Blogmas Day 8: One Month Since the Election

Good morning, everyone! I know yesterday I alluded to the fact that I might very well start posting Blogmas later and later as the month progresses, but I guess I like contradicting myself, because this post comes to you live from 10:30 am in the library. I've been up since 7 because I had an interview at 8:45 (nothing exciting or worth noting, just a girl in an introductory journalism class who wanted to write an expose on the Ireland study abroad trip I did over the summer) that wasn't nearly as long as anticipated. Add that to the fact that my professor cancelled class yet again, giving me a large chunk of my morning to get ahead on work. And hey, I'm not complaining, but I do wish I had known all of this earlier so I could maybe devote the extra time to some more sleep. But the good news is there's always more than enough coffee at my fingertips to keep me going, and today's post has been one that I've wanted to publish since Blogmas started.

The title is very self-explanatory. It's been, to the day, one month since the presidential election, and every day since then I've been living in a state of mild panic. I've kept my thoughts to myself for the most part, give or take a few tweets, letting the dust and hysteria settle. But hey, here's the fact of the matter: it's been one month since Donald Trump has become our President-elect (and only one day since he was named Time's Person of the Year), and I have something to say.

My election night looked a lot like the SNL skit, except for the fact that I wasn't at a viewing party with friends, but rather in bed constantly refreshing Twitter and the CNN app. Still though, I was hopeful to almost a concerning degree. I was well under the impression that Hillary Clinton would be elected as our country's first female president, and I was so ready to celebrate and rub my liberal point of view in my relatives' faces. Then the swing states started swinging red and Florida started to look like an awful appendage dangling off the edge of the country that maybe we didn't need? Somewhere around 11:30 I fell asleep in front of my laptop screen, with Trump pulling ahead by about fifty electoral votes. I don't know how my nerves didn't keep me awake, I don't know how I drifted off, but next thing I know I came to and my clock read 3 am. Of course the first thing I did was Google "US election results" (say what you want about the dooms of technology, but let's not act like that's not convenient) and saw that little checkmark and the word "winner" not where I expected it.

It was the most peculiar feeling; I had never felt so alone and isolated. Because it was the middle of the night, the irrational, optimistic part of me wanted to believe I was having a nightmare. I would actually wake in the morning to the results I wanted. Not even the results I wanted, but the results I had come to expect.

I blame part of that on the college bubble. Being on a campus of 20,000 students, it's very easy to assume the majority of the population leans liberal. It's easy to assume post-grad debt, gun control, and equal rights are concerns held by the common man. They're not. I'm not saying the conservative population is bad or wrong or evil, because their beliefs are rooted in family and personal values. Their version of the truth is--as much as I hate to admit it--valid, even if it looks different than mine. And I know that for many, Donald Trump seemed to be the best option, but I also can't help but wonder what went wrong.

A president fueled by fear-mongering and hatred is not a president I want. A government worried about giving everyone a gun but God forbid a marriage license is not a place where I feel safe. A nation that will conduct foreign affairs alongside our prejudices and harsh stereotypes does not fit into the global framework I believe in. And I know it sounds selfish: I want, I feel safe, I believe in, but I know I'm not just speaking for myself.

Shortly after the election, when I was home for Thanksgiving break, my stepfather asked me how I felt about the results. For him, this is "the change America needs," but for me it feels just the opposite. Though I knew he wouldn't take me seriously, I said I felt scared. He made a joke asking me if I needed a safe space, and I tried my best not to get haughty or dramatic. He then asked me what he thought was a simple question: "Are you open to change?"

In response to that, I guess I have to ask what kind of change. Am I open to sexual assault becoming even more normalized than it already is, because we're just following our president's example? No. Am I open to the forceful deportation and separation of immigrant families? No. Am I open to living in fear that as a woman I won't have access to affordable and judgment-free healthcare? No. I'm not open to any of that. I know he meant "am I open to Trump actually making positive change?" and I guess in a weird, twisted world I can't say I'm not, but I'm also wildly skeptical and worried about what's got to give to make any progress he deems necessary.

So in short, I haven't really drawn any conclusions. I don't know a whole lot, and I won't until Trump's inauguration, but I do know this: the morning after the results were announced, the air felt stale. It felt like someone died. It felt like no matter what you do as a smart, accomplished woman, there's still a chance it won't be good enough. It felt like we're looking at four years of anger. It felt like the white boys who walk around campus wearing salmon quarter-zips and boat shoes are the only ones who will really benefit, and when's the last time anyone said "let's try giving the rich white guy a chance"?

I know this sounds preachy, and that's because it kind of is, but just know that it's been a month and I'm still not done fighting. I'm still not done being upset, and I don't know if I ever will be. But I won't behave like a child, just whining on my blog and across social media about how life isn't fair. I'm talking about my beliefs. I'm raising the questions that are hard to address. I'm donating to Planned Parenthood whatever I can, because I believe it's important. I don't know what else I can say, because I could rant and rave for much longer than you'd care to read, but I guess I'll leave you with this: I'm still with her, our first female president. I really, really wanted "her" to be Hillary Clinton, but I'm excited to see whoever she ends up being.

I'll see you tomorrow,
Lauren

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