I’m still not sure how to cope with the results of the presidential election. It’s been five weeks now since the unthinkable happened, since the xenophobic, racist, sexist, anti-intellectual was elected to office. I remember writing a post about him some time ago—I need to go look back on it, and revel in the naïveté that was believing in an America that couldn’t possibly elect such a hateful man.
The morning of November 8th, I was exuberant. I got up early to go vote in the election for the first female president of the United States of America, and it was an exhilarating feeling. It was something I was going to tell future generations about. I was there. I was with her. I swear I was high on that feeling all day. Until about 9 pm. When the votes started creeping in. And the states were being called. I held on hope as long as I could, for a good four hours or so. I had been trying to study for a test the next day, but I couldn’t concentrate. I was devastated. I was sitting in my home with my significant other, and all of a sudden I couldn’t take it anymore.
Once the tears started falling, they didn’t stop. They were heavy, and they hurt. I cried myself to sleep.
Sometimes, when something bad happens, I like to go to sleep. Because when I wake up, for a few blissful seconds or minutes I’ll forget about the bad. It’s a way of coping, I suppose. I’ve done it when loved ones have died. For a few seconds… that hurt hasn’t happened yet, because I don’t remember it. Somehow, it makes it easier to accept when I remember the truth.
When I awoke the next day, there was not a millisecond of peace. I woke up knowing. I woke up afraid. For myself, for my loved ones, and for people who I have never met. But I understand their struggle and I stand with them. As someone in the LGBTQ+ community, a Trump presidency terrifies me. Now that a few weeks have passed, I must admit, it hurts less to think about. But I still worry. I worry about my right to love who I want. I worry about my right to my future children, be they biologically mine or not. I worry about the rest of the LGBTQ+ community. I worry about women. I worry about people of color. I worry about non-Christians. I worry. And my heart, is oh so heavy.
The weight that has affixed itself to my chest since the night of November 8th is always there. Some days, it’s easier to carry than others.
My family doesn’t understand. Partially because, my family is privileged. White. Comfortably middle class. Straight. Christian. They don’t understand. And when I try to explain, they don’t want to hear it, and they don’t believe it.
I have tried to explain it to them. When they voted for that man, they voted for their political beliefs. They got to vote for actual political ideologies that they care about—gun rights, immigration reform, conservative fiscal policy, etcetera. When I voted, and when thousands of other people like me voted—it was like we voted for our basic survival. We voted to keep our civil rights, to marry and love who we want. We voted against discrimination, of race and of gender. We voted for love. Support. Diversity.
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you could say that we voted at a lower level. We voted for moral and basic needs of the human condition. Things like personal safety. Acceptance.
And so, unfortunately, I still don’t know. I know I have to keep fighting. I know in my heart that that man is not fit to lead this country. I can’t believe that in a little over a month he will no longer be the president-elect, but the President himself. Quite frankly, I’m still terrified.
But I’m not going to back down.
Try as he might to undermine what I stand for, as a human being and as a global engagement fellow. I will not stand down.