A First Time for Everything from a First Time Voter
By Dionne Blake
I am not surprised.
I am shocked. But not surprised.
On the date of November 9th, 2016 it was officially declared that we voted in President-Elect Donald Trump.
The election was monumental for 2 reasons:
- We were close to having a female as president.
- America once again witnessed favorability via popular vote, but majority in the electoral college. Albeit, the domination of one over the other was slim, but still present nonetheless.
For the purpose of this account, I will not express bias or go into meaningless hypotheticals over the politics of who should be president. Nor will I go around spreading fear to children that “Winter is Coming” (even though here in Florida it never seems to reach us) and state that “It’s the apocalypse”, because I want to address the main concern about this situation. Those concerned in this nation are not worried over the presidency of Trump because of who he is (ok maybe a little). We are worried because of what he stands for and what he projects. And I understand I can’t speak on behalf of everyone, but based on social media posts, murmurings from passersby, and being around minorities specifically (and being one) I have noticed this general theme.
Hence to this point, let me backtrack to clarify further my previous assertion, because there is a difference between surprise and shock. Surprise can be defined, according to the Oxford Dictionary, as the feeling associated with an “unexpected or astonishing event.” Now shock is similar in that it is “a feeling of disturbed surprise resulting from a sudden upsetting event” and also contains that word “surprise” in it. But the difference lies in two key words: surprise occurs when “unexpected”, whereas shock occurs from feeling “disturbed”.
In this case I am not surprised, because this outcome was not unexpected. Although for weeks and months, political polls were leaning favorably in Clinton’s direction, there was skepticism because what they didn’t foresee, were the hidden, “closet” Trump supporters, and an undermining of the rural white vote. I think the problem on Clinton’s part is she did not seem to have the stage presence and interpersonal skills to entice the public. Speculation over the emails also did not help, as these continued alienating voters. But I digress, I was shocked, because this was a disturbing feeling. Disturbing, because it revealed the underlying sentiments still present within this country today. I believe we relied too much on reason to prevail.
That was too much hope.
People are worried about this man as president because he represents a lack of predictability, which may work perhaps in a game of poker, but not applicable when playing in the world of government and when running a nation.
We are worried about this man, because for months he has been preaching hatred and division.
We are worried because his election into office has affirmed that it is okay to “grab [women] by the pussy”. That it is okay to go around and completely denigrate a whole group of Muslims, and spread xenophobia. That it is okay to blatantly disregard rights, to blatantly disrespect veterans, to blatantly disrespect anyone to be frank.
I have seen people cry for the first time after this election. I have seen pure agony at this outcome. My own friends have cried. Hell, I want to cry. I am experiencing first-hand how politics are creating rifts in friendships. Tension. Disappointment. Frustration. These are emotions which transcend the smaller social circles to the broader sentiments of people (and some minorities) because we are concerned about the aftermath. How will people respond now that Trump has pretty much affirmed everything that is wrong is right?
I am not worried for Trump’s presidency. I am worried about the actions of the individuals who supported him as witnessed by the mob mentality and frightening sentiments at his rallies.
But to hear from people, during election day, that claimed “Oh I don’t really care who’s president I’m just shocked Trump’s winning” is probably the worst thing I’ve heard in this election. Because you should care. Or at least show an interest for the future of this country. And I may get hate for this post. That’s fine. Because at least it shows you care.
In the end, I only want unity in this country. I want to understand, and want others to try to understand, not blame and point fingers as we see in this aftermath. You should try to understand the position of others before blatantly putting down other choices and throwing crude language around. And the only way to achieve this is by understanding everyone’s viewpoint and addressing crucial questions. Why do some people feel disenfranchised? What are the motivations behind support for Trump? What were the motivations to support the other choices?
This country is not comprised of Republicans and Democrats. This country is comprised of people who try to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We all have our differences. But if we constantly try to divide ourselves through race and these differences, how can we expect to consider ourselves the “United” States of America?
Because in the end, we are all living together.
That’s what matters. Please don’t forget it.