I didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election.
I feel sick, ashamed and guilty ― as I should.
A shockingly evil man is the leader (and the FACE) of our country. After all the nasty things this man has said and done, I’m bewildered at how many people supported him. And I was the bystander. I watched from afar as the bully gained power, making me just as bad as the bullies who voted for him.
I want to formally apologize to people of America ― every woman, person of color, LBTQIA, muslim, immigrant, and disabled individual. Anyone who doesn’t feel safe anymore.
I have this awful feeling in my gut, similar to the one where you do something stupid and immediately regret it. Like the time I put one foot on a scooter and one foot in a rollerblade, resulting in a broken arm. Except this is a trillion times worse.
Until a few days before the election, I was apathetic. Living abroad the past 18 months made me feel detached from the U.S., and I typically rolled my eyes at the mention of the election. Clinton and Trump were equally scary candidates to me. I was uninformed. I figured other people would take care of it. Surely, no one would let Trump become America’s next leader.
I avoid things that make me feel anything other than happy. This is why I refuse to watch crime shows or horror movies. It’s also why I stay far away from politics. It’s stressful, confusing, confrontational, frustrating and makes me feel powerless. So, I avoid it.
I avoided the news. I avoided conversations. I avoided articles. I put it out of my brain and couldn’t even be bothered to figure out an absentee ballot from abroad. Pure laziness and apathy.
A couple of days before the election, I realized what I had done. Or, rather, not done. Guilt started creeping into my heart and soul.
By this time, it was too late to send in an absentee ballot. I was upset and regretful, but nothing could prepare me for how I’d feel on Election Day.
From my office in Brisbane, I watched as Trump’s numbers creeped (and sometimes jumped) higher and higher. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I waited for California to turn blue on my map, but I saw my hope of them closing the gap move further out of reach as more states turned red.
Adrenaline was pumping through me and it always makes me feel sick. Like I said, I avoid feeling anything other than happy. And then he won. The evil racist, the sleazy businessman, the vile sexist, the narcissistic animal. I didn’t realize how terrified I was of him until his presidency became a reality.
I’m writing this because, out of the estimated 100 million people who didn’t vote, I know I can’t be alone in feeling guilty and ashamed. There have to be others out there who watched with dread as Trump won. Thinking to themselves, “What have I done?” or “I could have made a difference.”
Own your mistake and learn from it.
I’ve always been a person who had to learn lessons the hard way. I’m just sorry it affected so many people this time.
Apathy is not the answer, especially when it comes to lives of so many incredible, courageous, kind, beautiful, amazing, innocent and generous people. I’m sorry. And on behalf of others who didn’t vote, I’m sorry.
I promise I won’t let this happen again. I’ll purposefully be informed and I WILL vote. Heck, I might even join a campaign team. My hope is that it’s a candidate I can truly get behind, but either way I promise to be more active and use my voice as a voice for those who don’t have one.
In the meantime, I’ll stand with you as we show that love can overpower the hateful rhetoric Trump and his minions *try* to spread. More than anything I want you to feel safe and welcome and LOVED. You deserve it.
My deepest, most sincere apologies, America. I love you so much.