I am a woman.
I am mentally ill.
I am bisexual.*
I am poor.
I am terrified.
I am terrified because the true America has been revealed. For many on campus, this election was a joke. This election was still funny until 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, when I voted. This election was no longer funny when my mom called me around 10:30 p.m., asking if I was watching the same thing she was.
My mother works at a school. She works with English as a Second Language students. She speaks Spanish to students who have left Mexico for their own safety. She teaches English to these students’ relatives so they can function in this incredibly privileged world. She is terrified.
She is terrified because we live in rural, small town America. We live five minutes away from where Paul Ryan lives. We have run into him at the park, at the 4-H fair, at school. While Ryan openly opposed Trump throughout the campaign, many from my farm town did not look past party labels to realize Trump does not stand for the same issues Ryan does. Many, like my uncle, had their “fingers crossed!” that both would win. And they did. And I am terrified.
I am terrified because my 11-year-old brother doesn’t have a solid male role model in sight. His father—yes, we have different fathers—is out of the picture. The “most powerful man in the world” will soon be a sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic orange monstrosity. The most important man from our hometown area does not believe in women’s reproductive rights, gay rights, immigrant rights and a myriad of other basic human rights.
How am I to expect the children of the future to thrive when the violence of the past seems so imminent? How am I to expect myself to focus on the pain of others when I myself am so personally devastated?
If you didn’t know, I am the Editor-in-Chief of this newspaper. This means I am a leader on campus. A female leader. A female leader with an “unconventional” leadership style; I listen. I collect every group member’s point of view and carefully consider the best option for everyone. I am not quick to judge and I am not very vocal. But I am qualified and I am competent. Hillary is, too.
Hillary is a listener. She is careful and considerate. She is empathetic. She is unbelievably qualified and competent. She is my hero, a personification of my aspirations. She is my role model.
This election devastated me to my core. I understand that a Hillary presidency would not be ideal for everyone. I understand the implications of white feminism. But where does comparing one another’s pain get us? For me, I saw so much of myself and so much of what I wanted to be in her. With these results, I am grieving a part of myself I only recently began to love. A part that I was confident in because Hillary told and showed me I could be empowered in my womanhood.
I am heartbroken, but I am not done. This loss only proves to me how much work there is to be done. And through this election my privileges have been highlighted. Most notably, my whiteness and education give me an upper hand in this fight towards true equity. I have tools that will allow me to reach those who need to hear how wrong they are. I have knowledge that will allow me to say these things in an accurate manner.
Regardless, I am terrified.
*I guess this is my coming out. No better place to do it than in my beloved Lawrentian.