At 3 AM this morning, I held one of my best friends in my arms while he sobbed, cradling his face in his hands. “I love this country so much. This is not what we deserve.” Then he looked straight at me: “As a white male, I am so sorry.”
It was supposed to be a night of celebration: the drinks, a fruity concoction we were calling “Killary,” were flowing, and the room was smeared red and blue. There were posters of Donald Trump’s scrunched, tangerine-like face Photoshopped into bizarre movie scenes plastered all across the walls. And there was us. We were confident, we were hopeful. The highest glass ceiling was about to be shattered by the woman I idolized as a child, so would everyone bring protective gear to guard ourselves against falling shards?
But as CNN tallied votes into the late hours of the night, it felt like the air was being vacuumed out of the room. As I looked around bleary-eyed, I saw the fallen faces of my friends. And what a diverse collection of upset it was—all types of people from all corners of the earth with anger, sadness, fear in their faces. An LGBT Latino international student with tears in his eyes, mourning the death of the progressive United States that the rest of the world looked at as an example. A black woman exclaiming she was more fearful in this moment than any other in which yet another black face was vilified on the news. And as the polls drew to a close, I watched my friends slowly file out of the room, confused and distraught. Some of us couldn’t bear to watch it till the end, some of us stayed glued to the screen until almost sunrise. But matter who it was or what they were doing, we were all afraid.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up every couple of hours to “President Trump” emblazoned everywhere like a nasty scar. I had nightmares of a future fueled by bigotry, one in which I will have to teach my children to combat certain discrimination. fell asleep in tears and woke up with them still rushing out of my tear ducts. As a queer woman of color and daughter to immigrants, I feel terrified in my own country. I’ve never felt so unsafe in my own body, unsure of my own identity, nor unwelcome in my own country. My country has decided that I need to be white and male in order to be seen as an equal human being that is entitled to the rights and protections that are supposed to be guaranteed to me by the constitution. If your vote is your voice, America is screaming intolerance in all forms—and above all, hate. Last night, my country declared that it did not want my melanin, my culture, my entire identity. Donald Trump’s divisive politics exposed the nation that raised me for its ugly truth.
For the part of America that is happy with the Trump win, I understand if you are celebrating. But realize that if you speak to me, I will not see the economic policies you voted for, but the blatant racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia and evil that you have the privilege of ignoring and condoning for the sake of partisan politics -- and don’t even mention emails. Let me and everyone else grieve.
I have been combing my social media feeds all day for some solace in this time of terror. And I am finding comfort in the outpouring of love and understanding that I am witnessing. I have been met with love by so many friends and even strangers. And in the face of all that is happening, I still love my country, and I still love my people. And now, more than ever, we have to band together to overcome this collective hurt that has overwhelmed the nation, and cure it of its toxic intolerance. For all the POC, women, Muslims, disabled people, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people in this country- you are loved, no matter what it seems like right now.
I’m still with Her, I’m still with America, I’m still with you. After all, we are Stronger Together.