On Tuesday, I had been sitting on Locust Walk selling shirts that said THE PUSSY GRABS BACK! I had hoped that the pussy would no longer need to grab back. I had hoped that the Trump shirts that I designed, that WE ARE WATCHING had produced, that these shirts would be completely irrelevant at the end of the night, that we would all go to sleep and wake up in a world where Trump was rendered irrelevant.
Flashback: last night, three AM and the newsroom is almost deserted and people have mostly gone home. The past hours of furious work preceded by optimism fading into pessimism are now only a memory. I go home, because life still goes on and I have to sleep because tomorrow is class and work and conversation and at the moment all of this seems pointless: what is the use of trying, if, in the end, bigotry and ignorance still triumph? I open Facebook — because who at penn isn’t on facebook — and scroll through inch after inch of posts expressing disappointment, shock, mourning. People fear for their safety, people fear for the safety of others, people condemn those who voted for Trump. Facebook activism is usually only preaching to the choir — doubly so in this case, I see no dissenting opinions. All express shock and dismay. So, man. We, us high and mighty liberal intellectuals, us students at the ivy league privilege east coast institute, we didn't know this country at all, did we. This isn't the america we thought we live in. The cultural divides, the xenophobia, they run a lot deeper than we expected — rip off the veil of progressivism and we see the same shit from half a century ago starting back at us in the face.
Or perhaps we didn’t think, except in the abstract, of the jobs that were lost, the country’s decline, how it must feel to think you have no options and have no faith in the government and here is a candidate who promises you everything you think you have lost.
Still, it's telling that Trump won, even if many wouldn’t outwardly repeat his rhetoric. Regardless of personal belief, voting for trump kind of does state that someone supports a racist, sexist xenophobe — or at least they believe that these things are okay traits for a president to have. Then again, I think the mores interesting thing however is the fact that this was so unexpected, and that more than anything speaks to the fact that we at Penn dismissed him as joke, that we in the media dismissed him as a joke, that now we’re eating our words and stumbling in how we’re going to treat and react to a Trump presidency.
Will it be disastrous? End of the world apocalypse fires? Well. Hopefully not, likely not. The president is kept in check: the american branches of government were theoretically constructed with checks and balances to keep everything idiot-proof. But a Republican-controlled congress under Donald Trump, along with his ability to appoint at least one — maybe more — Supreme Court judge concerns me. More than that, I worry about what message we’re sending both domestic and internationally: that success will come, even if you are bully, sexist, racist, xenophobic and small minded, that men do not suffer repercussions after committing sexual assault. I worry that many of the progressive advances we’ve made will be undone. I worry for my LGBTQ friends, my female friends, my international friends.
But surprise is no excuse for giving up. Get up. There is work to be done. Don’t let the bastards get you down.