I cried on the way to work the day after Election Day.
Maybe it was because I only got a few hours of sleep the night before, watching Hillary Clinton slowly but surely see defeat due to a broken system, because I get emotional when I get sleepy. I wish it was just because I was sleepy; it was way more than that. The thoughts of what would happen during a Donald Trump presidency swarmed my thoughts so aggressively, so suddenly, that the tears forced themselves out without giving me a chance to stop them.
My heart broke for a country I thought was on the way to getting better.
As I saw the country overwhelmingly turn red on the electoral college map, I couldn’t help but feel numb inside due to just how many people would rather have an openly sexist, racist, xenophobic man who supports taking away rights from LGBTQIA individuals, than a woman who lead her campaign based on hope, equality, and making America a place for everyone, not just straight white men. It hurt to know that I have to exist among these people who supported a pair of men who advocate for repealing my right to marry a man I love, who support conversion therapy for LGBTQIA individuals (by going as far as using shock therapy), and who actively do everything they can to take away freedoms from women, people of color, and Muslims in this country. It hurt that, while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, almost half of our country thinks that this is the direction we need to go, in our grand United States; land of the free (straight white men), home of the brave (because straight white men have nothing to fear.)
I went from numb to nauseous, and then from nauseous to terrified; that’s when I really felt the impact of this election result.
I cried on the way to work because my mind was flooded with images of scared LGBTQIA children being told by their intolerant parents that they must endure the shock therapy to be “normal.” I cried because of the many happy same-sex couples I know that are on their way to getting married will most likely have that opportunity ripped away from them. I cried because the women of this country will now be told that they can’t make choices for their own body, and are now under the presidency of a man who been charged multiple times with sexual assault. I cried because Latino and Muslim immigrants could now be threatened with deportation/being banned from the country, a result of this xenophobia expressed so deeply by our new president. I cried for people of color because they’re now living under the presidency of a man who was endorsed by the KKK, one of the biggest slaps in the face after having two terms of our first African American president.
I cried because far too many people in this country told us that we don’t matter, not a damn bit.
It’s not that I didn’t know that so many people felt this way about all of us; it’s that I’m not accustomed to seeing it in as large of a quantity as I did on Election Day in 2016. I, as well as anyone else in a marginalized community, now have to exist among these people who made a powerful decision against us, and we’re expected to stay civil with them despite how much their vote hurt and angered us. We’ve now been told that our presence in this country is unwelcome, and the fact that so many our cries of pain and frustration regarding this election have been tossed aside as “dramatic” has only amplified that feeling.
It’s astounding to me that so many people can lack that much sympathy.
I wish I could be that carefree about the results of this election. I wish I could believe people when they said “it’s gonna be okay,” but the people who say it’s going to be okay are the ones who won’t be affected by Trump’s racist, homophobic, sexist, and xenophobic rhetoric. They tell us it will be okay without really understanding why we’re do damn terrified of our future in this country. Truth is; it’s already not okay. The United States has already become a more violent, hateful place just after electing him as our next president, and it’s dangerous for the minorities in America to try and convince ourselves that it will get better anytime soon.
Regardless of whether it does or does not get better (which we’re all so doubtful that it will), our country voted for this, both actively and passively.
If you voted for Trump, you told women, people of color, the LGBTQIA community, and Muslims, and pretty much every other marginalized community that they don’t deserve freedom in this country, and that their safety doesn’t matter. Though you may not have voted for Trump because of these views that he has, by proxy, your vote still went to this, and we’re already starting to see the consequences.
If you voted third party, I respect that you made your voice heard, but you told us that it was more important to stick to your own beliefs than it was to protect our nation from one of the most bigoted presidencies. This is not to say I think third party voting is the same as “wasting” your vote. I do believe that we should have a system that gives a fair chance to the Independent candidates, but there was too much at stake in this election to be voting for parties that, at this time in our society, get such a small percentage of votes. Several states could have been swung in favor of a less racist, sexist, anti-LGBT, and xenophobic president, and while I’m aware that this isn’t the only factor in why Hillary lost the election, it’s definitely a contributor.
If you didn’t vote, (and a whopping 46.9% of people didn’t) you told us you didn’t even care about us enough to give a damn. This is the most powerful freedom we have in this country, and not using it says plenty about your apathy for what could happen to those who are terrified for their futures as minorities in this country.
Our country told us that more than half of its citizens don’t deserve to be seen as equal, and now we just might live in a world where our inequality will be legalized all over again.
Welcome to America, everyone. Find a loved one and hold them close, because, as we already know in our hearts, we’re stronger together.