There are a lot of things that I have felt in my 33 years as an American. Pride being the most common one… I am not the flag-waving, Constitution-thumping American that some of my friends are, but I have always been proud to be an American. Sure, sometimes I’ve been frustrated to be an American, or worried to be an American, but pride has always been the overwhelming majority. This morning I woke up with a totally different feeling: fear. Today I woke up feeling scared to be an American. As I set off on my morning run I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder, afraid of what it means to be a woman in Trump’s America.
Aside from fear, I also feel sorry… very deeply sorry. To all of my LGBTQ friends, to all of my Hispanic friends, to all of my African-American friends, to all of my Muslim friends, to all of my disabled friends, to all of my women friends, to anyone that has felt discriminated against or alienated by the Trump campaign and it’s affects: I am so sorry. I’m sorry that we as a nation have chosen to condone and even, somehow, reward this kind of behavior and exclusionary rhetoric. To all of my foreign friends who tried to warn us: I’m sorry we didn’t listen.
But if there’s one other thing that has been instilled in me as an American, it is hope. I refuse to give in to cynicism, and instead choose to proceed with skepticism. I am skeptical that a campaign driven by insults, lies, and fear mongering can result in something different, but I am hopeful that it will. I hope that the man we have elected into office realizes the gravity of his words and actions, for now they have the potential to do irreparable harm. The fear and dread that have now taken root via a knot in my stomach are real, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. I hope that Mr. Trump is a wildly successful president. I hope that I look back on this post a year from now and feel silly for having written it. And mostly I hope that despite what so many of us are feeling now, we are ultimately able to prove that Americans are still inherently good, still unfailingly decent, and still compassionately kind to one another. We need it now more than ever.