Thoughts on #Election2016

Today is a historic day in U.S. and probably the world. I do not really ever feel the need to blog about politics; I don’t really even like to talk about politics in person, yet alone online. But I feel like this is the first election I’ve been eligible to vote in (and there’s only been two) where I actually feel like a part of the minority, even though the country is apparently about 50/50 split between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the popular vote (which arguably is the one that should matter, right?).

Since many of my blog followers are not American, I thought I might share one American’s viewpoint that may not be as heavily represented in the news or even on social media which is by and large heavily polarized conservative or liberal.

I am a woman. On my birth certificate under race/ethnicity, I am categorized Mexican-American. So I am a minority, despite having lived a very privileged life. I’m very light-skinned. My parents were responsible and waited to have children until they’d made sure they could provide for (and afford) me and my brother. I have the privilege of both my parents still being married to one another. I was born with no disabilities and, though I feel cocky saying it, I’ve got a brain. I’m pretty smart. I’ve had almost every advantage possible for a hispanic girl who was not born into money or with connections. And I feel like the country I have lived in for all my 23 years has allowed me to be where I am now and strive to go even further.

One more thing about me personally, I identify as an Independent.

I’ve voted Democratic in each election I’ve been eligible, but I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life. I know what it is like to live in a place that is dominated by an invisible majority. And I say invisible because I do not see Trump supporters when I walk down the street, go to class, or out to eat. Maybe because I don’t venture into rural areas, but also because I think there are more people that do not fit the stereotype some would have us believe that all Trump supporters are uneducated, poor, white, and male. I think the exit polls have proven that it’s not the case. I think Trump supporters are also a silent majority who have not publicized their support for him either because they are ashamed (and secretly prejudiced) or just afraid of liberal backlash.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that liberalism is associated with elitism. I don’t have the most complete understanding of why this is or the literature to back up my claims, but it might be because intellectuals are more likely to be liberal (Democrats) and intellectuals are people who have the had the privilege of more education than the average joe who maybe couldn’t afford college or couldn’t see the long-term value of investing time and money into it.

Elites are not the majority. And I think similar to Brexit earlier this year, we are seeing that the people who constitute this majority, who are motivated by fear, and who have the least to lose by throwing our country into chaos have risen en mass to make their voices heard.

While I’m sad that Trump will be our next president (unless a miracle happens) and even angry because like others I can’t help but feel personally victimized by Trump’s very existence (and his victory’s affirmation of bullies), I’ve been coping for the past 12 or so hours by reminding myself that no matter what happens we have to live with each other. We just have to. Even if Hillary Clinton had won, we could not just forget how many people Trump energized and made feel like they’ve finally been heard. It’s a truly sad country we’re living in that we’ve been able to ignore these problems for so long.

For us liberal, educated people, I think that the main thing we need to do is put aside our pride and ego and be gracious. This election is not the end of the world. I think the DNC knows it fucked up by thinking that Democrats wanted Hillary when it was Bernie Sanders who was energizing and exciting people the way Trump managed to do with the Republicans this year and Obama four and eight years ago for the Democrats. This is what I’m personally most angry about and almost feel a tinge of satisfaction about Trump’s victory, because I voted reluctantly for Hillary only because I knew she was our best chance for defeating the orange buffoon (sorry, tried to stay neutral but I can’t).

In spite of the outcome, I’m just happy this horrible election is finally over. I’m worried for the country and the calls to action that I may feel compelled to answer. But I’m also selfishly worried about my own future and whether I’ll be able to afford to spend more time and money on my PhD. And I’m worried what the world is going to look like when I’m truly out on my own.

This concludes my obligatory blog post on how I feel about the election. Thank you if you have read the whole thing. If you’re still feeling really sick or upset about the outcome, remember you are not alone and that all is not lost. The election is one battle. Real change happens at the grass roots level.

Thank you for reading!
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4 Comments

  1. Thank *you* for writing an articulate, well thought-out post. I think it’s important thing right now that many points of view are heard. I grew up lower middle class in Omaha, Nebraska. I kind of understand where many Trump supporters are coming from on certain issues. Don’t get me wrong: I find him to be a repugnant human being and I’m not happy about this election, but I kind of get it. Trump isn’t the disease, he’s a symptom.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Katherine! I’m glad to know at least one person has read this post and got where I was coming from and who has got a level head and open mind about today. I was a little worried to do this post that it might be unwelcome here but I’m glad I did it because I felt like I needed to articulate for myself what this election means.

      Politics can be such a scary terrain, but I do feel like this election has made me want to become more involved in voter outreach and the problems that face underprivileged communities, white and minority alike. Maybe this is the silver-lining of the whole thing, if others come away feeling the same way.

      (Also, I love Omaha! I lived in Bellevue for the first half of 8th grade and can’t wait to visit it again one day.)

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