By Sarah Stubbs
As I begin this column at 2:10 a.m. on Nov. 9, I am sad and I am embarrassed. I just got done watching the election results being reported and discussed on CNN for the past five hours with some of my closest Democratic friends whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few months as we bonded over a shared hope for an inclusive, thriving America.
Originally I was going to take a break from writing political columns and publish a write-up about everything I learned last week at the Gen IX Ohio Student Summit on sexual assault and gender-based violence. Ironic, right? Donald J. Trump has been selected to be our next President of the United States – and I was going to run a positive, hopeful article about sexual assault awareness on campuses nationwide, and the resources available to victims.
At this moment, I do not feel hopeful. I only feel disappointment and shame.
Throughout the entire day today, and the last few months of the election season, I never had an inkling of doubt that Hillary Clinton would not be our next president. I was so sure that a woman who has spent her entire career in public service could never lose to a candidate with zero political and military experience who launched his campaign by talking down to American minorities and demonizing our democracy.
Racism and misogyny are alive and rampant in this country. CNN’s Van Jones called these results a “white-lash” against a changing country just a few hours ago, and I could not agree more. Americans who have been increasingly uncomfortable and angry watching a black man live in the White House for the last eight years have voiced their votes and now our children and grandchildren will have to live with the effects of that.
The results of this election prove that the majority of Americans have a very narrow view of what the American dream is. They hold a greedy, selfish view of what it means to be an American. There is no sugarcoating this. What we are seeing is peak white privilege.
It’s easy to dismiss your candidate’s racism when it won’t ever affect you.
A lot of my white friends are retweeting tweets that say not all Trump supporters are racist or anti-gay. Sure, there’s some truth to that. But please consider thinking about what it might be like to be a Muslim American right now. Please consider what it might feel like to explain the election results to Latino children, a gay teen who’s just come out, a woman who’s a victim of sexual assault, or a black child who’s only been alive to see President Barack Obama lead our country.
My heart is so heavy because I cannot stop thinking about many of the people I love dearly who no longer feel that they belong in our country. My Arabic best friend. My gay, bisexual, and trans friends. My black friends. They do not feel represented. And they are scared. I’m scared too.
Shocked and deeply disappointed, I asked a seasoned, highly-educated, and successful Democratic woman I was with this evening what we do now. I love what she had to say.
She said that we volunteer. We donate. And we do as much as we can for Planned Parenthood, the homeless, minority Americans, and our friends in the LGBTQ community.
She’s 100 percent right. While I am still sad and ashamed and will need a few days to soak this all in, I have simultaneously never felt more motivated in my life to make our country and our world a better place than it is now.
Election season may be over, but my activism is just beginning. I will not be silent in moments of injustice. I will continue to fight for women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBTQ rights every single day. I will stand with victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence. I will continue to care about our planet and tell others why they should too. And finally, I will do everything that I possibly can to help our country’s youth value education and learn about the civic processes of our democracy, as well as the history behind the systemic racism, bigotry, and misogyny that have created this reality that we call our American life.