Moving Forward

I have waited a very long time to publish this post. I began writing it the day after the election, and I’ve since been sitting on it, knowing that what I say will be public forever. I’ve gotten to a point where the mention of Trump’s name does not result in an immediate meltdown (there was such a time), so I figured now is better than never. Here’s what I wrote back in November:

***

“America is great because America is good.”

If my only information on the 2016 election were this line and the last Trump campaign ad, I would see cheese in one candidate and sincerity in the other. That line, which Clinton repeated throughout the presidential debates (in case you were hiding under a rock), seems boring, contrived, confusing (what does she even mean?). Meanwhile, Trump’s final ad promises “a new government controlled by you, the American people.”

I’ll have the second option with a side of roasted green beans, please.

For the first time since Trump began to garner popularity in the primary, I am beginning to see what his supporters see in him. He speaks clearly and confidently… sometimes. Not that Clinton doesn’t. But if I hadn’t done my homework, I might buy into the confident voice he recorded for advertisements.

I’ve come to realize that not all Trump supporters are racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic villains. But by voting for Trump they literally supported these ideals, whether they wanted to or not. Some of them intentionally supported the hatred, but I won’t survive the next four years if I continue thinking that all of them did. Trump supporters are better described—from what I’ve gathered—as frustrated, sometimes uniformed. Trump promised change.

And I’m scared of it. I have shed more tears this week than all the months since my days in honors chemistry. I can only hope that Trump won’t be as bad as I think he’ll be. I hope he won’t make the country any more hateful than he already has. I also hope Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays on the bench for four more years.

Waking up to the results of the election Wednesday morning, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I felt like the country had turned against everyone except rich, straight white males. But most white women supported Trump, too. The data isn’t yet conclusive, but it looks like fewer millennials showed up to vote than in 2012. I really want to blame Gary Johnson supporters, especially those in Florida, for handing the White House to Trump, but it won’t do any good. Some say Bernie would have won, and as much as I’d love for Bernie to be this country’s cool Jewish socialist grandpa, living in the subjunctive is only a temporary way of escaping reality.

Trump will be president for the next four years. By the end of his first term, he will have been president for one-fifth of my life. Four years is a long time! Four years ago I thought UGGs were cool. I still used the phrase “in conclusion” in my papers. I woke up at 4:30 every morning to go running. I really loved cheese. A lot can change in four years.

WHO DECIDED IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO PUT A MAN WHO HAD TWITTER TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM IN CHARGE OF OUR NUCLEAR CODES?

Yeah, it’s going to an uphill battle.

***

More than a month has passed, and the world has exhaled long and deep. I’m so sick of politics. I wish the Obamas could stay in the White House so we could try this all over again in four years. But wishing won’t accomplish anything. We are, as Hillary Clinton said, stronger together. We need to keep that in mind as we continue to fight for what we believe in.

Perhaps the biggest thing I got out of this is a newfound appreciation for Mitt Romney.

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