It’s hard to put into words the utter shock and horror that has consumed me since the results of Tuesday’s election have poured in. Despite polls which predicted the opposite, and confident musings of liberal youngsters like myself–who considered his success utterly ludicrous, and therefore all but impossible–Donald J. Trump was elected 45th president of the United States of America.
Trump won that title by running a campaign centered around xenophobia, racism, and misogyny; by stoking dangerous flames by scapegoating and fear-mongering. Now, we have to live with the aftermath.
Late Tuesday night, I received a text from one of my best friends, stating the following: “On top of everything, this is like watching the person who raped you get off free…then get elected for president.” It’s a sentiment I’ve heard expressed by many different women, in a multitude of ways: that seeing America choose this man felt like a slap in the face. He proved at every turn that he considered women and people of color to be inferior, deserving targets of the unsubstantiated vitriol he spewed.
Barely a month ago, the country watched with bated breath as a bloated, fame-hungry, forceful man bragged about his ability to sexually assault women with impunity due to his position of power. Now that same man is slated to occupy what is arguably the most powerful position in the entire world. It’s no wonder that his looming presidency has left many with a sour taste in their mouths and a foreboding sense of doom.
Perhaps one of the most troubling elements of this event is not simply Trump’s hateful rhetoric, but rather, it’s the fact that his tactics resonated so strongly with the majority of Americans. In New York City, it’s easy to live in a bubble of liberalism. That’s not to say that NYC doesn’t have it’s fair share of bigotry (it certainly does), but as a decidedly blue state with progressivism in its blood, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the majority of New Yorkers scoffed at Trump. In Manhattan, Hillary won 87.2 percent of the vote, 79.7 percent in Brooklyn.
Throughout the duration of this campaign, I consumed coverage from liberal media sources, I had conversations with peers who confirmed my worldview, we guffawed at Trump’s lack of intellect, insight, tact, and sensitivity. We recoiled at his vile behavior, and yet we laughed at him, because the thought of a man like this being elected seemed init of itself to be some sort of dark absurdist comedy.
To this day, I don’t think I have encountered a single person who supported Donald J.Trump. Or, at the very least, I definitely haven’t spoken directly with and heard the opinion of anybody who does.
And yet, he won. Fair and square. Our democratic process resulted in his presidency. We–America–chose him.
So, we have a President-elect that was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, one of the most vigilant and persistent hate groups in existence. We have a President-elect who believes that an individual’s religion (be they Muslim) is grounds to bar them from entry into our country, and that undocumented people are overwhelmingly violent criminals. We have a President-elect who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by a number of women, only to answer their claims with outright dismissal and accusations of libel, thus perpetuating the already prolific, unsupported, and harmful rape-apologist stance that women lie for attention, fame, or revenge. We have The Donald.
The sense of defeat, disbelief, and betrayal is so palpable that it’s hard to swallow.
What the actual fuck, America?