If you are like me, watching the election results roll in was like watching a nuclear bomb explode in slow motion. I stared in horror with the rest of my country, waiting for more electoral votes to swing in on Hillary’s side and rescue us from certain destruction, but they never arrived. I woke up yesterday morning with a painful knot in my stomach to the very real nightmare of President Trump. And I sobbed and I screamed at the television and retreated to Facebook where I could find some tiny consolation in the fact that so many other people were feeling the same awful pain that I was experiencing, that I was nowhere near alone in my absolute disbelief and disgust that America — our America — signed up for this. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been living in the California bubble. It’s not that I didn’t see how much support he had; I had no doubt how close the race would be. I suppose I just had too much faith that humanity and compassion and love would ultimately win. And actually, I wasn’t wrong. More than 50% of the voters in this country voted to elect Hillary Clinton, and only because of a broken and outdated system (that was initially implemented to prevent people like Trump from getting into the White House, by the way) did he even win. Technically, our country said NO to him and yet in true American rape culture fashion, we are still stuck getting his hyperbole shoved down our gagging throats.
I’m sure my friends and family are sick and tired of hearing me talk about the election at this point. Everyone keeps trying to smooth over the bad feelings: “Get over it. Stop whining. This is reality, we’re stuck with him; we might as well make the best of it. Maybe some good will come out of this.” Or the worst sentiment of all: “The best thing you can do is just ignore him. None of this will really even affect you that much.”
Excuse me? This isn’t just a pity-party where I sit around feeling sorry that “my team” lost. This won’t affect me!? Yes, I am white and I just happen to be engaged to a man, that means that I am privileged and in many ways, I certainly won’t be as affected as a lot of my fellow Americans. But you are dead wrong in that this won’t affect me. I am a woman, which means that for the next four years (at least) I have to live in a country where we the people have proclaimed to the world that it is okay to grab women, to kiss women even when they don’t want you to, to do whatever you want to them, to demean them purely because of their appearance or the fact that they don’t like you. We have endorsed a man who wants to take away my rights, my freedoms, and potentially even punish me for exercising them. We have elected a vice president who would like to repeal marriage equality and believes in the pseudo-science of conversion therapy. As someone who proudly represents the B in the LGBTQ community, this infuriates me more than anyone who is straight can possibly understand. I AM NOT FUCKING BROKEN; you cannot fix me or shame my sexuality out of me, it is part of who I am. And to say that I am a lesser part of my community and try to take away my rights because of your religious beliefs is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
But worse even than all of these things and perhaps one of the most terrifying things that Trump’s presidency means for all of us is the fact that he believes that global warming is a hoax. We are rapidly (not slowly) destroying the only home that we have and while I’m not even sure that intense and focused preventative action will save us at this point, it is the only option that gives me hope for the future. I can’t even completely appreciate the fact that so many millennials are getting involved in politics and rallying for change due to this election — and it’s all because I don’t even know if their children will be around to see the results of that.
“We need to pull together. Unite. Stay positive. Look at the bright side.” Look, I am trying. But I have spent a lifetime trying to suppress my negative feelings and put on a happy face, and you know what? I’m tired of it. There is nothing wrong with being hurt, and angry, and afraid. When we gloss over these things, we minimize them. We say that they don’t matter. Let’s all just suck it up and hope for the best! Make sure to keep quiet about our pain for the sake of pulling it together. You know what? If you are as angry as I am and are able to react calmly when people say things like “Trump isn’t that bad!” Well, my hat is off to you, you are a better human being than I. But I cannot stay silent. I believe in freedom of speech, and I will exercise that right even in the face of people who would seek to take that away from me (even just by trying to minimize my feelings.)
Right now, one of the hardest things I’m struggling with is this internal battle about Trump voters. On the one hand, I have several friends that I know voted for Trump; people who I love and respect and know are intelligent and rational people. People that I want to stay friends with. People that I have always been able to have an open and healthy dialogue with and learn from. I believe wholeheartedly in treating others with love and respect, and that’s why at this moment I can’t even engage in rational conversation right now about the election with people who are willing to defend him. I just can’t do it. I’m trying to get back to that place where I could have a calm dialogue, and I’m sure I will get there, but it might take me a little time. Right now I’m finding solace in the community of those who are feeling many of the same things I am, and I decided to write this post in hopes that perhaps this could shed a little extra light into why so many of us are so upset (for those of you that are having a hard time understanding.)
Right now it is so hard to come from a place of love. I am so angry — I feel let down. All of these people that I know were willing to turn a blind eye to all of the racist, bigoted, sexist and degrading things that this man has said because they dislike or disagree with Hillary for one reason or another. But to me, the two are not even remotely comparable. All politicians are corrupt to varying degrees; all of them do things that have at least some negative consequences. I have never been the biggest Hillary fan (although I will admit, seeing the way she handled herself during this election certainly gave me a new measure of respect for her) but to compare even what extreme right-winger’s accuse Hillary of doing to the actual video evidence of things that Trump has done and said… well, they’re simply not comparable. Trump marginalizes, degrades, and seeks to oppress minorities and all of the freedoms that they have fought SO HARD for; Hillary does not. I never needed to love her to elect her, I only needed to trust her to stand up for ALL of our rights as American citizens. I don’t trust Trump to do that.
It doesn’t make it better when friends tell me they voted for him in spite of all of the awful things he has said and done. When someone tells me they voted for Trump on policy, this is what I hear: “I voted to take away your rights and freedoms as well as the rights and freedoms of others I don’t care about, because I believe in tax breaks and trickle down economics and I’m tired of people taking advantage of the system.”
I’m sorry, but that fucking stings. I know that’s not the way they see it or the way that they mean it, but that’s what it feels like.
I can’t help but find it ironic that it’s not okay for people to take advantage of the system that provides food, health care, and housing — but it’s okay for a rich white man to take advantage of the same system in order to avoid paying federal taxes, avoid actually paying people for the work that they did for him (which he USED by the way) and essentially screw dozens of investors out of their money. I’m sorry, but in what world is that better? Loopholes are okay for the rich, but not the poor. GOT IT. I’m not going to deny that people take advantage of our system on every level — but you know what? I would rather be a part of a system that provides basic needs to every citizen, even ones who might take advantage, than a system that is “every man for himself” and a large percentage of people (even the people who need it and deserve it and work hard) can’t have their basic needs met. Regardless of how you set up the system, there will always be people that take advantage; stop using that as an excuse.
Every single person that I know who voted for Trump is white. Every. Single. One. Of course they are going to tell me to “get over it” and “stop whining.” They can get back to their lives as usual and not leave their house every morning afraid that someone is going to sexually assault them or come after them with torches and bullets and hatred. That’s called WHITE PRIVILEGE. Just because you can’t imagine life from someone else’s point of view doesn’t automatically make you right. I’m sorry, but yes. I am angry. I have been trying for this entire election to put myself in your shoes and I can conceptualize, but I hear and see too much greed and lack of empathy in those words to take your support for Trump seriously.
My heart aches for all of the people taking to the streets late last night in protest. On the one hand I feel for all of the people who went out with the intention to protest peacefully; but I am simultaneously angry at the protesters that allowed their anger to fuel violence. I have no patience for that. You make all of us look bad. You give Trump supporters a reason to point and say “stupid liberals” and not take any of this seriously. Violence is never the answer. On top of that, a large percentage of these protesters didn’t even vote. This makes me more angry than the Trump supporters. (Obviously if you can’t vote, or you chose to vote because you honestly don’t care about who was elected — no hard feelings. That is your right.) But if you could have voted, didn’t, or worse, voted third party, and then get angry that Trump was elected — you made your fucking bed.
Some of my Trump supporter friends have told me that they think everything Trump does is “just for show” and now that he’s elected he will be different. I sincerely hope they are right, but I’ll be honest. I spent six years in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man who would swing back and forth between complimenting me, and belittling and degrading my sense of self-worth. I put up with every apology, every “I didn’t mean it.” I let him manipulate me with sweet words after the dust of emotional destruction had settled and continued to allow myself to buy into the delusional idea that things would get better. I know what that bullshit looks like when I see it, and Trump oozes it out of every orange pore. Every woman who has ever been sexually assaulted is looking at Trump right now, horrified because they see their attacker not only vindicated, exonerated, but CELEBRATED. Elected to the very highest office. Women have been putting up with this shit for pretty much forever, and we’re used to it, but that doesn’t make it okay. Society victim-blames and points the finger and belittles women when they step forward and speak up — and you’re asking WHY they don’t come forward!?
Guess what? I don’t trust or believe people any more when they say one thing and do another. So I’ll make peace with Trump as president when he stands up for MY rights, and for the rights of my friends who are Muslim, Black, Latino, Native American, women, LGBTQ, disabled, or poor. If President Pussygrabber can get his Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde personality under control and perhaps actually get his story straight for once and actually make improvements to this country that benefit its citizens without restricting the rights of half of them, and if he can stop inciting hate and violence, and for once encourage white people to step into the shoes of the other half of the country and imagine a world where they wake up every morning AFRAID, and find a way to help these people embrace and accept all of the differences that make this country the beautiful rainbow that it is — well, then I will eat my words and I will accept his presidency.
But until that happens, I will be that angry voice that is willing to stand up and say, “I believe in this beautiful thing called FREEDOM — the very thing that our country was built upon. And I will fight for my rights and the rights of others, in any way that I can.”