I woke up at 5 am on November 9th, 2016 and I saw it. The notification that Donald Trump had won the election to be the next President of the United States, and I cried. I cried because this is the country I live in. A country that has no issue following a person who is all the worst things about humanity: Sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and generally a person driven by hate. I was scared for myself and my family, my friends, my neighbors, and people in the country who are non-white, LGBTQIAA, immigrants, or people with disabilities.
The first thing I did in the morning was text my father who is visiting family in Pakistan. I told him to just stay there and that I would join him. I didn’t want him coming back to this place, even the chaos and upheaval in Pakistan is more appealing than Trump. But then he reminded me that this too, shall pass. I responded with the fact that I am legitimately scared. My father in his infinite wisdom told me that running a country is a sobering business, and bureaucracy is remarkable at keeping things from moving fast. Our unreliable government will be our saving grace.
This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t upset the rest of the day. I cried from the moment I got up until almost 5 pm. Then, I decided to stop. I’m pissed, I’m angry, I’m scared, and I have no idea what is going to happen. Never in my life have I been proud to be American. When I lived abroad I lied and said I was from Canada. But today I saw the immense number of people who are equally heartbroken and it gives me hope. Passion for politics has been revitalised and that is how change is brought about. Sitting silently has gotten us nothing, and today we see the power of people.
Everywhere I look I see protests and walk outs, because people care. Hillary Clinton didn’t win because of an antiquated system of government, but she won the popular vote. America chose her, and that’s what gives me hope. Clinton has a beautiful and empowering speech at her concession from the race, “This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.” My entire life has been me standing up to sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. My heart breaks that we didn’t break the highest glass ceiling and have our first female President. But today we should not stoop to the level of those who bask in the safety Trump’s hate rhetoric, but rather follow the words of Clinton and continue to fight the good fight.
Rachel Maddow has a fair point in commenting that “If you vote for somebody who can’t win for president, it means that you don’t care who wins for president.” You have the right to be angry and upset, but do not place blame on those who voted for third party candidates. At this point, what’s done is done, everyone in America has the right to vote, and we cannot change who they voted for. What we can do is fight back against hate and fear Make the masses question their decision.
Trump is just a man, he is nothing more than that. He gained a following in a time of increased unhappiness from eight years of a President Obama who was what white people feared the most. He gave people of color hope, and POC who were no longer being treated like second class citizens received push back from white people who felt they were getting the shit end of the stick. What these people fail to realize is that POC aren’t all of a sudden taking over, we’re finally being given the same fundamental human rights we deserve.
I don’t even know who will read this but know that the world is in upheaval. We as a nation are not alone in the shitstorm that is 2016. Things will get worse before they get better. There is hope in all of this. Did you know that the majority of voters between the ages of 18-25 votes for Hillary? That’s our future, we are the future. Don’t be discouraged. Wipe your tears, pull on your boots, and let’s do something about it. I don’t care whether you donate money to Planned Parenthood, join a local advocacy group, or protest in the streets. We matter and what we do matters.
Stop saying 2016 is the worst year ever. We have a chance to make history and be the strongest, most articulate, and ass kicking generation we’ve ever seen. This is our country, not a bunch of old white men can control us, it’s our turn to be fierce and stop evil from taking over. If we want change, we have to do something about it. Never forget that there is always hope. You may not believe me today or even tomorrow, but I refuse to run away. I’m going to stay and fight for all of my friends and family and fellow people of color. Let’s show the world that we are bigger people and have more class and respect than Trump supporters. We have to show the world the face of a nation that will change for the better. We have to stand together.