We did it, America. After what seemed like a lifetime of a campaign season, the people have spoken. A new leader has been chosen to both head the country and represent the American people to the rest of the world, and the choice of an unhinged, xenophobic, racist, misogynist, impetuous, backpedaling schemer was the winner. Along with that leader comes a partner equally disconnected from time and reality. This is what we have to look forward to.
We live among roughly 60 million people whose choice to lead the country was someone who actively detested, disregarded, or disrespected an overwhelming majority of the people of the world. Not just the country, but the world. Sixty million people made a choice to vote based on hate. Among those supporters, somewhere around half of them got behind a person who categorically discounted them in some way.
Many will say they didn't support the various hateful views but backed other aspects of the campaign. That works as well as having stuck with Hitler for his views on animal rights while saying the plan to eliminate Jews wasn't ideal. Whichever way way a voter decided on November 8, they made that decision accepting the total package of their chosen candidate.
After at least some portion of the 60 million people decided that none of the positions the candidate held were negative enough to sway them in any other direction, this is where we're at. People are scared. People are scrambling. For as much as people want to say "hope for the best, expect the worst," the damage is done for a lot of people, and it's only barely begun. Whether it's the country as a whole or the people you thought you knew, many people were just dealt a harsh blow in the turnout alone.
A lot of people just got thrown under the bus regardless of what actually happens at the hands of the government. Even if things don't change in the manners that the rhetoric hinted they would, we've already gone backwards. Not only are people unsure if they'll be able to remain in the country, or enter the country, or have access to the goods or services they previously had, they know that 60 million people are fine with them living with that uncertainty.
As an educated 32 year old white man—of the highest privilege short of being in the top "1%" of earners—a lot of what has the potential to go wrong for a lot of people doesn't affect me directly. About the only thing that will change for me is my personal taxes. Meanwhile, I get to watch my friends, family, and millions of others wonder for the next two months about what life is going to be like, and eventually live that apparent nightmare.
But I'm not just going to watch. People like me have watched for too long, and lately I have done too much watching. I don't yet know exactly what I'm going to do to help, but I've done enough other advocacy and outreach work to know that I can make a difference.
At least I hope so.