On November 9th, America was forever changed, as the election results came in. With Donald Trump set to be the forty fifth president of the United States, many people, including myself, are left with disbelief and outrage.
Prior to Election Day, I believed full heartedly that Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. To me, she embodied the ethos, experience, values, and policies that I felt the leader of our country needed. She had been a consistent advocate for children, disabled people, and women, and I felt she was qualified to lead. In contrast, Donald Trump united people with hatred, towards minorities such as Latinos and Muslims, as well as others. Not only did he say outrageous and offensive things, he had no experience in politics. While he tried to spin this naivete as gravitas, he remains with little to no qualifications to successfully govern our nation. He blusteringly spoke of resuming “stop and frisk policies” (which had been deemed unconstitutional), of deporting Mexicans, of stopping muslims from entering the country, and of building walls.
I believe Clinton’s campaign unified people towards the common goal of creating policies that worked for everyone, while Trump’s campaign focused on spreading hate and rallying up voters to divide the country. It was frustrating to me that Clinton and Trump were seen as moral equals, when one made a possible mistake regarding emails and the other consistently says absurdly offensive things.
All through Election Day, I was extremely optimistic and hopeful, believing that the adults of America would elect Clinton to lead this country. My friends and I worked the polls, started discussions, and rallied support for Hillary Clinton, oblivious to what was to follow.
As the polls began to close, I had a false sense of hope. I thoroughly expected Clinton to win by a vast majority. It did not even occur to me that she would lose, and I continued to converse with friends optimistically. I remained in a bubble as the states, one after another, leaned right.
At nine o’clock, all of the swing states were too close to call. There was terror coursing through my body as I anxiously listened to the news, hungry for more information. The race looked very close, a little too close for comfort for me. I expected Clinton to sweep, and I felt more nervous as the country started to turn red.
By eleven, I was in disbelief. I became more shocked as the map became redder and redder. I felt dread when Trump won the entire center of the country, and the swing states began to follow right. I watched as the NYT estimate morphed from a 70% to 80%, to 90%, to >95% chance of Donald Trump winning. By this time I became discouraged and went to bed, knowing that Trump would most likely become our new president. I still clung to the disillusioned belief that I might wake up to a Clinton victory.
When I woke up in the morning, I was horrified to find out that Donald Trump had won the presidency. He also had the support of Congress, where there was also a Republican victory. To me, this meant that the racist, misogynistic, and homophobic voices in America had triumphed. This is not to say that all Trump supporters are these things, it is more a sentiment to the majority of opinions that were heard “loud and clear” that night. Trump has openly opposed the LGBTTQQIAAP+ community, women’s rights, and the concept of climate change. I was upset that Americans gave Trump the power to potentially start wars, revoke gay rights, repeal reproductive rights for women, and reinforce intolerance.
I am disappointed in America for having elected someone who so clearly defies democracy. Vocalizing against the freedom of the press is particularly dangerous at the presidential level, as is his purporting that he alone can solve all the problems of our nation.
The future of the country remains very uncertain. Despite the antagonism of Trump’s campaign, he has the potential to do great things, and I hope he will. I believe it is very important that we stand up for the policies that support the equality and success for all individuals of our society. Just because Trump won, doesn’t mean that our voices have been silenced.
All across America thousands take to the streets to protest with the slogan #notmypresident.