I woke up this morning, November 9th 2016, and was frantically aware of the bubble I have been living in for 17 years. I live around people who all believe in the same thing, who all want the same things and who only accept these beliefs. This country is divided beyond my comprehension. We were wrong; the polls failed us.
People are angry, people hate the system, people came out to vote in numbers no one predicted. The electoral college made a decision. The thing that Democrats—and many Republicans—have feared since the primaries has become a reality: Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America.
It is a sad day to be a woman. Yesterday there was no doubt in the minds of many that we, as a nation, would be electing the first woman president. Women were ready and waiting to close the wage gap, ready to no longer live in a man’s world. It is hard to see that dream crash and burn. So many girls waited up all night waiting for history to be made. These same girls skipped school the next day, too upset to walk in the halls with their classmates who supported Trump. These same girls cried when Trump’s victory was announced. These same girls took to social media to express their disappointment, their sadness. My Facebook feed was filled with messages that announced that they are “Still with her” that they know that a time will come when we will see a woman become president.
Tainted with tears, I watch female friends of mine, teachers of mine, family of mine fear what is to come. I watch people whom I didn’t know cared walk down the halls crying, teachers who attempt 180 days of the year to hide their own political preferences become unable to teach due to overwhelming fear and sadness. I watch my Spanish teacher leave the classroom, too struck with emotion to teach.
They fear regression. Will women be paid less? Will abortion become illegal? Will birth control become too hard or too expensive to get? Will women mean less… will they regress back into housewives? Worst of all, will locker room banter become a regular, and accepted phenomenon? Woman feel uncertain, unsafe, they live in a different state than they did before November 8th, 2016: we simply do not know where we stand—where we will stand.
It is a sad day to be an immigrant, a minority. Once widely accepted, the people who make us what we are, fear that the place they call their home will close in on them. Many don’t know how much longer they have in this country. My mother told me today that someone of Mexican descent said to her: “I don’t know what to do. What do I tell my children? I always told my son that anyone could be president when he was little, but this is not what I meant”
Mexican-Americans now live under the doom of a wall being built between them and their home country. Muslim-Americans fear being deported because the hijabs they may wear, victims of Islamaphobia. They fear Americans turning against them. We are no longer a safe haven. We are supposed to be the place that people come, we are supposed to be THE country of immigrants. What will happen to the American dream? Will it cease to exist?
It is a sad day to be a member of the LGBT community. Not long ago same-sex marriage became legal, and now we just don’t know. We don’t know where their rights will go, what they will be. There is so much unknown, so much fear. It is a sad day for many. For woman, for immigrants, for LGBT community members. For men, for children, for old, for young. For liberals, for moderates, for conservatives. For Americans. There are two Americas today. One does not, and will not understand the other.
There is so much uncertainty. We cannot go on like we are today. These are the UNITED States of America. Today we stand as separate as I can imagine. It is a sad day for many.
By Alison Capaldi