On November 10th, I sat in my morning class and I bit the inside of my cheek in every effort not to let the little pin pricks in my eyes win our battle. I do not cry often, and I certainly don’t cry in public. But on November 10th, as I escaped into the shaky elevator of Nichols Hall, I did.
I felt miserable, defeated, and overwhelmed. I felt unable to express myself, and unable to articulate the way I was feeling. In all honesty, I still do. Every time someone new brings up the results of this election, I feel those same worthless, powerless emotions all over again.
I am not being a sore loser. Let me repeat that just in case you didn’t get it the first time: I am not being a sore loser. If that is what you think, you are missing the point entirely. This was not a competition; not to me, and not to so many of the people I love. I am scared, because a man who based his campaign on taking away the civil liberties our predecessors fought so hard for, is now in a position where he might actually have a chance. Protecting my country from Donald Trump’s values was my priority; above education, health care, and economics. Considering I’m in my twenties, I have a very heavy investment in all of these issues, because I will be a part of the generation that has to live with the decisions that are being made now. Nonetheless, his social policy is what lost my vote.
Please don’t think I haven’t accepted the results; I have. I’m not under the impression that the Electoral College is going to vote against Donald Trump because I’ve screamed “Not My President” on some street they don’t know or care about. But please also recognize that I do not have to give him a chance. He lost that opportunity when he opened his campaign by insulting an entire culture of people; when he threatened to ban Muslims from this country; when he said climate change was a hoax; when he said John McCain was not a war hero; when he dared to insinuate that Stop and Frisk was A) constitutional or B) ethical; when he mocked a disabled reporter; when he normalized sexual assault.
I do not have to respect Donald Trump, whether he is President or not. Do people believe his slate is just wiped clean the moment he becomes the President-Elect? The pain he has caused and the fear he has instilled will stay on his record, and it will remain with me throughout the duration of his presidency. My choosing not to respect Donald Trump will not “divide this country” anymore than the radical rhetoric he used to win this election already has. I can respect the position of President without respecting the man who fills it.
I am angry. I am so pissed off, I can’t find an eloquent way to express it to you. I’m not the only one. People are gathering by the hundreds, even thousands, to let the world know that they do not support the kind of blatant racism, xenophobia, and misogyny that Donald Trump has laid as the foundation of his presidency. People of all ages and socio-economic statuses are lining the streets to take back the power his rhetoric has stolen from them. It’s been a little while, but they are still there.
So I will march with them. I will get educated and I will stay loud. I will scream, “Not My President,” until my mouth is dry and my hands are shaking. I will exercise my first amendment right, like so many others have done before me, and there is no amount of shame or disappointment you can express that is going to change my mind. This country was founded on the principle of expressing one’s distaste for their government, and it is not ‘treason’ to continue that battle today. I will keep fighting against his values every step of the way. I don’t care what history is going to call this movement; I just know I’m going to be a part of it.
That is why I am going to protest. Because protesting is one of the most American things I can do.