Talk about a week filled with so many emotions. To say I’ve been on a roller coaster is an understatement. And, I’m certain I am not alone in this sentiment.
Last Tuesday, my friends and I faced the loss of a 3rd close friend from high school. At 24 and 25, it’s hard to understand how this could happen – how three people we love so dearly would be taken from us so soon. And, as I said, it’s agonizing to try to look for the reason behind it all. So we grieve, we remember, we celebrate and we move forward, taking their memories and love with us into the future.
Then, just last night, our nation was faced with the reality that Donald J. Trump, media mogul and all around hateful, entitled white man, was elected President of our wonderful country. And we felt the earth crumble beneath us once more.
I am forthright about this – I have long claimed to be a Republican. I grew up in a Catholic home, attended Catholic School K-12 and Republican values were our reality. But this year, this election season, my heart – and my head – were pulled in thousands of different directions.
After a year of so much change in my own life, during which I empowered myself to leave behind an amazing job in an amazing city because I knew it was what I mentally needed, I was flabbergasted by the thought that a man who has zero respect for women (and people in general…) could lead this nation. Completely and utterly shaken and devastated to tell you the truth.
I watched the rise of Hillary Clinton with awe and admiration. That a woman could be a Yale Law School grad, mother, grandmother AND presidential nominee blew me away. Her ascent lifted my spirits. It shattered glass ceilings. It was the reminder we all needed that women can do anything. I watched the campaign closely, with my best friend Katy working tirelessly for Hillary – along with so many. I was led to feel strength through Hillary through my best college gals, Emily, Emily and Kenan, who remind me daily of how amazing women are – and how far we’ve come. I learned so much about what really matters to this nation, to humanity, and I learned #IAmWithHer.
But then, all of this empowerment was so tarnished and sullied by the shocking rise of Donald Trump. A bully, a misogynist and an all around bigot. His fly off the cuff remarks were shocking and disgusting. His complete and utter lack of political intelligence terrifying. The anger and hate that spewed out of him throughout his campaign was enough to send me reeling. If you know me, you know how much anxiety and despair I faced watching this.
I can’t speak for other minorities but I will say, the fact that we elected a man who is unapologetically intolerant of so many – Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ individual, immigrants – is unfathomable. I can say, on behalf of women, the fact that we elected a man who brushed off the act of sexual assault as “locker room talk” is shameful.
We live in a country that has Anti-Bullying organizations, yet we just elected the world’s biggest and most outspoken bully to run our nation. At the highest level. Do we even understand the far-reaching implications of this? Apparently not.
I’m not a mother, but I am an aunt, and while my niece (thankfully) has no idea what’s going on, I am saddened to think that this man will be running the country during her lifetime. I’m saddened for children who have watched the election with utter confusion, and who will not be able to comprehend that despite his election, Trump is not a role model. And to live in a nation where our own President isn’t a role model…that’s scary.
I am at a loss for words. I don’t understand how we got here. I don’t understand how so much hate prevails, lurking under the surface. Our nation is imperfect, but we have made so much progress in the last 8 years to accept people’s differences and to create love and change. I sit here, and cry, at the thought of this progress being halted, and potentially reversed.
Sadly, though, this is our new reality. This is the fate we have to accept. We have to move forward as one, because as Hillary said, we are STRONGER TOGETHER. So while we wake up in a hazy blur of sadness, we must know that united, love can prevail. Love trumps hate. And our love can trump Trump.