At this time last week, I was standing in my living room, tears in my eyes, watching the Cubs win the World Series.
Five days ago, I was standing in the middle of Michigan Avenue, tears in my eyes, watching the five million fans celebrate a victory.
At this time about eighteen hours ago, I was sitting in my living room and burst into tears, watching the results of the 2016 Presidential election.
At this time three hours ago, I was standing in the middle of Dearborn St., outside Trump Tower, tears rolling down my face as I watched protestors storm by.
It’s been one hell of a week.
I have seen things this week that America has never seen before. I’ve cried more this week than I have than I can ever remember in my adult life. For me, it’s been a series of highs and lows unprecedented in my life. I have a really happy Cubs post that I was planning on writing this week, but that has to be put on hold right now. Because Donald Trump is going to be my President. And I can’t handle it yet.
It’s not that my candidate lost. My candidate lost back in the primaries, when Bernie Sanders lost to a political machine. A machine, I must add, that I wasn’t a fan of. As a woman, it hurts to say that. These past few months should have been a celebration of the possibility of the first female president. I will not lie; love, hate, or indifference, we had a chance to make history yesterday, and part of me really wanted it solely for that reason. Watching the debates, and seeing little girls watch this woman, this strong woman, this politician, make history in so many ways – it made me want it for her, and for me, and for those girls. But my optimism, my idealism which I will not apologize for, wanted Mr. Sanders to be up there. Call it what you want, but I believed in him and his ability to beat this Republican monstrosity we found ourselves with. That being said, that Republican monstrosity, in my opinion, needed to be defeated no matter what. And if Secretary Clinton was the other option, to me, she was the only option.
I’m hearing a lot today that we’re being overdramatic. This isn’t the end of the world. Get over it. He won, you lost, it happens every election. But I don’t think we’re being overdramatic. This is unprecedented. Never, in the history of the process that we are bound to uphold, has there been a candidate this divisive. I don’t need to go through it again. His racism. His mocking of the disabled. His misogyny. His careless talk of sexual assault. His platform based on division, and hate, and fear. Do not tell me that these things aren’t true. Don’t. If you think that this man has not made his platform based on fear and hate, you’re kidding yourself. It surely worked for him, don’t misunderstand. But he has found our weakness, America, and it is fear, plain and simple. He just exploited it, and did it spectacularly.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of the different. Fear of the loss of the fragile security we are desperately trying to hold onto. Fear that our piece of the pie, which wasn’t big enough to begin with, is going to be snatched away by that political machine. So no, I don’t need to go through it again, but to lend it no credence is doing a disservice to everyone. The fact that there are children asking their teachers if they’re going to lose their families; the fact that gay couples wonder if the progress they’ve made is gone; the fact that Muslim families that have lived here their whole lives are now terrified and being taunted at schools. The fact that an acquaintance of mine, who is deaf, was accosted by someone today that came up to them and actually said, “Get out of here, retard, Trump’s President now.” The fact that this is the rhetoric that’s acceptable right now.
So no, this isn’t because we lost the battle, America. It’s because right now, we’re losing the war.
So we need to take it back. The war that women have fought, for their own rights, to their own bodies. The war that minorities have fought, for their life, for their own rights. The war that the LGBT community has fought for years. The war against the rape culture that is so acceptable that even this little bleeding heart liberal has questioned it. The war that the disabled community has railed against. The war that that shouldn’t be an issue in 2016. Black people shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. Women shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. The disabled shouldn’t have to fight in 2016. Gay people, trans people – they shouldn’t have to fear for their status in 2016. Muslims shouldn’t have to declare themselves in 2016. Mexicans should not have to defend themselves in 2016. We. Are. Better. Than. This. America.
Not all Trump supporters believe this pared down version of his rhetoric. I know that. And I have to believe, in my heart, that Mr. Trump himself doesn’t believe this. I have to believe this, because I cannot believe otherwise. As I stood today, watching the protestors, tears rolling,
that’s what I thought. It sounds trite, but love needs to trump hate. It has to.
This is who we have. This is who our process has elected, and as an American, I can be embarrassed, and I can be sad. I’m allowed that. But. (Deep breaths) This is our President. We cannot divide any further. We need to rail against the divisiveness. We need to be stronger than this rhetoric, because we are better than this.
For better or worse, we have elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. It might be for worse, but we have to hope that it will be for better. We have to keep fighting for it to be better. We got our change, America. Let’s make it worth it.