I will remember last night for the rest of my life. I will forever remember, sitting in front of the TV, in a dark common room in my dorm in the middle of Maine, watching as our country showed its true colors. Sitting alone watching this American tragedy unfold in real time, only interrupted by the periodic yells of “Trump Train!” in the distance. As the results just kept on coming in, worse and worse, I tried to make sense of what was happening. I tried to wrap my head around the fact that just eight short years ago I sat in my living room with my family watching America elect our first Black president. Now here I am watching the election of his successor - a man endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan.
The more time I sit and think, the more I realize that I’m not as upset right now as I thought I should be. I keep waiting for that wave of hurt, anger and despair, but honestly I don’t think it's coming. The thing is, this is not a surprise. Last night, I did not learn anything about my country that I and so many other members of minority communities did not already know. At least half of the country does not care about us. If you did not believe that before, today that cold hard fact is hitting you like a ton of bricks. Chances are, if you are Black, Mexican, Muslim, LGBTQ, chances are there is someone in your life, either an acquaintance or a friend, that went into the voting booth last night and “told” you that they do not care about you. This goes beyond policy differences, make no mistake about it. For so many people, last night was life or death. We will have to live with the consequences to come for generations. Even though I’m not surprised I am scared. Scared of what is to come. Scared of the hate that we experienced throughout this election cycle, and the increase in hate that is to come.
Last night I kept wanting to get up and turn the TV off, to try and put myself out of my misery. I did not. I sat through it, and I hope everyone else did as well. We needed to watch that. We needed to bare witness to our American Horror Story in real time. We needed to see and feel where our country “is”. We need to feel that hopelessness.
Moving forward I am determined to combat this hopelessness that I feel right now. I’d encourage everyone in my generation to do the same. This is a stunning blow to many. This is a DEVASTATING blow to many. There will be lives lost as a result of this, but we can’t give up and we cannot give in. We have to do everything we can to excel and create platforms for ourselves and for others to organize, inspire, and effect change. This will be a marathon, not a sprint. Unfortunately it will get darker before we see the light again, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that we WILL see the light again. My generation has the power to create the space for this light. We have four years to organize and mobilize ourselves to set change in motion. This is not our country right now, that much is clear, but it can be. Make no mistake, when I say it can be OUR country I mean POC, LGBTQ, Muslims, Immigrants, and all those that reject the blatant hate and bigotry that owns our country right now.