I feel so small. As the numbers came in, I sat in shock, growing sick. Half of the population does not believe all should be able to marry the person they love. Half do not care about my health or reproductive rights. Half think we should repeal Obamacare. Half believe we should build a wall along the Mexican border. Half don’t mind that he once said we should kill terrorists’ families or punish women for seeking an abortion. Half do not mind that he has bragged about sexual assault. I could continue, but what it really comes down to in my mind is this: Half of our country believes all of his hatred and hypocrisy is preferable to a woman. I am trying to rise above, but I am so tired. Now, more than ever, we must stand with love and kindness.
America: We came so close, but it is not enough. Women received the vote in 1920. Aside from 18- to 21-year-olds, we were the last group of Americans to be deemed fully human in this way. We have been placed second for so long, and we have not been alone in this regard. This morning, my mom told me over the phone that she now fears she will not get to see the first female president in her lifetime. Obama was the first sitting president to endorse LGBTQ+ rights and support marriage equality. Under Trump, these fundamental rights will be put second once again. Do not let this crush you. Though I feel hopeless, I am trying to focus on our successes. Do not forget that Hillary still took the popular vote. The people stand with love and kindness rather than hate. Four years seems long, but we will make it through.
Do not be a bystander to violence. At the end of the day, Trump is just one man, but I am afraid to of his supporters. We have seen the violence of his rallies. We have heard him say that protestors should be punished. Several weeks ago, my cousin was given a concussion by a police officer arresting him for protesting. If this was the case under an administration that sought to curb violence and police brutality, what do you think will happen now? Even as I write this, I have seen Facebook posts about a gay student sent to the ER by Trump followers in Santa Monica and undocumented immigrants afraid to go to class elsewhere. This election was not about Republicans vs. Democrats. If you see something, speak up. We cannot let ourselves believe that our voices – that our votes – do not matter.
Now that it’s over, where do we go from here? I am trying to not meet hatred with hatred. I am trying not to place blame because there is such a great divide left to bridge. Still, I wonder, how can so many put this man above my and so many others’ civil liberties and human dignity? The only answer I have to this question is that we have a long ways to go in terms of battling racism and misogyny. To the people who voted independent, I am trying not to be angry. Your votes mattered. Hillary came within one percent of Trump in several key swing states. Voting provides us with the right to express our ideals, but we had so much at stake. To those who have been talking about moving to Canada or elsewhere, take a minute to think. The fact that you have the means to move internationally demonstrates that you are privileged and have a duty to stay and help us unite this country in dignity and love.
We cannot give up. To those who share in my fear, help me hold onto hope. My dad texted me this morning saying, “you are powerful and you make a difference.” Even though I feel small, even though I feel that my voice has been silenced, we must not forget our strength. I take comfort in Hillary’s concession speech even though it breaks my heart to not say acceptance speech. This morning, she said, “to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.” I feel that this country has begun a very deep descent, but perhaps we can alter that course. Let us rise; let us band together. As my nana reminded me to do this morning, it’s time to stand by our rights and our institutions. As I was too busy crying to get out of bed, she texted me that she is focused on donating to Planned Parenthood, NOW and the ACLU. Listen to Margaret Mead’s words, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We are not done.
Contact Madeline Musante at mmusante ‘at’ stanford.edu.