In my 4 brief years in the United States, I've come to love its entrepreneurialism, its unbridled intellectualism, its celebration of individuality and the diversity it entails, its acknowledgement of global crises, and its almost naive conviction that it will be the one to overcome them.
I learnt about that America from you guys - the small and privileged circle of people I've had the fortune to call friends and inspirations.
Tonight, I also learnt that what I knew was only a fraction of America. I learnt that there is yet a silent majority in this country that openly votes for, tolerates, and stands for xenophobia, misogyny and bigotry. I learnt that there is a majority that still believes climate change is a hoax. I learnt that there is a disenfranchised and angry majority easily swayed by demagoguery, strengthened by the those who had the privilege to move history in the better direction but failed to act in their solipsism and indifference.
This majority could very well be the victims of a radically globalizing economy, angry masses who have seen zero to negative real income growth in the decade leading up to a devastating economic crisis.
They could be a disenfranchised group that has decided to place their faith in a strong white man to be the conduit of their disillusionment. A group, who in their frustrations with the bureaucracy of their government, chose to believe in someone unconventional and bombastic.
They could be a segment that is under-educated, or one that chooses to overlook the rationality bestowed upon them by the gift of education in order to honor their political allegiance.
Regardless of who "they" are, it's no doubt that their actions have contributed to the increased marginalization of those who are already victims of prejudice. Victims' whose struggle I won't ever come close to understanding.
At the same time, it's all too easy to raise our pitchforks, raise our voices and forget that this silent majority exists for a reason. Many of them could very well be victims of economic struggle in an increasingly global work force. Hard-working people who chose to overlook the abundant, despicable flaws of a prospective leader in desperation. People whose very real anger and fear are unfortunately exploited by a ruthless opportunist.
What I can say about tonight as a political issue will probably add no more value to your life than what the next guy with a laptop and internet access can say.
What I can relate to is that tonight - and the past few months - were a reflection of how easily we submit to fear in times of turmoil and anger. Fear of those that are different, of those who aren't like us. Of how easily we fall prey to the exploitation of these fears by those ruthless enough to do it.
This is democracy manifested.
Castigating voters who chose to exercise their democratic right only aggravates this fear. I think it's high time to take a good hard look at the society that engendered these bottled-up sentiments, particularly when some of us are still bearing the bitter aftertaste of what happened in the U.K. just a few months ago.
As a 22-year-old college student who's not even from this country, I may not know much. But like many of you I do know what it's like to be scared, and how especially easy it is to resort to the binary views of "us" versus "them" in times like these.