I woke up on Tuesday morning with the sole intention of voting for Hillary of House Clinton: First of Her Name, Breaker of Boundaries, Queen of the Minorities, Immigrants, LGBQ, Women and Men alike.
When I arrived at the polls in New York, the line was wrapped around the school where I was assigned to vote, a promising sign that the turnout would be high this year. As I stood in line, I spotted a dad with his two young daughters, proudly rocking an HRC baseball cap. I felt a smile spread across my face. I wanted to hug him and rejoice over our soon-to-be first, female president, but knew the time to celebrate was imminent.
While in line, I openly chatted with a white, straight male about Trump’s racism, sexism, bigotry, amongst his other glaring lack of qualifications for president. As I proudly cast my vote for Hillary that morning, it felt like the world was on my side. There was no doubt about it, Hillary was going to win.
My optimism was only heightened by the fact that everyone in my immediate environment, friends, family, and coworkers, were all Hillary supporters. Even most of the people who were still pulling for Bernie or registered Republicans had conceded to the reality that there was only one option for president this year, and it wasn’t Donald. Of course, I knew a few people who were still Trump enthusiasts, but they were the outliers. They were the underdogs. Major news publications and powerful members of the Republic party had taken deliberate steps to speak out against him. It was even predicted early that Hillary would win, and with the positive energy around me, it was hard not to believe she would.
Flash-forward to the night of the election, when I met a friend at a bar to watch the results unfold, state by state, electoral vote by electoral vote. The bar broke out into applause when Hillary won Vermont, and it felt like I was watching a major sporting event that my team was favored to win. At some point in the night, I noticed a man quietly smile to himself when Trump won Kentucky, and as a native Bostonian, I had to ask myself if being a Trump supporter in New York was like being the only Yankees fan at a Red Sox game.
As the night went on, however, my air of hope and lightheartedness quickly evolved to disillusionment, despair, and sheer panic. Trump continued to gather more votes, and the bar slowly began to clear out before the bottom of the eighth. In that moment, I was forced to confront the ugly, sad, unacceptable reality of the situation, Trump was going to win. I couldn’t believe I was watching this terrible decision progress in front of my eyes, and even worse, that there was nothing I could do to stop it from unfolding.
Where did we go wrong?
Today, I am deeply ashamed and confused to be part of a country that could elect a man who represents everything we have fought so hard to eradicate as a great nation: racism, sexism, misogyny and so much more. Though it’s easy to place the blame on those who blindly support Trump, or to criticize his boundless faults, it’s not going to bring us the resolution we so desperately need. While many of us are still distraught and shocked by the unfortunate outcome of this election, we have to remember that love still trumps hate (pun intended).
If we continue to spread compassion and embrace the principles we have to come to share as a nation, beliefs that condemn rapists, sexists, and bigots, then I still believe in this country and in mankind. If we continue to show kindness toward other human beings, and to treat others with respect and equality, then in a way, Trump loses. He may have won in the numbers, but not in the voices we still have, not yet.
Whatever you do today, please hold onto and embrace the humanity and love that remains in this world, because it’s the one tool we still have to defeat hatred, prejudice, and everything else that Trump stands for.