I woke up this morning sick to my stomach with puffy eyes, tear-streaked cheeks, and fear in my heart. I woke up to post after post on Facebook expressing the pure terror my friends and family feel after hearing who the next President of our country is.
My heart keeps breaking. My heart breaks for those, like myself, who had the opportunity to use their first presidential vote to support a woman candidate, just to be slapped in the face with the result. My heart breaks for those fearing deportation and separation from their family and loved ones. My heart breaks for those fearing persecution and discrimination based on their race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. My heart breaks for my fellow women who have to watch a man who spoke boastfully about sexually assaulting women lead our country for the next four years. My heart breaks for those who feel so distraught by our political system that they thought electing this man was the answer. My heart breaks for those dedicating their lives to save our planet who have to stand by as they are called liars. My heart breaks for Hillary Clinton, who faced an injustice too many women face every day: watching an underqualified man take what was rightfully hers. My heart is so broken.
This morning, I received a text from a friend who summed up my feelings. She said, “I keep thinking this is some sort of horrible dream, but it’s not.” For many Americans, this is their worst nightmare come true. Unfortunately, this is not something we can wake up from. This is our reality, and although we feel lost and broken, now is not the time to give up. I am fighting tears as I try to put what I am feeling into words, and I want nothing more than to just crawl back under the covers. But I will not let this break me. This will not break us.
Now is the time to stand up taller than before and make our voices heard. The thought is overwhelming, but there are steps we can take. For me, I am going to leave the coffee shop I am sitting in, latte in hand, and meet my nanny children at their school. I am going to put on a smile because, even at eight years old, they know what this means. They will not see someone who has given up, they will see someone who is ready to fight.
My fellow Badgers, there is so much you can do. Volunteer with whatever organization inspires you. Get involved with College Democrats or College Republicans. Get involved with the system. There are so many leaders still fighting for us, so work with them. Give support to those who need it because as much as my heart hurts, I know there are people experiencing my pain ten-fold.
If there is something this election has taught me, it is that nothing is guaranteed. I am guilty of being too complacent. I voted and shared a few political articles on Facebook, but it never really felt like a possibility that Hillary Clinton could lose. I was so wrong. This election has given me a passion I have not felt before, and all this anger and confusion and despair I feel are going to be my motivators. I am blessed to be a part of a community of people who will work harder than ever to protect our brothers and sisters threatened by this result. Because no matter what, we ARE stronger together.
Opinions are not a direct representation of the University of Wisconsin, Her Campus or Her Campus Wisconsin.