The New America: Experiencing a candidate win who has actively spoken against you

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Donald Trump has won the 2016 presidential election. It was reported by the New York Times that Hillary Clinton had a total of 232 electoral votes while Donald Trump had 290, making him win by 58 electoral votes.

I don’t think I ever thought  that a Trump presidency was a legitimate option for America. I knew there were people who agreed with him, I knew there were people who were going to vote for him, and I knew there were people that were going to rally against me because I am minority. I did not know he was going to win Wisconsin, one of the states democrats needed, and take away one of our last chances to win.

I’ve been hearing the phrases “it’s going to be okay” and “it’s only four years” a lot in the past several days and I’m sure I’ll hear them more in the future. One thing I’m sure of is that the people telling me this don’t understand how long four years is for a bisexual black Latina under Donald Trump’s presidency.

The night of the election we had a junior lock-in in the library, to come together and watch the election with friends. The night was not smooth. With every minute that passed, my heartbeat grew quicker, and my eyes shed more tears. I was clinging onto my closest of friends and realized they’re just like me. They’re Latina, or black, or a part of the LGBTQ+ community in some way. Safety felt insanely far away. I was at a loss for words, which isn’t usual for me.

This went on for hours. Time slowly passing by, still getting no answer, not knowing what the future was going to hold for me. I layed my head against the pillow and clung onto my friends hand, interlocking our fingers as the CNN  correspondents continued to speak. Closing my eyes, I fell asleep briefly at around midnight. For 8 minutes, I felt bliss. After my short slumber someone from across the room yelled “We lost Wisconsin!” Another mumbled “Well, Trump’s president.”

Arms enveloped around me and I began to sob, forgetting that some around me have already fallen fast asleep, and didn’t know of the terrors ahead. I cried into my friend’s chest letting her rub my back as I muttered “this is not fair.” The entire thing did not feel real, and as my breathing slowed I closed my eyes and fell asleep once again. An hour later, my eyes fluttered open and I heard a slight chatter. As I sat up and stretched, my eyes began to focus on the screen in front of me which read “Donald Trump Elected U.S. President” in bold black letters. My heart stopped, and the feeling of not being able to breathe returns.

On Tuesday night, America told me I didn’t matter. On Tuesday night, America told me that as a women, I am insignificant. Even at my most qualified, a man with no redeeming qualifications could win against me . That sexual assault against my gender could be normalized and the punchline to a joke. On Tuesday night, America told me that as a Latina, I don’t belong here, and neither does my family. We don’t work hard, and we’re nothing but criminals. On Tuesday night, America told me that as a black women, the unjust murders against my people will continue to be overlooked. On Tuesday night, America told me as a bisexual that my possible future of getting married should be more difficult in comparison to a straight couple.

This election validated the racism, homophobia, and sexism people that threatens my family, friends, and myself. This election made them feel safe, and made them feel liberated. There is already a spike in hate crimes against those who don’t fit Trump’s white cis male demographic. There are already KKK groups wanting celebrating in places like North Carolina , people building mock walls between them and their hispanic peers on different college campuses like University of Illinois , and publicly talking about sexually harassing women at places like gas stations, and public streets. This is a very real thing and it hurts to know how much this not only affects me, but everyone around me.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in my future, I don’t know who’s going to feel brave when they walk past me in the streets and are against the many things that make me who I am. I don’t know if Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, will enact conversion therapy across America. I’m scared that Planned Parenthood will continue to be targeted and that I will lose access to the affordable organization that focusses on my health needs. I’m terrified about going to college under Trumps presidency, not knowing who agrees with his rhetoric on kissing women without their permission. I feel like everything I’ve done and all my hard work in accepting and being confident in myself has lead to this result, which makes it difficult to continue working.

But the day after the election I woke up, I got dressed, and I went to school. I talked more about this country, and made my voice a little bit louder. I will continue to do that day after day. I know my motivation is lacking, but I refuse to sit down and let myself be told that I do not matter. I know my worth and I know my strength. This election has impacted me, and taught me I will do anything I put my mind to.

What’s next for me is stronger than the steps back this country has taken. I will raise my voice, and do my part to educate others, and speak against the hate targeted at me. I will support those who protest against this bigotry and I will show others they can do that too. I will stay strong, and I will fight.