Taken at a protest held at my school
Note: I wrote this in the early morning of November 9th. I was drained, I was behind on my schoolwork, and most of all, I was upset. Incredibly upset. And in this state, I wrote the following post, to document my feelings and my reactions. And as Trump gets inaugurated today, I can’t let myself forget how I felt and where I was and how I won’t stop fighting.
It’s 2:07 AM as I write this. It’s technically November 9th, but at a time like 2 AM, it’s basically still November 8th. The day hasn’t truly started yet. The truth hasn’t settled in.
I don’t know why I was so drawn to this platform, out of all of the ones I use, after the events of tonight. One of my professors today talked about how writing is a cathartic way to relieve pent-up aggression and sadness from tragic events.
I write this after spending six hours in a dorm lounge, surrounded by my peers, watching a play-by-play of the election results. It’s a predominantly white group, given my university’s demographics, and I was one of the few people of color there. But it was still overwhelmingly liberal (a rare feat for upstate New York, but this is a college, after all).
We sat together, we stress ate too much food, we cheered, we booed, and we were just there for each other, no matter what happened. It was a safe space. I felt safe.
But as the night went on, the mood shifted. When we first started election watch (around 8pm), it was rowdy and disruptive. We joked about Texas going blue and whether New Hampshire hand-counted the votes because they were one of the earliest states to close the polls but only had 13% reporting.
Then, the hours ticked on and more states began getting called. We saw the map turning redder and redder. And that jovial vibe disappeared. The room got quieter, with only an occasional update of yet another state that went red. At the end of the night, when it was impossible for Clinton to pull ahead, when she had to win states like Ohio and Kentucky and North Carolina to get enough electoral votes, wariness and disappointment and sadness rested on everyone’s face. And almost all at once, we began to realize that this is our future.
This is our reality.
Earlier in the day, I woke up with nerves and excitement, because it was Election Day. My first Election Day since I registered! Granted, I voted absentee since I was away at college, but the reality that today was The Day made me feel ecstatic.
I think I was surprised at how emotional I got when I went to the polling place with a friend and watched her go through the process. I got the “I Voted” sticker and unapologetically took many pictures with it and wore it on my shirt proudly, because it proclaimed that history was moving forward. Judge me all you want for my selfies with my sticker, but voting is such a privilege that people take for granted. And I was proud that I was finally able to fulfill my duty as a citizen to exercise this right.
It was such a surreal moment. Like I was able to vote! Me, a minority woman, was able to cast a ballot and make her voice heard. It was something that I’ve only waited nineteen years to do; other people before me fought for so much longer to let me do this. There was a high that came with not only being able to vote, but also with taking part in such a historic election. Such a unique election. I’ve never been more proud to be a citizen.
But then, evening fell. And election results started coming in. And the entire vibe shifted.
It’s 2:22 AM as I write this, and Pennsylvania was called for Trump about an hour ago. Pennsylvania.
Clinton’s campaign just announced that they’re still counting votes and there will be no new information tonight. And I’m utterly speechless.
I don’t really know how to describe what I’m feeling. I think the entire experience can be described as surreal. It’s surreal how this is the first election I was able to vote in, and an election with a female nominee no less. It’s surreal how the female nominee, someone who may be personally questionable but is so politically qualified, is up against a male nominee, someone who has been alienating people from his campaign since day one. It’s surreal how this is how the country is. And I’m scared for its future.
I’ve lived in bubbles all my life. New York City, the place that is basically why New York State always goes blue, is the liberal hippie-dippy place I grew up in and developed a lot of my values in. I’m in love with the city and will forever be. It’s my home. I’m grateful.
And my college, another liberal hippie-dippy place, full of politically active and aware students, is the place where my views were put into discussion and conversation with others who shared similar views.
I’ve lived in a liberal bubble all my life, and it’s scary how the rest of the country is the opposite. I think about how there are still places that will judge me by my race and gender, calling me slurs and demeaning me in ways that cat-calling faced in the city cannot compare to. People all over the country want to go against America’s values, the land of the free, by building a wall and blocking immigration. They want to stop the “others” from stealing their jobs and their lands and their neighborhoods, yet these people are the same people who come into city neighborhoods and gentrify them, stealing jobs, lands, and neighborhoods away from the “others.” These people don’t want us to succeed and will go to all lengths, including violence, to stop us from doing so. And that scares me. Because being a minority and having friends that are mostly minorities puts us all in danger. But also, it makes me angry. So unequivocally angry.
Here is this candidate, unqualified and preaching to the masses with his bigotry. Speaking in blanket terms and never having concrete plans of action. And people dismiss all of this because they don’t trust the other candidate, a female who’s judged by the actions of her husband and has scandals brought against her in more extreme ways than how scandals are brought against her rival.
This is a country that hates so hard and so much against those who are different, who are not white, who are not straight cis-gendered men. And because of how close this election is, regardless of who wins, this hate became so obvious in how the country throws its support into a man who speaks from hate and corruption.
It’s 2:37 AM as I write this, and my phone just lit up with the news notification: “Donald Trump has become the 45th President, in a historic upset.”
I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m sorry we’ve come so far, only to move so backwards.
But most importantly, I’m ready to fight like hell for what I believe in.