a country divided

a country divided

To be quite frank, I just feel disappointed. In my family, in my country, and in the situation we’re in right now. The night of the 2016 election, my only obligation was to study for an APUSH test the next day, but it was hard for me to tear my eyes away from the screen in the living room. I felt a little blank, empty even as Donald Trump’s electoral votes pulled ahead. My parents and brothers sat around me, rejoicing. They hadn’t supported the entirety of Trump’s actions, but their conservative and traditionally Republican upbringing were enough to look past Trump’s controversies to vote for him. I myself have never really been that into politics until this year; after years of my immediate and extended family’s support for the Republican party, it’s kind of how I thought other white families were, too. I didn’t think there was another option when I was younger because what my parents told me is really all I knew during my childhood. When you’re a kid, you listen to your parents and that’s that.

2008 was the first time Hillary Clinton considered running, and I, being the young and naïve girl that I was, professed my excitement at a president like me to my grandparents. I honestly thought it was the coolest thing that there would be a “girl president” and exclaimed that they should vote for her. I still remember the tension in that room eight years later; it left that deep of an impression on me. That moment was a precursor for the many disagreements with my family that I would run into in the years to come, but I just didn’t know it then.

On the night of this year’s election, I went to bed early that night, just to get away from it all. A post of mine on social media featuring a sad face as the caption of Trump’s numbers pulling ahead. As expected, I received mixed reviews of my statement. What I noticed while scrolling through social media that night is that generally girls and people of color I knew agreed with me, while boys I knew commented things like “trump train,” “look at the scoreboard,” and “make America great again.” Most of them weren’t directed at me or my post, but I did have a Mater Dei boy message me, asking me why I opposed Trump and slamming my views on reproductive rights. I was seething and furious that people close to me could be so rude as to slam my views, while I hadn’t put them down at all. I just stated my opinion, which I have the right to do. I realized that I had had enough of Trump supporters that day. I was in shock, too, to be honest; I feel like I had a right to be after such a surprising comeback by Trump.

After this long election season, it’s apparent that racial division is deeply cutting our country apart. 63% of white men and 52% of white women voted for Trump, while 80% of black men, 93% of black women, 62% of Latino men and 68% of Latino women all voted for Clinton. It’s clear that we have to pull this country together again.

The aftermath of this election also had a personal impact on me. If Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate are able to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict female reproductive rights, I’ll lose some of my rights as a woman. I know it hasn’t happened yet and that I’m getting ahead of myself. But what if it does happen? What if I’m sexually assaulted in college, and getting an abortion isn’t possible with Trump’s new policies? What if the government limits my control of my own body? How could my father, the man who is supposed to be my protector, my flesh and blood, support a man that wants to limit my rights or even punish me if I choose to seek out an abortion? How could he support a man that he himself has been accused of sexual assault? If the majority of our country supports this man, does that mean we’re condoning this type of behavior?

Right now, the message my country is sending me is that as a young woman, my rights don’t matter. I get the whole argument advocating for Trump; he’s an outsider that’s going to shake up politics and bring change. But at what cost? And is it the change that we’ve been waiting for, or something else entirely?

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