As I’m writing this article, America is being painted, poked and prodded in the crudest shades of blue and red on my television screen.
I’m sad. I’m scared. I’m anxious. I’m looking at my computer screen, typing these words only to distract myself from the map of our nation, which is bleeding all over.
The DOW Jones Industrial Average has dropped 800 points so far tonight. Someone commented on my pro-Hillary Facebook post, “#NastyWoman lol at least you admit it.” I personally just shared an article from Business Insider describing how to relocate to Canada.
This is our reality now.
This is one of my last Letters from the Editor in my position as Editor in Chief of CisternYard News. Someone told me the other day to write about what is relevant. Write about the issues that we face today. Because in the future, I will look back on this letter and be able to recall how I felt about some of the most pressing issues that our country was facing.
President Donald Trump is the most pressing issue that our country is facing.
Flash forward to the morning after the election. Waking up in Trump’s America feels slimy. It feels like betrayal. My brother had texted me “Love you Court. It’ll all be ok.” My coworker walked into the office and said, “I would say good morning, but it isn’t.” Students are walking around Charleston – a little blue freckle in the fiery, red face of South Carolina – like post-apocalyptic zombies who have somehow survived nuclear warfare.
It is, as David Remnick wrote in The New Yorker, an American tragedy – one that will indubitably turn into a global tragedy in a matter of time, if we don’t start fighting now.
How do we combat this?
We need to look at the next four years and start living intentionally now. Start now, at the height of our disappointment, confusion and outrage. We cannot wait. From this point forward, for the next four years, we must focus on politics as much as we have been for the past couple of weeks. This election has been looming for so long, and yet the majority of the people I know have only begun educating themselves on these issues within the last month or two. It has become a buzzworthy topic, full of people making buzzworthy comments, posts and memes. Can you imagine where we would be if we were always this attentive to politics?
It’s the same way we have commercialized our holidays. Aside from select days of the year, we go about our day to day experiences paying no mind to gratitude or integrity. We only come together when we have an excuse to do so. Donald Trump was just elected president. We have an excuse to do so for the next four years.
Do not get me wrong: Much like many others, I have flirted with the idea of seeking citizenship elsewhere. My mom told me she voted for Hillary instead of a third party candidate specifically because she was afraid that if Trump won, she would lose me to Canada. It does sound appealing. But that just makes me fearful for those who have no choice but to stay in the country. It is only appealing to me because I have the means to do so. I recognize that privilege. But my heart hurts so badly for the women, people of color, LGBTQIA community, Muslims, immigrants and disabled people who do not have the means to up and leave, and will therefore truly suffer the consequences of the next four years far more than I will. Now, more than ever, we have to stand by our country – if only to salvage what little respect remains.
That being said, I will publicly denounce our President. I am an American citizen and I care about our country – and those are the exact reasons why I refuse to stand behind Donald Trump. That man is not representative of who we are as a people, nor are his derogatory comments, vicious slurs or sparks of outrage. I will stand by our country and stand by our government, but I will not stand by that man. Because that is the kind of complacency that has cultivated a culture in which someone like that can run – and be elected – for President of the United States. We do need to stay united; we do need to come together. We need to understand that the reason we put a vitriolic, racist, narcissistic, misogynistic man in the White House was not because everyone loves the guy. CNN exit polls showed that 29 percent of Trump voters were bothered by his treatment of women, 20 percent of his supporters said he didn’t have the temperament to be president and 21 percent of his own voters said they didn’t think he is honest or trustworthy.
His own supporters.
The reason why we elected Donald Trump is because our system is flawed and our people were terrified enough of the political elites’ corruption to place a reality TV star in the Oval Office.
That’s a wake up call.
It is not the time to give up. It seems daunting. It is daunting. My eyes are bloodshot. Friends who passed me on the sidewalk today have stopped to give me a hug, which is a testament to what my face looks like when I have been crying a lot. For those of you who do not know me well enough to know what that looks like, it is red and puffy and very obvious. The country has weary eyes right now, too.
But at the end of it all, female, queer, black, brown, able, disabled, native or recently arrived, we are Americans. And American eyes look forward.