I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about this election, and as you probably can guess, I’m not very pleased with the outcome. I have no reason to feel personally imperiled or threatened by President Trump enacting all of his promises. The sum of what will happen to me personally is, probably, that my taxes may go down a bit. But I am really concerned for a lot of people and the country (and world) as a whole.
What happens to the environment when someone who has said climate change is a Chinese hoax runs the EPA? What will victims of sexual assault feel when the president has bragged about groping women? How will Muslims feel when one of his signature policies was banning them from entering the country? What about Latinos, worried about how welcome they are too? What about anyone who’s worried about being profiled by police if stop and frisk makes a comeback nationwide? With people like Mike Pence in the administration and the judges who could be appointed, what will happen to LGBT folks, who could lose their marriage rights and still get fired for being who they are? The list of questions goes on. These aren’t abstract to me; I know people personally affected in each category.
Those are the concerns I have, not to mention a sense that a good portion of what I’ve spent the last six years of my life doing was for jack shit. Peace Corps in Ukraine? I have a sinking feeling that Ukraine is about to get completely sold out, and the thousands of Ukrainians who fought for independence from a corrupt government and Russia will be left to stand alone. Expanding access to health care for those who can’t afford it? If the ACA gets repealed, twenty million people lose health insurance, and this includes HIV+ and other folks who couldn’t get any insurance without the law. Studying policy to work for our nation? We just elected the meme candidate who barely laid out any concrete plans for months beyond “build a wall” and “I’m a fan of the Second Amendment,” and who still lacks so many details on what he’s going to do and how he’s going to do it.
But in a democracy you accept the results of elections, even when your side loses. I voted for John McCain—with many reservations, like Sarah Palin—in 2008 and remember feeling down in the days after that election. Barack Obama turned out to be a much better president than I thought he would be. I genuinely and sincerely hope that I’m wrong about the kind of president Donald Trump will be, and the kind of people he’ll surround himself with. My impression of him is that he’s a con artist and pathological liar with an undiagnosed personality disorder who cares only about himself. I want to be wrong about him. I want him to be interested in making the country better, stronger, safer. Campaigns are full of rancor and ridiculous rhetoric and have almost nothing in common with actually governing. Maybe I’m totally wrong. But I’m not holding my breath.
This is still my country. I feel like this because I love and care for it. I’m not going to stop doing what I can to make it better, in whatever way I can. Neither should you.