I've come to realize that there aren't many things in this world that faze me. Sure, I get surprised here and there, but I take the surprises with stride and usually maintain control of myself and my emotions. Very few times have I been left physically and emotionally stunned about anything.
What happened last Tuesday night completely floored me.
I got to my friend's apartment to watch the 2016 presidential election with several other people that night, the same election that the majority of America and the world was watching. All of us in the apartment were telling jokes, eating snacks and talking about whatever came to mind as the election results began to trickle in. Clinton was initially down by quite a bit and we all were rolling our eyes, confident of the fact that she would catch up and surpass Trump's numbers. We all were absolutely sure that America surely wouldn't go on and elect a candidate whose political inexperience was painfully obvious and whose rhetoric throughout the campaign trail was ridiculously abhorrent. We just knew that we would be celebrating the first female president of the United States and that President Obama's legacy would be continued.
As the night went on, more and more states began to go red. There were some going blue, but it was apparent that Trump was gaining ground. As that happened, online predictors began to question Clinton's possibility of winning, which started to concern us. I was personally confident that Clinton would make a huge comeback, especially after winning California, Pennsylvania, Virginia and perhaps Florida. However, I was beginning to feel concerned about the fact that so many people actually went to the polls and voted for Trump, for he was winning a lot more states than I anticipated him winning. Well, Clinton ended up winning California, barely winning Virginia, but ended up losing Florida by a very slim margin. And after all that, Trump still got ahead. Now all of us in the room were really beginning to worry. The jokes were just about over. The impossible thought of Trump actually becoming the 45th president turned into a frightening “maybe”. The night dragged on, with the hours alarmingly drifting by. Around 1:30 AM or so, that man actually ended up clinching Pennsylvania. That's when the maddening reality began to sickeningly sink in for me. Donald Trump now had a better chance of winning the election via the electoral college than Hillary Clinton. Trump really just needed a couple more swing states and he had it in the bag. He was leading in the polls in the states he needed. The margin wasn't that slim either.
I couldn't bear to watch the election coverage any further. Neither could anyone else in the room. What was supposed to be a cheerful night with celebrations of the fact that the Trump/Pence combo would be effectively shut down turned out to be the beginning of a nightmare scenario. I wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe, there would be a drastic turn of events after I went to sleep…but my gut was telling me otherwise. It was becoming gravely clear that the man who preached bigotry, racism, xenophobia, sexism, divisiveness and hate among other things would clinch the most powerful position in this country. After a very restless night where I was tortured by my unsettling thoughts and where I ended up dreaming about the damn guy during the very little sleep I got, I woke up and looked at my phone for the overall results. My stomach dropped as I read the title of the first news article I came across:
“Donald Trump Elected 45th President of the United States of America“
The words seared through my brain as I lay there in absolute shock about what just happened. My mind then began to drift back to an article I read and shared over the summer that was written by Michael Moore, detailing how Trump would win the presidential election. I also remembered the various articles and emails I read that stated the scary possibility of waking up the morning after Election Day and reading the very statement that I bolded above this paragraph. I had told myself that that just couldn't happen and that things would be fine as long as I continued to pressure people to cast a vote. I had unwavering faith that there were more people overall who would vote against the hateful rhetoric that the Republican presidential candidate was spewing than side with him. I mean, it was obvious to see the kind of game Trump and his allies were trying to play on the American people; drag Hillary Clinton's name through the mud by repeatedly attacking her for those damn emails and saying that she was untrustworthy while ignoring everything else she's ever done in her life. They just used fear tactics and name-calling to appeal to people that just didn't want her in office, the majority of these people being white, uneducated males. Sure, Clinton isn't perfect and has definitely made mistakes. Sure, the Democratic party has some flaws. But you mean to tell me they're so flawed that we just HAD to put someone like Trump in power?? You talking about flaws, the Republican party is in freakin' shambles! Trump himself is very seriously flawed!! SMFH. The scary thing I never really anticipated is, there are a huge number of educated people that ended up voting for Trump as well, even if they outwardly said they were disgusted with what he had to say. It awes me to watch how these same Trump supporters refuse to face the fact that the nominee they support is much more untrustworthy than Hillary Clinton and has a long history of being very wishy-washy. Hell, the things he's done within the past couple of months alone should be enough to appall these people who want “someone they can trust”. Trump has even said he likes to keep people IN SUSPENSE!! But yet, his supporters voted for him and he is now the president-elect of the United States.
The day following the election, I was more depressed than I had been in a very long time. I really tried to just bury myself in my studies to avoid thinking about what the election meant for the country. With the Trump/Pence combo elected and the Republican party in control of both the House and Senate, the future was really looking bleak for this country, especially since we have been having such a progressive surge these past eight years. Sure the Republicans barely have control of the Senate and sure there may be a system of checks and balances between the moderate Republicans and the extreme right-wing. That doesn't change the fact that 60+ MILLION AMERICANS SUPPORTED the rhetoric and policies that Donald Trump proposed to the world. OVER SIXTY MILLION AMERICANS. This means that roughly half of the people who voted in this election decided to support the platform that promoted hate, racism and divisiveness over progressiveness. I don't care how anyone that voted for Trump/Pence tries to spin it so that they can make themselves feel better about their decision; you voted for hate. The fact that so many people let this happen infuriates me. By the way, you know what happened the last time the Republican party was in full control of the government? Ding Ding Ding! You got it! THE GREAT DEPRESSION. What a hell of a fun fact. What makes everything sting even more was the fact that Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote…so more people voted for Clinton, yet Trump gets the presidency. What a democracy. To tell the truth, I'm just as concerned about Pence being in power, because I feel that he's almost as bad, if not as bad, as Trump is…except he's experienced in politics and knows how to keep his mouth shut. Which means that once he's in power, he can make powerful moves that can really shift the course of this country…echoing the whole Bush/Cheney dynamic we had in the 2000s. Just think about that.
Days have passed since the election and now I'm not depressed or even devastated anymore. I'm just pissed. I've had time to vent, reflect and think about what has transpired recently and how some people around me just can't seem to realize what exactly they're advocating for by voting for Trump. White privilege is real man. Ignorance is very real, and is extremely bliss. I'm ashamed and embarrassed to be part of a country that elected an extremely entitled, wealthy, & selfish businessman/TV celebrity who puts divisiveness over togetherness, hate over love, racism over inclusion, fear over trust, xenophobia over acceptance, terror over calmness; the list goes on and on. This guy beat out an extremely qualified candidate who stands for everything that Trump doesn't stand for…who just so happens to be a woman. Donald Trump is the definition of white privilege. Good luck trying to convince me otherwise. I've gathered myself together since Tuesday and also had a pretty good weekend, but I'm still upset overall. I'm an optimistic guy and all, you know that…but I just don't see it being possible to unite a country under someone who stands for divisiveness. When the Ku Klux Klan is parading in celebration of a presidential election, it just HAS TO BE OBVIOUS that we are facing a very serious problem. Also, Trump's 100-day plan is not going to help unite this country AT ALL.
There's SO MUCH MORE I could say about this, but I think I've got my point across pretty clearly. I've vented long enough. If I've learned anything about this whole spectacle, it's that I can never assume anything about anybody or anything ever again. If Donald Trump was able to make it to the White House as the 45th president of the United States, anything is possible. There are many unsettling beliefs that are held by many people in this country, and the support of those beliefs clearly showed last week. There have also been an increasing number of attacks on marginalized populations by hateful people who feel entitled by the results of this election.
It feels like we're living in a nightmare. Like, we're that alternate universe that we all like to joke about.
It's absolutely terrifying.
At the end of the day, I just can't bring myself to just sit back and accept the fact that Donald Trump and Michael Pence will be in charge of this country over the next four years of my life, especially after having being blessed with President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden over the past eight years of my life. I refuse to be complacent about these election results. I'm very aware that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Action needs to be taken.
Something is going to happen. I don't know what it's going to be or when it'll take place, but something drastic is going to happen as a result of this election.
May God be with us all.
“If you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything.“
– Black Man, M.D.
P.S. – I didn't even talk about how the new government will begin to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act! Mannn don't even get me started about all this again…I got four tests to study for that I'm taking before Thanksgiving. Let me go ahead and post this before I begin writing a novel.