3,000 Miles Away: An American’s Perspective on the Election

Article by Stefanie Dyga

Sitting here on my couch still reeling at the election results, as many are.  I know I’m not alone. Love has permeated (almost) every aspect of my life this week as I continue to talk with others and discuss everything that’s happened. We have hugged and sat together and created safe spaces. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m emotionally and physically drained. As an American, I am absolutely terrified having Donald Trump as a President. I have never felt panic like this. It’s found its way down to my very core and I am in a state of shock as I’ve been for several nights. The election is still bitter on my tongue and I wish I could get the taste of this past week out of my mouth. But I can’t, because this is a reality now. I have cried many, many tears and watched as others around me did the same. On November 10th, America lost a President that stood for integrity, dignity, and acceptance and he is being replaced with a man who is the exact opposite.

 

This reaction from so many of us is different from any other election…it is one of despair, and above, all fear. We are not crying because we lost; it is not that simple. We are crying because we are scared. We are crying because half of the United States willingly checked the box next to a candidate who is the pure definition of racism, sexism, bigotry, and intolerance. He stands for hatred. We are crying because hate crimes are running rampant all over the country – Muslims’ hijabs are being ripped off, women are being publicly groped in the crotch by men, the Confederate flag is displayed all over the place, Muslims and Hispanic people are being told to leave the country. They are being told they will be deported. The KKK is holding a celebratory parade in North Carolina in December, with the current leader calling the day Trump won “the best day of his life.” America isn’t a safe place. I am scared. Millions are scared. It’s not about whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican; it’s about decency. The highest courts in the land put a stamp of approval on Trump’s various counts of sexual assault. He is due in court soon. Our future President is being put on trial for sexual assault, and half of the country believes that it’s okay, that it’s not a big deal. Protests have erupted in major cities all over and in other cities, too. This isn’t trivial. This isn’t to be ignored. These protests come as a direct result from the electing of a man who has the potential to harm millions of Americans. It is dangerous.

 

Things are starting to happen on my campus, too. The hate is spreading. The Saint Mary’s College freshman class was addressed because of the vicious bullying that has happened, and on day 2 no less. A Latina woman, after declaring her undocumented status and displaying pride and courage about it, was told (indirectly over social media) that she would be deported and sent back to where she came from. I’ve heard election snippets about the college across the street, the University of Notre Dame, and the atmosphere over there is hostile as well. This is not the first instance and it will not be the last. It’s happening everywhere, on college campuses all across the country. This cannot be ignored.

 

I don’t know what the future will hold. The next four years have the potential to be anything – and we have the power to change. We will continue to fight for peace in the face of adversity. I’ve seen many posts on social media blasting those who don’t support Trump, calling us “whiny” and “overemotional.” They’re saying we’re ungrateful and that we should just “accept it and move on.” We are not being overdramatic, and accepting open displays of racism and hatred is despicable. The country is in turmoil. I ask all of those calling us overemotional to take a step back and consider the hateful implications of this election. Look at the chaos that has erupted already, and Trump is not even in the White House yet. I will not stand for this candidate. I am strong and know what I believe in, which is a rock-solid foundation of diversity, love and acceptance.

 

I want everyone to know this: it is okay to cry. It is okay to scream. It is okay to not know how to react. Give yourself time to process, and don’t let anyone tell you how you should be feeling. I stand in solidarity with those oppressed, with those who feel too scared to speak up or even step outside their homes. Love. Love, love, love, and love some more. Let it spill off your tongue as you speak and fill up every room you enter. That is what we need right now. That is how we get through, how we cope with something like this. We will continue to fight for what’s right, and I encourage all of you, even those overseas, to do the same. Love trumps hate. He is not my President. He is never my President.