November 09, 2016

The morning after

I'm having a hard time processing yesterday's events. The only thing I keep thinking about is how scared I am about what's going to happen next to my friends and people I care about: the Latino, LGBTQ, African-American, and Native communities. I'm worried about women's healthcare and reproductive rights. I'm worried about global militarization, the world economy, and the Earth. I'm ashamed and embarrassed that we'll be forced to carry the stain of a Trump-Pence administration when we travel abroad or want our work to be taken seriously on an international stage.

The thing that's most baffling is that the people who voted for Trump aren't going to be the ones who benefit from his administration's policies. In fact, I'm pretty sure their lives are about to get much worse.

Me, I accept reality and eventually I'll be fine. Like my friend's daughter says: "You get what you get and you don't get upset." But I've been thinking a lot about privilege, because it's a word that's been thrown around in this election cycle on a daily basis. I know I'm privileged. I have plenty of master's degrees, my family is very supportive, I'm very lucky to live in a very particular Manhattan media bubble, I have transferable career skills, international credentials and experience, and I happen to be a race that Trump hasn't really gone after and vilified (yet). So I know how to cope: If I just put my head down and immerse myself in my work and cat videos, ignoring all political and world news for the next four years, I should be fine. In fact, I'll probably make out pretty well under Trump's new tax "plan".

What makes me angry is that the result of this election has put us all on the defensive. I can't comprehend how a showdown between good and evil—between a woman who was eminently qualified and wanted a job for all the right reasons and a man who is completely unqualified and wants a job for all the wrong reason—ended up this way. So now I'm teetering on the precipice of becoming a bitter separatist who wishes we could draw national borders around all the red states and split the country in two (because: fine, congrats, you won, good luck to you, you really don't know what's coming, the new administration you've elected doesn't care about you in the least, now go fend for yourselves without the blue states' wealthiest cities, diversity and international communities, creative hubs, technology and innovation). I hate feeling this way.

Republicans and conservatives call Democrats and liberals "bleeding hearts" for a reason—because we try to vote with a conscience, for the greater good, and not just with our own selfish interests in mind. Liberals are liberal—we're not trying to get you to fall in line with one straight-and-narrow prescribed path. You don't need to look a certain way, behave a certain way, or live your life just like me in order for me to advocate for you, your freedom, rights, and civil liberties. But Trump voters want to strip these things from people who don't look like them, love like them, worship like them, or speak their language—and what's crazy is that, as it turns out, so many Americans are full of blind hatred, and they won. In the process of winning, though, they've burgled their own house and will have to live with punishing economic consequences, rollbacks on civil liberties, and healthcare fallouts for four years now and a generation of ramifications to come.

I think some of the most heartbreaking stories to come out of the Clinton defeat so far are the stories about children. Even small children know that Trump is a disgrace. One of my friends says his little daughter cried herself to sleep last night because she was afraid it wouldn't be safe for girls to go outside anymore because our new president believes that it's OK to molest women.

I don't know what to do anymore.