Hilary Hodge: This election was not about winning or losing
I have spent the last week crying.
I have cried for people of color who face an imminent threat from emboldened racism.
I have mourned with my friends who have been battling cancer, who will no longer be insured if Obamacare gets repealed.
I have cried for my gay friends and for LGBTQ youth whose equality is uncertain. I have cried for Latinos who are suddenly suspect and whose families may be in danger of forced divide.
I have cried with young women fearful about family planning and a lack of options. I have cried for women across this country who have spent the last several months watching a qualified woman go out for a job that went to a man with far less experience.
I cry for all the victims of sexual assault who listened to Donald Trump not just admit to sexually assaulting women, but boasted about it.
I cry for the kind of message this sends to young women and marginalized populations across the United States and the world.
In September, I wrote a piece asking if the Presidential Election really mattered. In the column I noted, “When you have a candidate like Donald Trump who targets whole populations of people, belittles women, mocks the handicapped, and scapegoats entire religions and races, the election is no longer about legislation or economic policy. This presidential election is about America and our value system.”
There are many of us who, after voicing our dismay about Tuesday’s election, have been told to “get over it,” to “stop being a sore loser.” But, for many of us, this election wasn’t about winning or losing. It wasn’t about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. For LGBTQ people, for people of color, for women, for people of non-Christian religious faiths, this election wasn’t about a candidate. For us, this election was about our health and safety. We cannot simply get over it.
For those who voted for Trump, not out of overt racism or sexism, but as an anti-establishment vote, who are now decreeing a “wait and see” attitude, Trump has already aligned himself with, and has appointed dangerous extremists to his cabinet. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are.” We are the company we keep. Trump’s newly appointed Chief Policy Advisor Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News, is closely associated with the alt-right, a modern movement of outspoken white supremacism. Trump’s pick to lead his domestic transition team, Ken Blackwell, who may have a long and esteemed resume, has over and over condemned equal rights for the LGBT community. Many Trump supporters have poo-pooed what they see as “Leftist Alarmism,” but they are failing to recognize the real fear and despondency in the communities of people who will be marginalized under a Trump administration.
My niece, Mariana, is 14 years old. She is Latina. Her parents are divorced. On her mom’s side, she is the second oldest of six; her younger siblings are half black. On the morning after the election, she posted a picture of her and her siblings. The caption read:
“I want to apologize to the children in our nation, and especially these kids right here. I love my younger siblings with all of my heart, and I feel like our country has failed them. This generation is supposed be the generation to move forward through our country’s past, and make it the place these kids deserve, where all of them can feel welcome, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
“But, thanks to some people who took advantage of our young age, decided to set our country back, years of accomplishments wasted, because they decided to vote for a racist, homophobic, sexist, and alleged rapist as our president. Did anyone think of how this could affect our generation, and not just their own life? Did they think of how many lives they had just changed, and practically ruined?
“Some children are feeling threatened for being themselves, and the fact that our new president is the cause of that is absolutely absurd. It’s time to be adults now people; we can’t do it for you. You’ve set our country back, but you’re not the one’s paying the price.”
I cry the most for the children in my life. I ache for their future. I cry because I could not protect them from this. And yet, it is because of them, their values and what they stand for, that I continue to have hope.
Hilary Hodge lives in Grass Valley. Her column is published by The Union on Tuesdays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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