Hope, Hope, Hope.
The 5 stages of grief post-Election Day.
I’m currently in Japan, which is 14 hours ahead of NYC. I was in Tokyo when the election results started coming in, which meant I woke up to them at 11am on Wednesday morning. The first thing that I did was do a Google search and hope, hope, hope that I saw Hillary leading.
Instead, I uttered “oh my god” out loud, which woke up my roommate. He asked what happened and I told him, “Trump is leading in the results.” He told me not to worry and then fell back to sleep for a few more hours.
For the next 3.5 hours I couldn’t stop combing through results on the web, social media and in the news. Hoping, hoping, hoping for a change in numbers. Hoping that the outcome I feared wouldn’t be true. Instead, 3.5 hours after I first woke up, I headed out to walk around Tokyo because I needed air. I felt numb inside.
I couldn’t believe that my country, my home, my fellow Americans, voted to elect Trump as our next President.
I’ve spent several days processing what’s happened, just like the rest of the country, and world, have. It’s been almost a week since that Election Day and it still feels surreal. It feels like a joke every time I hear “President-elect Trump”. I’ve met people from all over since the election and the first thing they love to bring up are the results, as if it’s some hilarious joke. I get it though — none of those comments were said with malice or had negative intentions behind them. They, just like myself, can’t fully believe that America has chosen this man to be our next President.
What a lot of my time has been spent thinking about over the last few days has been two things:
1. That highest and hardest glass ceiling still isn’t broken.
Back in July, Hillary was selected as the DNC candidate. Despite the controversy surrounding her nomination, and the direct corruption of the DNC in that process, her acceptance speech brought me to tears. It wasn’t an amazing speech, or a particularly memorable one, but what moved me so much was watching this woman who had worked for over 30 years for this one moment and had achieved it.
I knew how tremendous this moment was for Hillary, and I also felt as though there was finally someone I identified with running for the highest seat in the country. Not because I was in-line with all of her policies or was ignoring the handful of questionably legal things she had been a part of, but because this was a woman. Taking on an enormous challenge. Fighting for, and with, a collective group of individuals who have never had this kind of representation before in our country. I wasn’t watching a white man telling me what I can and can’t do with my own body, or what I’m monetarily worth, or telling me that I need to dress, act or speak in a certain way because anything else isn’t considered “lady like.” Hillary was a woman that not only understood all of that and more, but wasn’t going to sit on her pedestal and claim to know what was best for my own life.
Now that she has lost, and the conservative GOP have taken over full control of the House, Senate and Presidency, I know my choices won’t be my own anymore. I know the Federal government will be making sweeping decisions that impact my ability to be free in making my own choices.
As a woman, as an individual that looks white but is also half Hispanic, as someone who needs some solid, stable healthcare treatments, I already feel lesser than. I already feel as though I’ve been told I don’t matter. The female gender will always be considered second best.
2. The collective “we” declared that hate trumps love.
With our election last week, we declared that hate trumps love. We declared this not only to ourselves as a nation, but to the world. Following in the footsteps of Brexit, the Spanish elections and the Turkish coup, 2016 has kicked some ass when it comes to individual equality, love and acceptance. Not to mention the shootings of gay and black individuals throughout the year, or the Dakota Pipeline travesties. It seems as though there’s a wave of rejection around the world for anything and anyone different than ourselves, and it’s based out of fear.
Fear of invasion, fear of difference, fear of tolerance, fear of danger, fear of disagreement, fear of the unknown. All of these fears are what Trump’s platform successfully leveraged for more than a year, and is ultimately what struck a cord deep in America’s feel spot. We as city-dwelling, liberal thinking, acceptance focused, equality driven, travel laden individuals from NYC, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, etc. didn’t understand just how deep Trump had sunk his claws into America. I still don’t think we fully understand it — I certainly don’t.
The solution isn’t as simple as “people need to travel more”. And it certainly can’t be whittled down to “those people who voted for Trump are (insert insulting adjective).” Those are extremely simple solutions and labels to apply to a problem so complex that we can’t fully comprehend it yet.
So now the question becomes, what do we do? What can I do, even from thousands of miles from home for the foreseeable future?
Out of the 5 stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — I’m probably somewhere between stage 4 and 5. I’ve been seeing tons of posts about ways to handle the next 4 years that I think can be summarized best as this:
- Donate to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They protect individual civil rights and liberties according to the Constitution.
- Donate to Planned Parenthood. They provide healthcare and assistance to women in need and do much, much more than just abortions.
- Donate to The Wilderness Society. They help ensure that the wild land of the United States is taken care of, protected and available for generations to come.
- Donate to any other organization that you feel a connection to that you want to protect against Trump and his team, call any local representative that you have to to make sure your voice is heard, and don’t accept this election outcome as the end of a much larger fight.
Most importantly, and above all else, stand up for your fellow humans. The waves of crime violence, hate speech, attacks and threats since Election Day have already exceeded 9/11 levels. Make sure your friends and family are safe, make sure that they know that they’re loved and wanted, stand up for people you don’t know being subjected to racism, sexism, and xenophobia, and keep an open mind. Have conversations with others who have differing viewpoints. Especially Trump supporters.
Be kind to others. Be strong for others. Be a better global citizen.