I started writing this before the election results came in. I went to bed fully believing that I would wake up to the first female president of the USA. I saw Theresa May and Hillary Clinton, two strong women, standing side by side.
I teared up when I saw selfies of women voting for a female president. Women who were alive before women were granted the vote, and who despite having female candidates in the running before, haven’t ever seen a female president in one of the supposedly most forward thinking liberal nations in the world.
Instead I woke up to complete disbelief. It felt like a joke because this result seemed so unlikely. But it’s not a joke. America decided. America voted for hate, they voted for violence and they voted for segregation. They voted for a man who thinks you can “grab women by the pussies”, over a female candidate. They voted for someone who built a presidential campaign based on hate for minority groups. And people voted for that. After taking a huge step forward as a nation with their first black president, the nation voted for a huge step backwards again.
When I watched the news I cried. And my dog stared at me and I wished I didn’t understand politics either.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry to everyone in America who didn’t vote for him. I’m sorry that hate has won in western politics again, and I’m sorry to everyone who his presidency is going to and already has affected.
I’ve heard the comparisons between this vote and Brexit. I know what it feels like for all of you who didn’t vote for this. I know what it feels like to not understand your country anymore. I know what it feels like for someone to say they want the country to now unite, when that’s the last thing you want to do.
This affects all of us. The President of one of the most powerful countries in the world now represents a dangerous ideology. This isn’t the time to say “politics isn’t for me.” That’s not an option. Politics is for everybody, it effects everybody.
This is the time to say hate isn’t for me. And to do something, no matter how small.
Tell people of minority groups that you’re with them, make sure they know you’ll defend them and their rights no matter what happens. Take part in demonstrations, sign petitions, share positive things on social media. If you change one person’s opinion on something like that, that in turn could change so many more.
I’m hopeful for the future. Seeing the amount of millennials who voted for Hillary. Who voted remain. It tells us that things are going to change, that this isn’t it.
We can change the world.