Donald Trump Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable. Let’s Talk About It.
It’s been a somber two weeks. The votes have been counted and the decision has been made and come January we will have a new Commander in Chief. This one comes in the form of a TV personality who used to sit at an expensive-looking conference table and frown at people on NBC. I’m not ready. I don’t want to get out of bed.
I’m embarrassed by the outcome of this election. And I’m angry. And I’m saddened by the prospect of feeling heard. For a moment women felt as if our voices might actually transcend our tiring everyday conversations about abuse and inequality and sexism. The hope glimmered that these concerns could make their way to the White House. That our issues would matter. That someone holding the highest office could authentically understand.
It’s inconceivable to me that we as a country elected somebody like him: somebody who not only scoffs at unwanted sexual advances but commits them, somebody who degrades everyone who is the slightest bit different from him. I don’t need to rehash that lengthy list of offensive behaviors. We all know exactly what’s on it.
You know the ugly lurks around corners. You know the hatred is always there. It’s an inherent truth that we as women know, we as members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community know, we as people of all races and backgrounds and religions know. It used to be in the shadows, in pockets, simmering, but now we have CNN reporting it to our faces. We have Fox News cheering about it. All over the internet and all across this country on televisions in our living rooms it’s being welcomed into normal dialogue because a man with a loud enough voice towered on stage after stage and told people it’s okay.
What did the Republican Party vote on? Supreme Court nominees? The harsh ebb and flow of this economy? More likely they voted under the false belief that a billionaire real estate tycoon could somehow hear them from way up in his safe, golden penthouse.
Trump spoke to the residents of forgotten towns, places where poor people work too long for too little. I live in one of those towns, so I have a clear, strong understanding of his audience and why they’re receptive to his bite-sized messages, and for a while in the very, very, very beginning of his campaign I could partially understand the bare-bones appeal. Then time passed.
What did his audience hear that drove them to the polls? More jobs, a better economy. Hey, we’ll be so strong. Trust me. It was purely bravado-based, yet when spoken in those clear-cut statements and tones of anger it rang true to people looking for immediacy and looking for an advocate. My frustration comes from the fact that nothing he said in the following months convinced them that he wasn’t qualified or that he had dangerous points of view on a multitude of issues. My sadness comes from the fact that people showed up nationwide in support of those views.
Now, I hear you, Internet, and here’s the answer. Am I upset because I’m an entitled millennial who sees herself as “a special little snowflake?” No, angry people who scream in viral iPhone videos, it’s not. Is it because I can’t handle that my side of the fight “lost” as conservatives speculate? Nope, not that either. I’ve heard the criticisms in all their furious glory and here, my friends, is what it boils down to.
When I look around at the people in my life that I value the most I thankfully don’t just see one type staring back at me. I see different races, different orientations, different economic backgrounds, different genders, different life experiences, and come January I fear a different way of life for each and every one of them. I also fear a different way of life for myself if I’m being honest and selfish.
As a 26-year-old woman of course I am nervous what this means for me. Under this man’s rule I will finish out my 20s. I will get married or not, have children or not, move around, settle down, or continue to fly, but hanging over my head will be the ever-present understanding that these things can be altered or hindered by a man who does not respect a woman’s choice in any capacity.
But I am privileged. My valid worries are somewhat small when compared to what people of other races and religions and orientations and [fill in anything else you want] are having to endure because of this man’s win. This much I know. I am removed from true understanding because of circumstances and characteristics that I cannot control but I wholeheartedly stand with you by choice.
There are waves in the streets, in conversations, on social media. There is hope to be found. This election did drag the deplorable out into the light of day but it also brought out the supremely divine. The phrase a rising tide lifts all boats could also pertain to social change, right? That’s what I like to believe. There was a time when I didn’t want to get out of bed, yes, but now? Now I’m up and I’m movin’. My eyes are open and I am so awake.