Before the polls started coming in yesterday, I had no doubt in my mind that Hillary would win. A large majority of friends, fellow students, and other people that I follow on social media had been posting throughout the day about how they were with her, and there was an overall feeling of hope about the election. Then the polls started coming in.
Before I go any further in this narrative, I feel that I need to explain where I am coming from in this election. I am a white, middle-class female. For the sake of arguing, I would consider myself a left-leaning independent when it comes to politics. Now, I know that there are many people reading this that aren't going to agree with me. Some of you are strangers that will judge me, and some of you are family and friends that may treat me differently after this election. The latter part of the terrifies me if I'm being completely honest. But before you start judging me, I ask that you at least try to hear me out.
I was sitting with my dormmates in our hall lounge-- we were having a "family night" and cooking dinner together. We started out watching cooking shows while occasionally turning to check the CNN coverage, but once the results started rolling in we kept the t.v. glued to the news. The mood at our gathering was overall lighthearted; we were mostly just joking around about what could happen. Then CNN began predicting that the first states' electoral votes would go to Trump. This brought the mood down a little bit, but still, we held out that these were smaller, conservative states and that we had a long night ahead of us.
As the night continued on, state after state was being won by Trump. The mood of our little group dinner became more subdued, and as the evening progressed more people joined in our unintentional watch party. With every win for Trump, the hope of our watch party dwindled.
The watch party also got more emotional throughout the night. Many of my friends became physically upset when they realized that a man who has been taped making inappropriate comments eluding to sexual assault, a man who had been endorsed by the KKK, a man who's running mate believes in conversion therapy -- that this type of a man would soon be the leader of this country. I had friends who voiced fears about how the treatment of women would change. I had friends who were unsure how they were going to be able to pay for healthcare if Trump follows through with defunding Obamacare. I have friends who are worried that family and friends will have to leave the country -whether or not they want to- because they are either first generation immigrants or undocumented immigrants. I have friends who were genuinely terrified to go to classes today for fear of backlash from people because of the race, sexual orientation, or gender. There was so much fear.
I was not expecting to have to comfort friends as they were crying in my arms last night and today. I was not expecting so much to be left unknown. The best way that I can explain how I feel is numbness. A part of me knew that Trump had a legitimate chance to win the election, but I didn't want to believe it. I have too many friends that are going to suffer from this election.
Look, I know that many people will read this and think that this is just the rantings of an entitled, idealistic millennial. And maybe you're right. Maybe I had too much hope that there was a little less hate in this country. Maybe I put too much hope into the idea that people could just be nice to each other and love our neighbors, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else that the world tries to separate us by. But still, those of us who lost in this election should not have to state complacent and silent. Heaven knows that those who were against Obama have not been quiet over the past 8 years. We need time to mourn. We need time to accept that everything could change with this election. And yes, maybe Trump won't be the monster that people have feared, and maybe things will get better. However, until the unknowns are answered, I am going to respect the fact that so many Americans are afraid, and I am going to try to comfort them in the only ways I know how: by listening, accepting, loving, and praying.