people.
You may be saying, “BUT THE EMAILS! SHE’S SUCH A LIAR!” Let us nip that in the bud right now. I don’t want to hear any more about emails. Why? Because none of you are more qualified to determine the criminal culpability of anyone than the Federal Bureau of Investigations—who, need I remind you, already determined that while reckless and poorly thought out, Clinton’s behavior with the email server was not illegal. And no, if she were anyone else, Hillary Clinton would not be in jail. If that were true, Colin Powell would be in jail. Right along with Karl Rove (Bush White House emails anyone?) and Rick Perry.
We are not all so different. We are not 100% red or 100% blue. Each of us have nuanced perspectives, cultivated through years of unique, personal experiences. It is time to rethink how we approach politics. It is time to consider that our personal perspectives need a better outlet through which to have our voices heard than the Electoral College. I do not have the answers, but I do know that we can find a better way.
On behalf of my Muslim, Black, Hispanic, female, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, pansexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, and those, who, in general, do not have my privilege of being a white, middle class, female, friends…on behalf of you…I am angry. And I will not lie still. I will not shut up. I will fight every day. From my keyboard, to conversations with family, to entering the streets, I will fight with you.
Here is what I know: we are stronger together…we cannot let hatred, bigotry and fear of the unknown define our lives. The politics of fear may have won this round—but we are emboldened to be better. More passionate. Stronger. More engaged. To work harder. Let us start today.