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A Dark Day for America

I woke up disgusted. But I’m most certainly woke.

The America I know and love is hurting — a diverse country, oozing with potential.

We moved forward for eight years. Now, we’ve leapt backwards in the course of 24-hours.

Since 12 a.m., I’ve seen the women in my life cry — all because, yet again, we’re served evidence (in the form of electoral votes) that a woman can work hard, and still fall short to a less-qualified man. My 15-year-old sister told me she’s upset to be living through this; and I, hopefully a role model to her, felt the need to send a pained text, regretfully admitting, “I’m sorry.”

I truly am sorry — because my beautiful, innocent sister will live out her introduction into a much-less-welcoming world under the leadership of a man who gained his leadership through demoralizing young women no different than she.

I hear the words “pig,” “slob”, “not a ten,” “flat-chested” on repeat — juxtaposed to the faces of my grandmother, mother, sister and friends. Their worth, astronomical. His ignorance, immeasurable.

I think of the suffragists, who would have given their lives to see a female president.  And, while we can argue credentials, the biggest sting for them would have been Clinton losing to sexism; she fought the best fight she could, and hate won.

It doesn’t stop with women, though.

I’ve listened to friends from abroad say they’re afraid of being deported. And, even though they sometimes contribute more than their white counterparts, that fear remains. The hate they’re met with isn’t based in legitimate concern; rather the protection of those in power.

My friends of color mourn their loss of representation. They’re watching us move from empowerment to ignorance in the blink of an eye and, sadly, they were outnumbered the whole way through. Their voices reverberated throughout the election season — and those screams were met by earplugs of denial and unaccountability.

And then there’s me.  Much like others who don’t prescribe to Trump’s “normal” America, I’m petrified. In the midst of coming to terms with the sexual confusion that has shackled my very existence, I’m watching the election of a man who reassures me that my existence is lesser.

This man — whose hands I’ve never touched, presence I’ve never felt — has brought me to tears.  He’s made me question my country’s values and the respect I thought I deserved; I’ve built my self-esteem up to have it struck like the restrictive wall he plans to build.

Thirty million people voted to support the tears of the people in my life, and my own.  And those tears won’t stop flowing.  You see, it’s not about protection under the law; it’s about having peace of mind in knowing your fellow Americans value you.

But, to Trump and his 30 million supporters, I thank you.

You’ve shown us the stark contrast between love and hate — and that good doesn’t always triumph over evil.

I can’t help but think of the tales we read as children, with “damsels in distress” saved by knights in shining armor.

“And in the end she was saved,” we’re accustomed to hearing — though, in this case, the villain in this real-world tragedy prevailed. In this case “she” wasn’t in need of saving at all; rather, she hoped to save.

But we’re strong.  We can save ourselves even without an interceding force. Because, now, more than ever before, when they go low, we have no choice but to go high.

After all, we’re Americans — prided in our differences, but united by our ability to overcome great odds.

This post was originally published on thatsuperfluousman.wordpress.com 

Photo credit: Liam McGurl  

Freshman journalism and mass communication major at St. Bonaventure University
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