Here’s a little thing I wrote on election night.
November 9th, 2016.
My night has gone poorly for two reasons.
First and foremost, Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States. This is my first election (I turned 18 two days ago), and I’ve already had my faith in American democracy horribly shaken. 24 hours ago, I believed that a middle path would take our country in the right direction. I believed that neoliberalism, for all its shortcomings, would triumph over the vitriolic hatred that Donald Trump embodies. I was a young pre-law student with a lot of hope for the future of our nation, a nation I trusted to respect me, keep me safe.
That evaporated about 4 hours ago, when the election was effectively called for Trump. As a young, queer American, there are no words to describe how betrayed I feel. Many people have expounded upon the consequences much more eloquently than I could. But for me, it has radically redirected the path I see myself taking in my future. I had a tenuous relationship with radical activism before — I am, by nature, a risk-averse person, and however noble the cause I was always reluctant to endorse any position that upended the status quo too sharply. Now, I see that third-way politics fails to address the deepest needs of the populace. Neoliberal failings allowed for the rise of a reactionary right, and that reactionary right has just put a vapid, hateful man in the Oval Office. This nation needs a mass movement to eradicate this hatefulness, to normalize empathy, to radicalize love. I hope to be a part of that movement.
The second reason why tonight has been less than ideal for me is that my roommate has major abdominal pain and I had to drive him to the ER. There are a dozen things I would like to sift through and contemplate, not to mention an essay due tomorrow that I’ve barely begun, and now I will have to wait in this hospital room with constant distractions and harsh lights and a monitor that beeps constantly for no discernable reason. Somehow, though, in this issue completely separate from our nation’s political nightmare, I find some comfort. This is an issue I know I can handle, one that I am confident will turn out ok.
Ironically, sitting beside his cot, I feel perhaps the stirrings of hope, or at least an ebb of despair. There are so many more tomorrows to face, and considering them in the aggregate is daunting and frightening and puts a sizeable lump in my throat. But individually, we can take them one at a time, as inconveniences and shitty nights, as times when we can be strong and succeed in that strength. Strewn throughout the difficult future are countless moments where our compassion, our empathy, our love can make real differences. We are strong, and we shall overcome.