I fell asleep while watching the news late Tuesday night. I was nervous and worried and flat out exhausted. When I woke on Wednesday morning, I was afraid to touch my phone, to read the news. I texted a friend and expressed my worry. “You’ll cry. Don’t check,” she replied. I stared at the glowing screen for a few moments, stricken with disbelief. How? How was this possible?! I thought. And then, the tears came—and there were a lot of them. I was angry. I was devastated. I was so afraid for my future as a woman in this country, something I had never before felt so deeply.
Every time I thought I would stop crying, I thought of the children whose families would be deported. The children who were finally believing that it was safe and good to come out or transition. The children who don’t see a different between black or white, Muslim or Christian, native or foreign, because they are all just people. The girls who have not yet learned how horrible the world, particularly men, can be. I thought of the girls who believed women could do anything—like fight evil with kindness and hope, and win—and my heart broke. What do we tell those children now?
“That’s what writers do. We put pen to paper in times of devastating tragedy, and we just try to make sense of it. Maybe we’ll find clarity in some of those words. Maybe we’ll find peace.” – Haley James Scott, One Tree Hill
The tears that poured down my face for hours on Wednesday were hardly a surprise. I am a very emotional person. If I get even the tiniest bit worked up about something, my eyes brim with tears. If I get too happy, I will cry too. (You know exactly what I’m talking about if you have ever been around when I see a dog.) But I am a writer, and putting pen to paper is how I handle my emotions best. After Tuesday’s election, all of the annoying talk about politics was supposed to settle down—for a few weeks at least. So, yeah, I already know that you’re tired of reading articles and blogs and social media posts from a bunch of millennials about why everyone is so upset.
And you know what? I’m tired too. I’m tired of seeing so many people in this country hurt and afraid. I’m tired of worrying about how I and my friends and so many people I have never met will survive the next four years. I’m tired of people defending this country’s choices and actions. I’m tired of hearing people complain that we are upset. I’m tired of them trying to trivialize our pain.
It’s been four days since the election, but this is just the beginning. We are still sad, angry, and confused. Aside from a highly unqualified man winning the majority of electoral votes, and the right to lead this country, we are faced with the knowledge that 60 million people voted for hate. Sixty million people voted against women, black people, Latinx, Native people, Muslims, LGBTQ+, disabled people, and nearly every other minority group in this country. They chose a person who has been repeatedly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, a Christian terrorist group that, yes, is still active in America. If you were one of the 60 million people who voted for that man, whatever your reasons were, that is exactly what you voted for.
“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is. It is worth it.” – Hillary Clinton
Now, our only choice is that we must move forward. My sadness is still immeasurable. But I will not let those 60 million people tell me who to love or trust or befriend. I will not let them push me toward fear or hatred. I am disappointed in these people’s choices, but I will still meet them with basic respect, because that is how I was raised as a human being. As much as I would like to pack up all of my things and run away to Canada, I will stay and fight. If you believe in the unalienable rights—of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—we are guaranteed in this country, then you should too.
Please believe that fighting for what is right is always worth it. Please believe that you can fight evil with kindness and hope. Please believe that you can win that fight. And somewhere along the way, maybe we’ll find the peace we are all looking for.