The news broke on CNN around 11:50 on Tuesday night, Donald Trump will be our 45th president of the United States. This shocking news surprised not only Americans but also the media. Hillary Clinton was ahead in polls leading up to the election and seemed to be the clear victor in the media.
But can we really act surprised? Can we accurately state that we are ‘shocked’ that America voted for this man over Hillary Clinton? After Trump gained attention and followers due to his harsh opinions on things like immigration, abortion and nuclear power, it is clear this man is capable of anything. In a world of police brutality, Islamophobia, homophobia and sexism, it is not shocking that America chose a candidate who has shared those opinions openly during his campaign.
It’s sad. Clinton has spent 30 years of her life in public service. There has never been a more qualified president. She was endorsed by every living former president and would’ve made a wonderful president. It’s shocking she did not win. What is not shocking is that a underqualified, ignorant man won over her. I like to believe we live in a country of opportunity, a country where everyone is treated as equal. But what I have seen over the past 17 years proves me wrong. We are not a country of equality, we are a country of the people. Sadly, so many people don’t understand their privilege, therefore letting things like this election happen and getting away from the idea of having a more progressive country.
For some of us, this is far to familiar. Don’t tell the young women in your life that this doesn’t matter. Don’t go to the LGBT+ community and explain how they will be OK. Don’t try desperately to explain to a sexual assault victim that all of his accusers are liars. Don’t even think about comforting anyone of color or Islamic faith and try to say this is OK. It’s not. Even in four years when there is another election and maybe even a different president. We are still citizens of a country that elected this man. We are friends, peers and family with people who support this type of behavior in our country.
But it’s not over. Just as President Obama said yesterday morning to Buzzfeed News, “The sun will rise in the morning.” We don’t know what the next four years will hold. I cannot write to you saying everything will be OK, because for so many people who worked so hard, it will not. Show the people in the LGBT+ community that you love them. Surround yourself with powerful thinkers and rebellious minds who see the flaws in our government and take a stand because of it. This election was a pause in the progression we have seen in the last eight years, but our fight has never been more important.