I’ve wanted to write for days. I still don’t know if I’m ready to, though, to put it all out there. To come to terms with what has happened. But I need to if I’m going to feel better any time soon.
Donald Trump was voted in to be the 45th President of the United States of America, with Republican Mike Pence as his VP. I had a sleepless night. Counting down to the announcement, I sat in front of a glowing laptop screen waiting and hoping. Searching for live streams and any updates I could find. Watching Trump’s numbers rise and Hillary’s stand still. My heart broke. When I read the Google update of ‘Donald Trump is the President’, I let out a strangled moan, as the disbelief entered my body.
I live in New Zealand. I am not an American. But this election has still greatly affected me.
The day after the election had been announced, I tried to dye my hair blue. Tried. I’ve been dying my hair quite frequently this year and have wanted to go blue for awhile. After the election I needed to take hold of myself and my identity, to create something for me. The symbolism of blue being the colour for the Democrats calmed me. It turned out a greeny/gray colour. I dyed it again with another box of blue and got the same results. It was uneven and slightly painful to look at, and produced a lot of anxiety.
To fix it: black. Yeah. One of my favorite youtubers Savannah Brown rocks a short black hair look so I thought, Maybe I can try this too. Well it’s definitely black. I don’t hate it but I’m not ready to love it yet. It’s painfully ironic that the blue didn’t work and that my hair is now black. So why is this relevant to the election? Well it is and it isn’t. For me, I know that whenever I change my hair it’s because I am trying to take control. And after the election I feel like I have lost control. That I cannot defend myself.
The US election was all about privilege. Those who have it and want more voted Republican. Donald represents those who are not minorities. Those people whose oppression is not even comparable to those of people of colour, immigrants and queer people. When someone’s quality of life is at risk, but you still choose to vote against them, you really need to question why you’re making that decision.
Why do you get to come first? I know we all do it from time to time, and sure it can be good, but when so many individuals in the US are choosing to elect a man and a party to represent hate and bigotry? There’s nothing good in that, for any of us. Those who are oppressed are never going to gain any true form of equity or equality if the governments that contribute to shaping society are not inclusive of their needs. Those who do not face significant oppression will thrive under a Republican government.
I have some conflicting thoughts on this election and what it means. In many states and countries around the world people are holding protest marches against Trump and his presidency, many of these individuals encouraging the cancellation of his inauguration. Fair enough. Get rid of him. Good. But then what? We have Mike Pence who is even more outspokenly right wing than Donald Trump. Hard to imagine someone who could be worse to lead a country than D.T but there is. And there’s probably a long list of Mike Pence’s and Donald Trump’s in the Republican party, with seats in government, who share the same destructive views and would govern in a similar manner. The Republican Party tend to promote more conservative views towards political issues. They tend to be anti LGBT rights, anti-drugs, pro-life and pro gun ownership. These ideas are reflected within members of the party. People are trying to get Trump out of their government. Social action is high especially amongst young people in America. But I do wonder, if they succeed, what then? Will Pence become POTUS? Will another member of the Republican party be chosen? These people would still promote dangerous ideas and laws in the US. How do minorities fit into this idea of government and society? Where is the support? Why must we always do the work for ourselves? I hope that our inner strength is enough to get us through this difficult time, whatever the outcomes.
I also have been thinking about the world’s focus on America and the West. We know that there are leaders in Asian and Eastern countries who are totalitarian and anti-democratic. But there are not often public protests in Western countries against these leaders.There have been protests against Trumps election in the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, Israel and the Philippines. Perhaps it’s because we see America as a 21st century country, and if that’s the case we need to adjust our ideas. My mum said to me “Trump is going to take America back to the 1950’s” to which I began to explain to her that they never left the 1950s. The only people who think they have are blinded and drowning in their own privilege. They can’t see what doesn’t effect them.
Something I’ve been working on accepting lately is that I am angry. I have so much anger within me but no sure fire way of expressing it. The election makes me angry. White supremacy and privilege makes me angry, and it pains me that as I white person I benefit from this. I am angry about queerphobia and hate crimes and violence towards the LGBT+ community in America. The people with the hate are the problem. I am not the problem. But I’m the one effected by it. Because I get to be reminded of the hate in this world. The hate towards queer people. How my identity is seen as a political issue, as controversial. As a woman, I am reminded that my body is a battlefield. If I lived in the USA, my life, wellbeing and existence would be directly affected by Trump’s presidency and Pence’s VP-ship. It could be the difference between effective health care or not, the difference between getting legally married or jailed for even trying. And this will be the reality for many Americans.
In times like these I really struggle to find good in the world. Every other youtube video or article on facebook is about this election and the horrors it has produced. I’m glad that people are expressing their thoughts, like I am here, but it shows how negatively this election and its results have affected people. Tumblr users may have seen the multiple posts encouraging people to not kill themselves in the incident of Trump’s success, but to instead survive out of spite. That’s hard. But I get it. I needed to see those posts myself.
Where to from here?
I don’t know yet. It’s been a few days now and still I’m dealing with my grief and pain. It isn’t just about D.T being president, it’s about the people who voted him in, who wanted him to succeed. It’s about what he and the Republican party represent. It’s so painful to see them thriving.
I’m grateful to be living somewhere that isn’t the US but feeling pained for many of those who do. Self care is important as always and reaching out to others for support is a big part of this. Keep making your voice heard and fighting for what is right. But also making sure you stop to catch your breath