And there you have it, America. We had the opportunity to come together and stand up to hate and division and we failed. While Clinton may have won a slight lead in the popular vote, we still managed to elect a man who is the exact opposite of what this country represents. And, unfortunately, that happens from time to time. Just like every now and then a best friend or a sister, or any family member, marries someone who is just not even close to good enough for them. I had a feeling Donald Trump would win, not because he has shown that he’s a great leader, because he fits the picture of what so many think is presidential. Hey, screw what he says and that he’s the least qualified candidate to ever run for office–look at him. I knew that Clinton has been guilty in the eyes of many for decades. They’re just waiting for the crime they can actually convict her for. It’s astounding. You know what they say about powerful women, right? Weak men can’t stand them. Girls who have never struggled or have yet to break through what’s holding them back don’t trust them. Empowered women empower women. Our women didn’t show up for us last night. So many did and I love that. But so many didn’t. We all know what we lost. I’m trying to focus on what I’ve actually gained. Is there a silver lining?
Through this election season and the making of Trumpland, I’ve heard some pretty vile and derogatory things. I’ve heard minorities and women and the disabled being mocked and ridiculed. I’ve heard the victims of sexual assault being verbally assaulted over and over again. I’ve watched as an overqualified woman had just about every email she’s ever written public for the world to see. Could you imagine? I’ve listened to every excuse as to why Hillary Clinton should not be our next president while those same people were never able to articulate why, in fact, Donald Trump should be our president. And while Donald Trump was the actual leader in all of that, I heard it the most on social media and day-to-day interactions with family, acquaintances, old friends, and even strangers. I say old friends because while we may have spent a lot of time together in high school, we are not friends anymore. But for some reason they still pollute my Facebook feed. And that’s what I’ve gained in the making of Trumpland. I’ve gained awareness.
I knew all this hate, and even apathy, existed but I didn’t realize how close it was to me. I didn’t realize that so many women that had some sort of part in my growth, voted for a man like Donald Trump. Why? Because he’s republican, and so are you? Start thinking on your own, please. Because the only way I can wrap my head around why you did is that you got lost in all the propaganda. You were too busy listening to the bullshit narrative that Hillary Clinton is evil and going to kill all the babies while taking away all the guns. No, you didn’t have to vote for Hillary because she was a woman. But you could have voted for Hillary Clinton because she would have and has been fighting for women’s rights. She’s been fighting for children’s rights. She helps survivors of domestic and sexual assault. She doesn’t believe that a woman should just keep quiet and listen to her man. She doesn’t believe you should keep your head down and do what he says. We all know she had to walk that path at some points in her life and she’s overcome it.
And I think that’s what breaks my heart the most. I personally know women who are in relationships and marriages with men who literally do abuse them, both physically and mentally, and they just voted for Trump. (Disclaimer: you are not a punching bag for your husband’s bad days.) It’s like they are afraid to step past the misogyny that has been holding them back, so they just vote to continue with it. It’s easier. Why draw attention to a problem that you can just hide? Part of me wants to give them a huge hug because they clearly need it, and part of me just doesn’t even know how to communicate with them anymore. If you keep cutting off your nose to spite your face, how will you wear the glasses that can lead you away? And then I stop for a moment and look at who they surround themselves with. And then I start to understand why they stay where they are. The men they’ve tied themselves to are the obvious type of Trump supporter. The stereotypical ones. They belittle them every chance they get and slowly chip away at their self-worth. And then other men and women in their life are people who believe that a woman should just forgive and be quiet and let God handle it and all will be okay. No. That’s not how it works. If you’re faith rests in the hands of God then you have to actually look at what he’s showing you. You have to channel that faith inwards and believe in yourself.
When I have friends and family who end up in relationships with domestic violence I always look at the people surrounding them. I listen to the messages those people send. I stand confident that those are not my people. We know the abuser is scum, but who is empowering these women to know they are better alone? And if alone is something you just don’t believe you can do, look to the right women. We will always help you. Even after I tell you to stop cutting off your nose to spite your face, I will help you. Like-minded men and women will help you. We won’t look down on you or pity you, we will help you.
I’m so thankful I go home to a man who will never put me in that position. I’m thankful I didn’t marry someone who would look over my shoulder while voting on a ballot, or operate our home by fear and intimidation. I’m thankful I separated myself from believing to remain meek and your problems will go away. While I know not just women suffering in abusive relationships voted for Trump, I focus on them the most because my heart aches for them the most. And with my acknowledgement of that, I’ve gained the confidence in myself and the family I’ve created to distance myself from those that enable that behavior. If you have a loved one in an abusive relationship and you encourage them to just rock it out and not to disagree with their spouse anymore, I don’t think I can break bread with you anymore. I don’t think I can stay silent.
It seems that so many people need that dominate male in their life to believe the world is in order and everything will be okay. But the tricky thing is that the dominant male doesn’t have to be an asshole. And the person in power doesn’t have to be a man who brags about using their social position to take advantage of others. It’s like America just married the man all the sane people in our life warned us about but we decided on him anyway because of the few people who said, “Well, you know, everyone has problems. You gotta just see it through. He makes you laugh, right?” Those clowns sure are funny. It was easier to just join the apparent masses. Why ruffle any feathers?
I’ve learned who to separate myself from and who to continue to grow stronger with. I’ve been validated in the life choices I’ve made for myself. Just as others have shown me their colors, I’ve waved mine freely. I know there are many people who do not agree with me. I know that I’ve pissed some people off through this season. Yet I’ve become more confident in my views of the world. I’ve become more confident that I am taking the right path to make this world just a little bit better, just a little more each day. I’ve become more thankful that my brain is wired to see the good, to research the uncertain, and to make decisions based on logic. And because of that, I’m thankful for what I’ve gained in this messed up making of Trumpland. It’s good to know who your people truly are.
However America’s relationship goes with our next president, I’m thankful it is one that will definitely end in divorce. And until that day comes, I hope there’s a lot of counseling and fair compromise that takes place so that we’re not all walking around bruised and battered while he’s off making lewd jokes and just smiling away. We all know that guy. And now we’re all going to see that guy for at least four more years.