Is the American Dream dead? It has lead us to a place where its worst promise, that of overwhelming greed—a greed for money, power, and fame—has manifested in the body of one human being, and we have elected that human being as our president.
If you did nothing to elect Hillary Clinton to the presidency, you are complicit in allowing a new kind of fascist rise to power in the United States of America, and now—more than that—to lead it.
I am a white person, and I have watched in empty horror for the past year as other white people, who refused to wake up and think for themselves, allowed an insanely rich person become the voice of “their working class.”
He tapped into a feeling—the feeling that white people were being robbed of the ability to get by in the United States without a white collar job as long as they had white skin—and he made a campaign of it.
I am heartbroken to see that in so many cases this attachment to white entitlement was stronger than gender. In some cases it was stronger than sexuality. The fear of the slipping power of whiteness to other colors of skin (otherwise known as racial equality) coming after eight years of our first black president was so strong for so many that it justified voting for a candidate with absolutely no public office experience. Someone who has never been a public defendant of any kind. And on top of that, someone completely unprepared to be president, who bombed his interview for the position every single time.
Like so many fascist dictators, he has put his name and face on everything he possibly could. Like so many fascist dictators, he has claimed to be “for the people” while blatantly and boldly living a life of unimaginable privilege in broad daylight.
He has only spoken of limiting freedoms for whole populations of people, and yet he has tricked so many into believing that putting power in his hands is the only way they can be assured of unlimited freedom—with absolutely no indication of what freedom underneath his rule looks like, other than not free at all.
Have we not paid attention to world history? To our history? Hitler did not rise to power detailing his plans of genocide. He rose to power as “the voice” for Germany. And then he ruined Germany, and then the world.
Today my heart is broken in every way imaginable for every person who is part of a minority group here in the United Sates and also abroad, who just received a message from the majority of our country that we support a man who has said in every way possible that he hates them. To all minorities: In every way we were complicit in electing this man to the presidency, we have told you we hate you too. We have told you that if you are not white, we hate you. I am so sorry. I am so sorry.
Throughout this election I have been challenged to face my own racism, sexism, and homophobia. Though I do not wish to harbor a single racist, sexist, or homophobic thought, I have, unknowingly, because I am white and straight, and because I grew up in our patriarchal society. These small-minded beliefs have done nothing but hurt me and my understanding of the world, and have made me shrink in fear of the unknown. But education, discussion with people from different backgrounds, and critical thinking have led me to new ways of understanding the people and the world around me. I have been wrong about others, but I have listened to others, and I have learned how wrong I was. I have used education to grow.
Now I sit, gut-punched at four in the morning, devastated because so many other people in the United States chose to be led by simple-minded fear instead of growing, learning, and thinking for themselves.
As a woman I have faced many setbacks all related to my gender. I’ve been sick with reproductive diseases we still don’t really know how to diagnose and treat. I’ve not received equal pay for my work. I’ve been hit on and harassed by bosses and teachers. I’ve been molested. I’ve been raped. I’ve had a hard time being taken seriously for jobs. I’ve had a hard time getting jobs, period. I’ve been ignored, belittled, an abused.
But I’m still straight and white. I still have it so much better than so many people.
I find it appalling that so many white people, simply experiencing competition in the job market from people of other races for the first time in the history of our country, took this as a personal affront. Fellow white people: We’ve never been racially discriminated against. We’re not being racially discriminated against now. But we’re so used to getting what we want when we want it for little to no additional effort, we don’t know how to deal with job competition. We think it’s “racism” against us. It is not.
And it absolutely does not warrant us perpetuating more racism, homophobia, and sexism in response.
Today we witnessed the reality of sexism, as a woman who played by the rules her entire life and served in public office in every way she possibly could in order to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate lost to a man who never did one single thing to be taken seriously as a candidate, who ignored and spat on every rule and was only rewarded for it.
We witnessed the reality of sexism throughout the election as a woman was held to impossible, super-human, saintly standards of perfection, and was crucified any time she so much as said the wrong thing, while her male opponent said the wrong thing multiple times a day, messed up multiple times a week, and was watched like entertainment while he was questioned on nothing and held to no standard whatsoever.
Now we witness the reality of fascism. It can take hold anywhere, even here. And now it has.
I thought I would be lucky to be alive today to witness history, when we stood together and elected our first female president. When we moved forward as a country into better times.
Instead I am horrified to be alive today, when we showed ourselves and the world that we not only no longer deserve to be considered the greatest country in the world, we simply no longer are.