Are you ready for this? The United States elected its next president yesterday and that man is Donald Trump. The popular vote went to Hillary Clinton by a narrow margin, but Trump got the electoral votes necessary to win the presidency. That means that America chose a man with no experience over a woman with the most experience. I smell gender bias.
Gender bias: unequal treatment in employment opportunity (such as promotion, pay, benefits and privileges), and expectations due to attitudes based on the sex of an employee or group of employees (Burton’s Legal Thesaurus, 4E. S.v. “gender bias.”)
This is basically exactly what just happened. I saw so many people post yesterday about waiting for the glass ceiling to come down and I must be honest, I knew when I saw those posts that every single one of those people was going to be disappointed. Even if Trump lost this election, and Hillary did move into the highest office in the United States of America, she is still a woman surrounded by men. America is a nation of white men looking out for other white men and progress just isn’t far enough for that group of men to look after a woman. This has nothing to do with the current election and everything to do with how progressive our society actually is versus how progressive we wish it was.
So what else? Well, the presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives are all red. We have an entirely Republican government, which is pretty scary to me. In a government that was built to have checks and balances and having all align along the same party isn’t really a check. The good news is: most of the re-elects have publicly said they do not support Donald Trump. Time will tell if they are true to their word or not. There might be no progress (or regression) this term, who knows.
Speaking of being honest and progress: Donald Trump is quite possibly the most contradictory man out there. I have worked with a lot of people who change their minds frequently but they all pale in comparison to Trump. I honestly don’t know what he is going to try to do as far as immigration and foreign policy because there have been no clear answers from this man. Seriously, time will tell. That is all there is to it.
Now for some more personal feelings on the matter, last night before I went to sleep I simply said to myself, “have faith.” This morning when I woke up and went on Facebook and read the news and all that jazz I saw what I had hoped for: although Trump won I saw not a single post endorsing his behavior. I saw countless posts condemning his ideas and morals and vows to protect people who may be at risk. A lot of people were thinking about themselves, but some of those same people and far more were thinking of others as well. At the end of it all, I can honestly say that it doesn’t matter who won, we are still stronger together and we are still a united front.
Ready for a plot twist? My boyfriend who swore he would let me find out who won on my own came to bed last night and said “well they finally made a decision.” I knew immediately what that decision was. He kept talking, and even though he didn’t say anything about who won which states, I knew what the reality I was going to have to face today was. After finding this out, I had a dream that I attempted suicide. Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch. It failed epically and on top of that, I was so full of life for the rest of that dream. (If you or someone you know experiences suicidal thoughts there is help. I recommend starting here: http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
After that dream, I had a dream that I reconnected with a woman I have previously had feelings for and we ended up kissing in a completely public area and nobody said a thing. This is something that I would actually be completely uncomfortable doing after the election results. To make matters worse for my comfort levels, we are both African American women with educations. Not exactly a combination for good feelings, sunshine, rainbows, and acceptance.
My third and final dream before I woke up this morning was that I was trapped inside a burning building. I was right on the edge, but the firemen said it was too unsafe to try to leave. I was right on the edge, I could see the other side. I could see safety. I could see all the people watching and not helping, big enough to make out as individual people, but too far away to determine distinct features. This is the world I truly felt like I woke up in, and thankfully, I think I may have been too critical on the rest of the world on that matter.
At the end of the day, I still have absolutely no idea whatsoever who actually voted for Trump. I would be willing to bet that a significant number of his votes came from people who were born and raised Republican and never taught, or perhaps even discouraged from, making their own decisions. A lot of these people were probably also taught that women should not have power because their emotions get in the way, or they are better at home, or all these other reasons that we should have outgrown by now but we certainly have not.
I fear for the Americans who are currently children. As they get older and come to realize what happened, they can either agree with Americans today or they can decide that it was in fact the wrong choice. Either way, they will be largely influenced by their communities, and communities take a lot longer to change than individual people. Even individuals who think differently from the rest of the community are often times silent in order to protect themselves. I have always believed that I would be a parent that would share Black History with my children openly from an early age. This is something that I will have to include in that discussion because this is a defining moment for our nation.
To everybody who has made it this far I want you to know that no matter what happened yesterday, what happens today, and what may happen tomorrow we will survive. There have been too many examples of harm worldwide for us to be the next story. That doesn’t mean we won’t be, but it does mean if we stay educated and alert perhaps we can be the difference. We are stronger together, and love trumps hate. Be safe and be loved.