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Trump Won. This is What We Lost.

This article is a compilation of anonymous contributions from college students.

 

During this divisive, long, exhausting election season, it became apparent that no matter who won the election, half the country would end up feeling disappointed, ignored, and let down. However, as we neared the end, it became even more apparent that these results were going to hurt more than feelings. Donald Trump has won the election, and for those of us who supported Hillary Clinton, we have lost more than a presidential race. This is what we lost.

 

 

As a woman, I lost hope that if I was sexually assaulted, people would believe my story. My friends who have survived sexual assault lost hope that their government will fight for increased accountability of their perpetrators. Donald Trump’s sexual assault accusations are in the double digits. Given the recording that revealed he has little regard for consent, we should all be more inclined to believe these women’s accusations. And yet, we as a nation elected him to the highest office. If accusations like these, supported by a proven history of predatory actions, cannot keep a man out of the Presidency, will they be able to keep rapists out of our classrooms? Our colleges? His election sends the message to rapists that what they have done is okay, and perpetuates the rape culture that silences survivors due to their fear of backlash and ostracization.

 

I lost the right to make decisions about my own body and my own healthcare. The divisive rhetoric Trump used in this election was neither accurate nor helpful to women. Losing my voice as a woman I realize Trump and the government won’t care about my needs nor my rights. Clinics that provide women and men with the birth control and sexual health services that they need will continue to close as men who do not understand how a period works defund Planned Parenthood and work to repeal Roe vs. Wade. Even if abortions are illegal, they will still happen, no matter the danger they pose to the women seeking them.

 

As a student, I lost faith that our system of education will improve over the next four years. Mr. Trump supports charter schools, the proliferation of which takes away funding and opportunities from public school students from lower income families. He has criticized teachers’ unions when teachers still earn a comparatively low salary and pay for supplies out of their own pockets. He will fight against debt-free college, and presumably will do nothing about the rising cost of college in this nation, even though there is a proven strong correlation between the education of a nation and that nation’s economic growth.

 

As a voter, I lost my voice and faith in the democratic system. My vote for Hillary Clinton was one of 59 million, but even though Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 200,000, without the support of the electoral college she is still no closer to becoming our first female president. The shock and confusion I felt watching her numbers rise while Trump’s electoral votes rose further still is something I will never forget. Even though I felt like I was making history voting for the first female president, now I feel hopeless and dejected, and voting in the future seems like a useless cause.

 

As a friend, I lost respect for some of my closest colleagues. Listening to them justify their vote on election day, and then having to hear them lord their “win” over my head made me realize the kind of people I have surrounded myself with. Though I’ve tried to block it out, Donald Trump has brought out the worst aspects of my friends’ personalities, and I can’t remain blind to their biased and unjust views when it comes to the kind of person that should be leading our country.

 

As a queer person, I lost the guarantee that my friends and family will still have the right to publicly love their partners at the end of the next four years. With a Republican-controlled Congress that will approve a new Supreme Court Justice and a Vice President who has publicly supported conversion therapy, a practice that routinely leads to or exacerbates mental health issues, and has led to suicides, the chance that marriage equality will not hold is high. While Donald Trump has publicly stated that he supports the queer community, using them as a campaign prop after the Pulse attack, he has also stated that marriage equality should be an issue decided at the state level – a thinly veiled implication that he thinks the Supreme Court ruling was wrong.

 

As a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, I lost faith that my fellow Americans would respect transgender people. Pence has routinely opposed laws that prevent discrimination, and he did not approve of President Obama’s executive order regarding the North Carolina “bathroom law.” He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying, “We ought not to use the American military as a backdrop for social experimentation.” In the first class I had today, one of my classmates expressed her happiness that “guys who are really guys but say they are girls won’t be able to be in my bathrooms anymore.” These are the kinds of hurtful ideas this campaign has encouraged.

 

As a daughter and a sister, I lost the men in my family. Both my father and brother voted for Trump in this election, simply because they refused to vote for Hillary. I’m ashamed and appalled that some of the most important men in my life think it’s okay to elect a man who discusses sexually assaulting women with the candor of someone who shouldn’t have even been on the ballot, much less the victor of our election. I am afraid for myself and my two younger sisters, and the world that they will have to face in the coming years.

 

As an African-American, I lost faith that our struggle for equality and justice will finally end. Trump supports the idea of “law and order” which includes stop and frisk (aka racial profiling) and the notion that police brutality and injustice does not exist towards the African-American community. The institutional racism, voter suppression (which played a huge role in this election), and discrimination is likely to continue. What’s worse? With Trump’s win, people filled with hatred for those of color including the KKK see this as a victory and the green light to spread and act on their racist hate and for it to be deemed okay.

 

As an Asian-American, I could not fathom that this was even a possibility. I lost the ability to be reassured that our future would bring together generations of people instead of tear them apart. I have become less hopeful, and more aware of how important race, gender, and sex really are and how each plays a role in whether or not you will be able to achieve anything here in the U.S. I have lost the sense of ease of waking up and not worry about all of my friends of color. Most of all I have lost, if anything, the rose-colored glasses I wore of believing change could occur this year.

 

As a proponent of small businesses, I lost confidence. Trump’s views towards small businesses are not encouraging, and as the daughter of a small business owner, I know that small businesses are vital for the health and growth of our economy. My mother is terrified that the economy will tank, and my parents have already made the decision to not hire additional help like they were planning to, simply because Trump was elected. If our new businesses, the heart of our economic growth, are scared into nonexistence, our economy will plummet into another, much more drastic, recession. Trump’s “plan,” if it can be called one at all, will benefit only the very largest of businesses, such as his own. Small businesses like mine will do their best to hold on to what they have saved and try to survive his presidency.

 

As a Democrat, I lost faith in the republic. I lost faith in my party. I have lost faith in truth, decency, and the ideals that the founders of this nation strived for, that Lincoln did his utmost to preserve, that Obama exemplified so well during his tenure in our nation’s highest office. I am white. I am straight. I am cisgender. I am male. But Trump’s America is not my America. My country fights for the meek, the abandoned, those who are trodden upon. My country gives everyone a voice, and has a place at the table for every unique perspective. My country does not shirk from challenges, it faces them by banding together and working for the common good. My country believes in the American Dream, but also acknowledges the failure of the government to facilitate achieving it. My country is filled with incredibly complex individuals who want the best future for themselves and their neighbors. We value diversity. We value kindness. We value respect. We value knowledge. We value each other. We value discourse. We value the incredible melting pot of ideals and people that drive this country forward. But right now, I’m feeling as if those should all be “dids.” Hillary Clinton might have won the popular vote, but Donald Trump won the system and soul of this nation. Systematic failure allowed this to happen and now we, the people, will be left with the pieces and few ways to fix things. I’m hollow. I’m angry. And I’m prepared to fight hard for all of my friends who lack the privilege I possess. This election has stoked the fire and defeat is simply not an option.

 

As a person and citizen of the United States, I lost my faith in human decency. While on the campaign for Hillary, Michelle Obama gave a powerful speech last month where she noted that our leader needs to “meet the basic standards of decency.” The character and soul of our now President-elect is nowhere near decent. From a campaign filled with blatant and bold racism, sexism, and bigotry, the country decided to embrace this, support it, and be proud of it. I now question the decency of our nation for this to be accepted in the year of 2016.

Our nation may be fractured, but it is still our America. To quote Mark Twain, “Remember this, take this to heart, live by it, die for it if necessary: that our patriotism is medieval, outworn, obsolete; that the modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation ALL the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.” Though we may have lost our loyalty to a government that may be “by the people” based on how half the nation voted, but is certainly not “for the people,” all the people, of the United States, we must hold tight to our loyalty to each other. We must believe in the strength of our nation to rebuild from this division. And we must fight for what we lost.

Alabama Contributor
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