I realize that this topic as of November 8th has been thoroughly beaten to death and some may even call it “old news” in the fast-paced, digital world that we live in. Everyone has already moved passed the initial shock and insanity of the moment to protests, school children writing letters pleading our future president to “be nice”, and the latest administration member he has chosen, but I am still reeling from the election itself and the dreadful night, the exact moment actually, when I realized that the United Staes of America was going to implode in on itself, and there was nothing anyone could do about it now.
As an individual who has always struggled with anxiety, the last 3 months or so have been a nightmare seeing all the headlines and news stories about the latest stunt our now president-elect has pulled. But it wasn’t his actions that necessarily had me so anxious. It was the fact that so many people could look at him and be “ok” with what he was doing and saying. That there were so many people in this country backing him, raising him higher, looking to him for all the answers and their own salvation. How did it come to this, America?
I remember sitting in my summer class in 2015 discussing the election with my fellow classmates. I was in New Jersey at the time (where political views are much different than my current location of Western, PA) and we joked about how Trump does this all the time. He throws his name in and ruffles a few feathers and then pulls out. He’s in no way a viable candidate.
As the months came and went and it was clear Trump was here for the long haul, I recall saying to my dad one evening, “How can people not know how utterly and completely wrong Trump is in what he says and his actions?” I didn’t mean “wrong” in the sense that he was incorrect, I meant it in the respect that it is wrong to push down another kid on the playground or it is wrong to steal. The basics of correct and incorrect behavior that most people would agree upon. And yet here is this man, so devastatingly wrong and spreading nothing but hate while so many people find him to be “right”.
And then fast forward to 2 weeks before election day and that’s when the anxiety and the reality of it all kicked in. This was really happening. Donald J. Trump was not only going to be on the 2016 presidential ballot but he also had a real chance at winning it. He spent over a year traveling and spreading hate and bringing out the worst emotions and thoughts in people and fueling their fear and now, he could very well be sitting in the iconic Oval Office come February, 2017. How did it come to this, America?
Finally, the fateful day arrived. I made plans to watch the results come in with 2 friends in my apartment complex and I vowed to myself to remain quiet, no matter what happened being that I would be in the company of not diehard Trump fans, but definitely diehard “down with Hillary” fans. I had honestly thought I would be biting back a grin and a gloat, but as the night dragged on, it became clear I would be holding back tears.
The next morning (after staying up until 4AM, willing the results to change), I woke up and got ready for class and made my way to campus. I felt as if a nuclear bomb had been dropped on New York City and I was just expected to continue about my normal routine, my everyday life. How did it come to this, America?
Now, ten days after everything crashed down around me, I am just starting to come out of my numbness that I encased myself in in order to continue living my life. I had turned off the news, avoided political websites and magazines, and I quietly mourned for my country and for the future. So yes, some might think that this post comes a bit late, but for me, it isn’t.
I am scared. I am panicked. For me, for this country, for the children of this country, and for the rest of the world that is forced to have to deal with this mess we have made. I ask again, to anyone that thinks they have an answer – How did it come to this, America?