I hoped to wake up this morning to the announcement of the first ever female president. Instead, my fears were confirmed as I reluctantly looked at my phone to see that Donald Trump was elected president.
There has been a lot of talk about what to do if he were elected president. Apparently the Canadian immigration site went down last night, so the idea to move out of the country was on everyone’s minds. Back in 2000 when George W. Bush was campaigning, I was in Spain with my family after a 6-month stint abroad for school. I joked then that I would be coming back to live there if he won (half serious). My uncle even sent me an email asking when I’d be arriving after the final results came in.
This time, though, I didn’t even joke about it. Much like when the Catholic Church was in the depths of controversy over the horrific abuses that were being covered up, I never once considered leaving the Church. Why? It’s MY church, that’s why. The Catholic Church is its people, not the institution. And this is MY country. The country that belongs to us as Americans – born and raised here, or new to it, it is ours.
Am I disappointed? Saddened? Scared and worried about the future? Of course. I have a little girl who, thankfully, doesn’t know what’s going on now. But I still feel as if I’ve failed her. I want her to grow up in a world where her gender doesn’t define how far she can go, and her Mexican roots are something to be proud of, not a reason for others to shame her.
Where do we go now? Last night I was starting to go a little crazy watching the results pour in, so I stuck on an episode of the show Daniel Tiger for Laurel to watch about voting. When one side lost, their teacher asks if the kids can find anything good about the other choice winning. Obviously, their choices were a little easier and less controversial than the presidential election this year. But it did get me to thinking – what good can come of this election? I’ve seen so much passion from this election – now, what are we going to do with that passion?
There’s going to be a grieving period for a lot of us. But do we just give up and wait it out, or do we take this momentum, anger, love, and passion and make our voices heard? These are the questions I’ll be asking myself in the coming weeks. What can I do? What am I doing to change things? Am I listening and understanding, or becoming bitter and stubborn? I really don’t think that half the country is racist, misogynistic, and stupid. I do think that there are a lot of people who are scared and frustrated, though. How can we close the gap? How can we educate each other, and create an understanding? This country is more than its leaders, it’s all of us, and we have to find a way to work together.