I’m not going to lie to you. This election has jarred me. I have so many feelings that I’m not sure what to do with. If you’re already rolling your eyes and wishing I’d accept things, move on, and stop whining, you might want to skip this post. I won’t be mad at you and I hope you won’t be mad at me. Because sometimes I need to sort out my feelings in the best way I know how: writing them down.
There are so many feelings swirling around my unsettled guts that I honestly don’t even know where to start.
Embarrassed that I was so out of tune with a country I thought I knew well (and, if I’m honest, I feel a little bit guilty about that too). Embarrassed that, though nervous, I thought I knew where the chips would fall. Embarrassed that I was duped by the polls. Embarrassed that I had hope. Embarrassed that I’m embarrassed by my own hope. The list just goes on and on.
I don’t know if it’s the New York bubble that I live in, but I truly believed that I understood how my fellow Americans saw the world. I know that not everyone agrees with my very liberal point of view. I don’t expect everyone to and I don’t think I’m superior to anyone who thinks differently than me. We’re all entitled to our opinions. I just assumed that more people in this country would not tolerate racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.
And don’t mistake that statement for name calling or generalizing or whatever else. I’m not wading into those murky waters. But one thing is absolutely inarguable: if you voted for Trump, you are willing to tolerate all of those things. Whether it’s because you agree with all of the words that came out of his mouth or because you were hoping to achieve a greater good, voting for Trump means you are willing to put up with all of that. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t realize that was a possibility.
Terrified that the racists and homophobes and misogynists will take Trump’s victory as permission to be vile. Terrified that women’s rights will be set back fifty years. Terrified that my LGBTQ friends and family members will lose the rights they fought so hard for. Terrified that people who have lived in and worked in and loved this country for all of their lives will feel like outsiders because of their skin color or religion. Terrified that our environment will suffer in ways that we won’t be able to repair. Terrified that Trump will lash out at the wrong world leader when he feels he’s been slighted or mistreated.
I’m terrified of so many things.
I’m really, really sad.
Sad that our country will not move in the direction I think it should. Sad that I have to reassure my daughters that everything will be ok when I’m not sure that it’s true. Sad that my daughters have to look to someone who bragged about sexually assaulting women as their leader. Sad that for the first time in my life I have absolutely no respect for the man who is going to sit in the Oval Office. Sad that his words have shown that he has no respect for me.
Then there’s the really tricky, slippery sadness that I have so much trouble putting into words. Especially words that won’t be spat back into my face and twisted into me “voting with my vagina.”
Let me be clear. I did not vote for Hillary Clinton because she has a vagina. I voted for her because she was more qualified, her vision for the future aligned more closely with mine and I was absolutely terrified of her opponent.
But all of that aside, I’m allowed to be sad as a woman. I’m allowed to be devastated by it. I’m allowed to cry for my daughters and all of the other little girls watching.
So I’m not going to tiptoe around it anymore.
I’m sad that a woman who worked her entire life to get to this point had the job stolen out from under her from someone completely unqualified for the job.
I’m sad that I saw a woman come so close and still not get it.
I’m sad that my daughters didn’t get to see a woman win.
I’m sad that women continue to be judged on a different scale than men.
And I’m allowed to feel all of these things without being ashamed of them. Without having my intelligence insulted by being accused of voting for my sex.
I know many of you have faces as smudged with mascara as mine. You’re sad. You’re angry. You’re terrified. But I hope you’re also just as hopeful. Hopeful that it won’t be as bad as you’re fearing. Hopeful that this will serve as a wake up call to those of us who have been lulled into complacency. Hopeful that people who want goodness to prevail will get out and get their hands dirty and be the agents of change that they wish to see.