I pushed around some nachos on my plate and tried to tell myself that everything would be ok. It was about 9:00pm on election night, and Trump was leading in electoral votes. Not enough to predict what the outcome of the election would eventually be, but enough to make me a little bit nervous. “Feeling pretty good about the fact that I have an Irish passport right now,” I said to my boyfriend, who was sitting at the bar with me watching the election results come in. I said it jokingly, completely unaware that in just a few hours, Canada’s immigration website would crash and the reality of Donald Trump as a president would sink in.
A few hours earlier, I was sitting in the library working on a presentation for the next day. I wasn’t paying much attention to the election results: it was still early, and everything and everyone around me indicated that I had no need to worry about the election. It was only when my boyfriend texted me to ask how the election was looking that I googled “election results” and saw for the first time that Trump was ahead. “It looks bad right now, but it’s just because only the results from Southern states have come through so far, and we knew Trump would win those. She’ll probably take the lead in a little bit,” was what I texted my boyfriend along with a picture of the map of the US, the middle part of it covered in red.
Later that night, as I started to get worried at the bar, my boyfriend reassured me: “There’s no way. Why are you even worrying?” We didn’t have any concrete reason to think this, but we believed in it. I had just spent the weekend with my father, whose opinion I value more than just about anyone’s. He called Trump a “maniac” and acknowledged the support he has in America but said that there was no way he would be elected. My father has never voted Democrat in his entire life, and on the Monday before the election, he cast his ballot for Hillary Clinton. I reminded myself of my father’s words as the votes continued to roll in. Maybe I’m more naive than I realized.
I woke up the next morning feeling like someone had died. I managed to stay up until around 12:45 am, when Hillary’s chance to win relied on Philadelphia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. I knew it was looking bad, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep once they had officially announced that Donald Trump was our new president. I had work at 9 the next morning and needed to sleep, so I shut off the TV. I felt disgusted and afraid. I shut my eyes and prayed to God to please pick the right candidate for our country. I’m a Catholic, but I don’t regularly pray. But as I saw Trump’s number of electoral college votes rise and rise, I could think of nothing else to do.
I felt my phone buzzing underneath my head the entire night, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at it. I couldn’t bear to read the CNN and New York Times notification that informed that a racist, sexist, mysoginistic man who had spent his entire campaign bringing other people down was my new president.
I have never felt ashamed of being American. I have never truly felt ashamed of my country, despite some of the horrible things that have happened in my lifetime here. The next morning, my boyfriend, who is from India and quite proud of the bushy beard he’s been growing for the last month, joked to me that “Now that Trump’s president, I’ll have to shave off this beard.” I laughed for a split second before feeling a sharp pang of sadness. I was ashamed of my country.
I don’t know what more proof we need that the accomplishments of women, no matter how smart and qualified they are, will continue to be overshadowed by men. Today, America took about 50,000 steps backwards. My journalism professor told me later that day that “as a woman, [i] would have less control over my body than ever before.” My accomplishments, my salary, and my body are at the whims of the government. Two white males are going to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body.
The day Trump was elected, I watched people openly weep on the subway. One of my peers teared up as she asked our professor, “what now? Where do we go from here?” I exchanged soft, sad smiles with random women on the street. My professor ended class that day by telling us to go home and be with people — that we shouldn’t be alone during a time like this. We had to be with friends and try to remember why we love this city so much.
I felt the same way the day that Trump was nominated president as I did the days after the Boston marathon bombing. People talked to each other very carefully and my teachers reminded me that they were always there if I wanted to talk. The entire Greater Boston Area smiled at each other a little bit more: in a sad, commiserative way. The Boston marathon bombings injured over 250 people and killed 3. I should not be reminded of this day on the day my country elects a new president.
I want to raise children in a place where the leader of the country has not repeatedly made women, immigrants, LGBTQ, and people of color feel that their voice isn’t worth hearing. I want my little girl — if I have one — to grow up knowing that her voice matters just as much as all the men and she is beautiful and strong. I want my little boy — if I have one — to know that he is strong and capable and to accept people who are different from him. I feel so grateful I don’t have any children to explain trumps candidacy to.
My boyfriend called his friend to speak to him about the election the day Trump was nominated. Through his half Gujarati, half English conversation I caught the following bits of phrases: “US super power” and “US is a joke.” The night before, when I knew Trump would be elected, I asked my half asleep boyfriend if he would stay in US with me even though trump would be our leader. I know I would think twice about it if I were him. He told me “of course I will” and went back to sleep, while my mind nervously tried to come to terms with a Trump presidency.
Over the next 4 years, my voice will be silenced. My boyfriend’s, as an immigrant and a brown man, voice will be silenced. So many of my best friends, as people of color and various sexualities, will have their voices silenced. But you can be damn sure we aren’t going down without a fight.
It’s November 9, 2016 and Donald Trump has been the announced president for less than 24 hours. But just 30 blocks uptown from me, outside the Trump Towers, are people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, sexualities, and socio-economic backgrounds that are protesting and fighting for our rights. My voice might be silenced, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be heard. For the next four years, I plan on loving and screaming so loud that no one has a choice but to listen. Trump’s candidacy does not mean we have to be silent. This might be a step back for America, but this is not the end for us. I will hang on to the faith I have for my country with everything I’ve got. This is a country worth fighting for, filled with people that are willing to fight. So let’s fight together.