You’re awake by the way. You’re not having a terrible terrible dream. Also, you’re not dead and you haven’t gone to hell. This is your life now. This our election now. This is us. This our Country. It’s Real.” -Rachel Maddow
This morning, I sat in utter shock and disbelief as inarguably the most qualified and able Presidential candidate within this entire election cycle and possibly far beyond gave her concession speech to a reality television star with a tarnished and struggling brand. Not only did it symbolize a backward shift in the nation’s progress but one thing became abundantly clear: Hatred had overwhelmingly prevailed. On November 8th, 2016 we successfully ensured that America would be anything BUT great. As the stock market plummeted, we sat and watched as a racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, homophobic elitist became the 45th President of the United States of America. Donald J. Trump; a man who believes that he should run a country where he is not required to uphold the ideals upon which it was built, became the next leader of the free world.
We elected a man who doesn’t feel the need to pay taxes although he earns more annually than the average American and could easily afford to do so. We elected a man who believes that immigrants who seek to become a part of “The American Dream” should be turned away despite the fact he regularly employed immigrants working illegally for unfair wages when it better suited him. A man who views woman as sexual objects that he can disregard, degrade and brag about sexually assaulting with no recourse or accountability for his actions now has the ability to determine their reproductive rights. A man who regularly incited violence against individuals who voiced different views and beliefs will now preside over a country whose Constitution’s First Amendment is supposed to uphold its right to freedom of speech and expression. Essentially, the United States elected a self-motivated demagogue who feels as though we should all adhere to laws that don’t apply to him secondary to his sense of entitlement and inability to truly relate to the American people through his privileged upbringing and refusal to acknowledge the experiences of others. We elected a man child who throws tantrums and calls names when he can’t formulate an educated or informed response when asked to explain his plan for the future of our nation.
To all those who voted for a third party candidate, a fictional character or Harambe, I’d like to give you an extra special pat on the back. You literally thought it would be cool or funny to disregard the political process by wasting your vote in spite of people who actually cared by voting for figures that you knew couldn’t possibly assume the presidency of the nation in which you reside. To all those who had the opportunity to vote but decided to abstain because of the belief that “your vote doesn’t count”, you’ve successfully exemplified how much voting really matters. As a result, disenfranchised groups risk losing benefits from the government, the right to make decisions about their own bodies, the right to marry, the right to an education, and the right to health care. Not to mention, we will now have a President who has insulted countless individuals and made it clear that they are not a part of what he believes makes America great.
This is the first time in my adult life that I’m legitimately hurt and fearful about the outcome of an American election. The blatant examples of bigotry exuded by Donald Trump that were not enough to curb the opinion of the American people propelled him to the highest office in the land. It’s terrifying to think that a grown man who had to have his twitter privileges revoked just days before he was ultimately selected to lead a nation will now have access to the nuclear codes. Personally, I’m not comfortable with living in a country under the control of a person who constantly depicts an organization that exists to reaffirm the fact that an entire race of people is valuable and simply wants acknowledgment that they in fact matter as problematic while accepting endorsements from an organization that has a long known history of violent oppression based solely upon something that no human being has any control over. Sadly, on January 20th, 2017 this will become our new reality and the next four years of our lives have the potential to undo all that we achieved in the last eight. We find ourselves in an unfortunate place at the moment and I won’t say that I’m allowing myself to feel broken and hopeless but I’m truly concerned about what our future holds. One thing is for sure, we cannot allow ourselves to become defeated. Either way, this is truly upsetting and it’ll take some time to fully come to terms with.