Our country has elected Donald Trump to be our next president. This article was supposed to be a simple recap of election night results, but, as I sit here with the numbness finally subsiding, I realized that there is no way I could write this piece objectively.
I have just witnessed my country, a land I truly and deeply love, make a horrible mistake. I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Hillary Clinton, but the alternative, which has just become a reality, was unfathomable.
The 2016 election was high stakes. This made it difficult for me to imagine the United States falling into the hands of a failed businessman with the temperament of a toddler.
With the election of Trump, a Republican congress, a vacant seat on the Supreme Court and three justices over the age of 75, we may be looking at a sharp and abrupt return to the good ol’ days and those days that weren’t so good.
There are many things that hang in the balance: our economy, our relationships with foreign leaders, the environment, the potential restoration of the Voting Rights Act. Things that matter to me could go up in smoke.
I am disgusted and disappointed, but I am not shocked. If you have been paying attention for the last eight years, you shouldn’t be either.
This country has a long history of rewarding black advancement with punishment: Reconstruction Era turned into the Jim Crow Era and the Civil Rights Movement was soon followed by the age of mass incarceration. This election has made it very clear that this pattern is well-fixed into place.
It is very difficult for me to ignore the racial aspect of this election. Trump has stoked the flames of racism and xenophobia in white Americans throughout his campaign. From his opener about Mexicans being rapists to his conflations of black people with the inner city to his proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, the dog-whistles have been loud and clear.
When you look at the racial and gender demographics of those who supported Trump in this election, Trump’s hatemongering won over white voters. Clinton lost white Americans across the board except college-educated white women per Edison Research’s national election poll.
Even after his sexist comments and the many allegations of sexual assault, white women still overwhelmingly voted for Trump. With this, it is hard to argue that the end of this race was a result of only sexism.
In 2009, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented a dramatic rise in patriot and militia groups. The number rose from 149 in 2008 to 512 the following year with the number standing at 1,360 in 2012. The number of designated hate groups rose above 1,000 in 2010.
Don Black, the founder of Stormfront, said that election night was an “amazing night.” He declared that white nationalists need to continue fighting because “Trump has just given us breathing room.”
I am seeing the immediate fallout of this election as I read through my social media pages. In a Twitter moment, “Day One in Trump’s America,” users share encounters with young supporters. Many are sharing incidents of graffitied and shouted racial slurs.
There is a lot of fear and pain in communities of color.
As an African-American, it isn’t lost on me that America’s first black president will hand the keys to the White House over to a man who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. Not only was Trump supported by a hate group, this is the same man that questioned Obama’s citizenship and his religion. Obama will graciously pass the baton to a man who has been, at best, disrespectful towards him.
This is the image that ran through my mind as I sat at my kitchen table watching the election results come in on my phone while in a state of disbelief.
While even writing the words President Trump makes me throw up in my mouth a little, I have moved on to the acceptance stage of my grief. As the situation that we find ourselves in settles in my mind I am hopeful.
I have this odd sense of optimism about those of us who reject the idea that our country should go backward. I believe this is the push we needed to fight harder for what we believe is just. Those of us on the right side of history will not make it easy for the Trumps of the world, and they will not make it easy for us.
Change.org even has a petition that is calling for Electoral College electors to vote for Clinton when they make the election results official on Dec. 19.
While I worry about healthcare, the future of the economy and emboldened white supremacists, the fact that people are already preparing to fight harder for what they believe is right is the only solace I have in these times.
On January 20, 2017, Trump will officially be the 45th president of the United States, and all I can say is: this is America. What a time to be alive.