I spent hours of my unglamorous, college-student life pouring my unpaid volunteer time into Hillary Clinton and everything she stands for. To say the election results on November 8th disappointed me would be an understatement. I was more than happy to be an unpaid volunteer for Hillary; I didn’t need any form of compensation or recognition. It was easy for me to fight for a candidate who was fighting for the right things; things that every American citizen deserves.
I attend the largest university in the country, Arizona State. Geographically, I live in a very conservative area and have been surrounded by Donald Trump apparel, on campus and off, for the past eight months or so. I proudly wore my “Nasty Woman” shirt and “H” buttons to class on November 8th, and was met with scoffs, smirks, and a variety of every other weird look you can imagine. Further, I would estimate that for every person on campus in Hillary apparel, there were three people to match in Trump apparel. It was a difficult day for me, even before the results started to roll in. I held my head high, even though I was emotionally charged and fighting back tears, in true “liberal snowflake” fashion.
The morning following the election, I didn’t go to class. I sobbed as I watched Hillary’s concession speech, and I made sure to text and call everyone in my life who was going to be personally and negatively affected by this presidency and administration. All the women, LGBTQIA+, and POC I knew were equally distraught, angry, and confused. How did an incredibly moderate politician, with 40+ years of political experience as a true public servant, lose to a politically illiterate bigot and downright fool?
As a disclaimer, I have friends and family who are Republicans. They are good, hardworking people who just want the best for our country. I have friends and family who voted for Donald Trump, and while I personally did not see any justifiable or rational reason to vote for him, they justified and rationalized their votes to me through open discourse we had in the months and weeks leading up to the election. I have friends of all sorts of differing viewpoints, even several of my Democratic friends were not as enthusiastic about voting for Hillary as I was, which proved to be frustrating and challenging for me at times. I understand this country is predicated on diversity of thought, and I genuinely welcome differing viewpoints and healthy discussion. So long as you are educated about your party platform, as well as the news and current events, I will happily engage in a political discussion with you, at any time.
With that being said, I was sickened by several Republicans’ response to Trump’s victory. I read posts and watched videos on social media crediting my grief to simply being a “crybaby liberal snowflake” living in a “whiny candy ass generation.” Even high school students, who cannot vote, wrote posts about how whiny, millennial college students had no excuse to miss class or to cry all day. I silently unfriended one person after another, in too much pain from the election to even think about engaging the hatred and gloating all over my social media feeds.
I am not writing today to recount the emotional pain I was in during the election or the days following, or even to condemn those whom I removed from my social media. I am writing to explain what I think it actually means to be a “liberal snowflake.” What the #NotMyPresident and #ImStillWithHer hashtags truly mean. What we are feeling, why we are angry, and why we will keep fighting.
We are angry because this election was living proof that you can be an overly qualified woman for a job, and some people still think a subpar man can do the job better. We are angry because this man incited violence at his rallies; speaking openly against movements that seek to acquire racial justice (BLM). We are angry because he bragged about sexually assaulting women and treating them like property. We are angry because this man, time after time, issued heinous comments about his opponent, the current president, and a great bulk of everyday American citizens, those different from himself. We are angry because he proposed no real, tangible policies, and instead ran his campaign on hatred and vitriol. We are angry because the media, certain executives, and certain foreign leaders depicted our candidate in an exaggerated, fallacious, and negative way. We are angry because Hillary Clinton was the most qualified, most dedicated, and most presidential woman the American political system has ever produced, and for some reason, a reason which I will ponder for the rest of my life, that wasn’t enough.
We are angry, but we are not weak nor delicate. We may have cried, we may have been fragile, but we all recognize that our fight is not over. I have personally spoken to so many people since the election, some who had previously been involved in activism and some who had not, about things we can do, every day from now until 2020, and even beyond that. We are going to write and call and email our senators and representatives, we are going to engage in peaceful protest, and we are going to donate to organizations that rely on our support and funding. We are going to continue holding the Trump administration accountable for decisions it makes that hurt our healthcare, our bodily autonomy, our rights and freedoms, our national security, our safety, our foreign policy, our climate, and our diversity. If being a “liberal snowflake” means not being complicit in this presidency and continually fighting for the justice and security of every American citizen – just as Hillary Clinton would have – I will proudly wear the title of “liberal snowflake” any day.
Trump isn’t even in office yet, and I see no need to “Make America Great Again.” If I’ve learned one thing from Hillary Clinton, her staff, and the many incredible people I’ve met through our dedication to her and her cause, it’s that America is great and good exactly how it is.