Where do we go now?
As I excitedly cast my vote for America’s first female president, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I voted early – tenth in line at 6 a.m., to be exact – so it’s not like my nerves were from live election results. In fact, had I been watching any media outlet at 6 a.m. on Nov. 8, I would’ve felt beyond reassured that Hillary Clinton was 24 short hours away from history.
But for some reason, I had a bad feeling about this election, and the feeling didn’t go away.
It was there as my colleagues and I excitedly talked about our triumphant “you go girl” votes.
It was there as I bought a 6-pack of IPAs to (hopefully) celebrate a shattered glass ceiling.
And it was there as analysts fumbled over their words while trying to keep Hillary’s chances – and their reputations – alive.
Then, just like millions of dumbstruck Americans, the pit in my stomach was no longer just a feeling – it was a reality.
Donald Trump, the sexist, xenophobic, racist reality TV star was named America’s new president.
In two short months, the man who fired Bret Michaels from the Celebrity Apprentice will hold the most important job in our country without an ounce of political experience. The man who brags about grabbing girls’ genitals will protect us from terrorists.
Ha ha ha.
If there was a time for I can’t even, it is now.
In fact, I couldn’t even for most of today. Like many of you, I was in a grieving haze, contemplating a move to Canada or, perhaps easier, a hibernation through 2020.
But we can’t live that way. This sucks, it absolutely sucks, but dear God, somehow this is reality, and if you have even a twinge of concern (if you don’t, I have plenty to share), you can’t sit back and cry for the next four years.
Instead of blaming the system, hating on the opposite party or pretending it will all go away (I tried – it doesn’t work), you need to act. Have a voice. Take a stance. Support your causes.
One of my absolute biggest concerns in all of this is the environment. Our poor, poor environment that asked for none of this but is undoubtedly at risk to face the brunt of it.
Trump has repeatedly (chillingly) denied the global dangers of climate change. He not only ignores scientific and military evidence that proves the future of our planet is at severe risk – he wants to cut payments to U.N. climate change programs and possibly “cancel the Paris climate agreement.”
But I’m not going to sit back scared as our beautiful Earth crumbles from climate change. I’m going to do everything in my power to protect this planet.
That means getting involved with organizations like the Sierra Club, which just launched an emergency campaign urging President Obama to use his remaining power to preserve environmental protections. I’ll donate, I’ll sign the petition, I’ll use any reach I have on social to get the word out.
I love this planet with all of my heart, and I’m going to use every opportunity I have to fight for it – now more than ever.
Another concern? Acceptance. Love. Equality. I don’t think we need to explain Mr. Trump’s appalling viewpoints on this, do we?
Whether it’s culture, religion, sexual orientation, etc., each and every person is unique in their own special way – and thank God. The blend of all walks of life is what makes America great; I’m not going to stand by and watch our progress get clouded with hate.
Instead of just letting my blood boil (and oh, is it boiling on this one), I’m going to use my power as a citizen to peacefully fight back by supporting organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, which issued a statement following last night’s utter chaos:
“For our part, HRC will continue our fight for equality and justice for all with greater urgency and determination than ever before. We must. Lives literally depend on it.”
Let’s fight the good fight.
In full disclosure, I’m not really a hardcore, in your face political person. I watch the news, I read up on my candidates, and I vote, of course. But last night, everything changed.
This isn’t about a love for politics or the need to be right – it’s about defending our freedom and protecting our future. While deep, deep, deeeeep down I’m praying Donald Trump proves us anti-Trumpers wrong with more realistic, moderate stances – and if he does, I promise you I’ll change my tone – I can’t sit back and watch our country collapse. Neither should you.
This nightmare may feel too tough to overcome right now, but we have to. It’s a reality. Yes, signing a petition, writing a letter, or donating to a cause may seem ridiculously trivial at this moment in time – trust me, I get that – but really, it’s all we’ve got. We can sit back and sulk, or do everything humanly (and peacefully) possible to fix this fiasco.
We have an important, enviable freedom to fight for our beliefs here in the United States, so please, go out and use it wisely.
Disclaimer: I realize this is by no way a travel or adventure post (well, maybe adventure – but not the good kind), but I needed an outlet for my frustrations after nearly 24 hours of pure panic. This post is not intended to be a political discussion – we have enough of that right now, don’t we? – this is meant to help disheartened Americans like myself find some semblance of hope and opportunity in an unprecedentedly troubling time. I will not respond to any trolling, angry, hateful comments right now. I’m sorry. I just can’t – so don’t.