As things with my boyfriend and classes started getting stressful again, there was one thing I was looking forward to. The Election! On Tuesday, I woke up bright and early to go vote for the first ever female candidate for President. I smiled all the way throughout my walk to the polling place, excited, imagining telling my grand-children how awesome it was that I was able to watch a woman be elected as President. I snap-chatted #ImWithHer encouraging all my friends to go out and vote. Didn’t matter who. But it was obvious who most were leaning towards.
Voting was really quick. There were no lines at my precinct and I was in and out. As I went to cast my ballot, the election judge was excited saying “You ready for democracy??? You ready for your voice to be heard???” I laughed and said “Yes”.
After I was done I went to class, and no one could focus. The second the clock hit 5:00, I began my commute home. I bought some fries and falafel- it was going to be a long night and I was ready to sit in front of CNN for however long it took.
I sat and things were exciting. The polling results slowly coming in. Things quickly started getting the way I unexpected. A lot of states were red! I worried. But then later, a lot of states became blue. I was relieved. But then, a huge chunk of states became red. And it was about 1:00am here in Boston. And Hillary Clinton’s campaign told their supporters to go home.
I debated if I should go to bed. I had meetings starting early in the morning. But I decided I can stay awake a little longer. Around 2:30, I thought this could take all night (and morning), so maybe I’ll just lay down for a bit and keep the news on.
Okay well. I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I checked my phone. It was 5:30am. And it was raining outside.
I looked at my laptop. The election results stopped playing. I thought my laptop just got confused when there was no movement and stopped playing it.
I quickly scroll down the page.
“Donald Trump Wins Presidency”.
My jaws drop and my eyes widen.
Oh my god.
I read the rest “at 3:30 am Eastern Time…”
Wow. If only I had stayed awake one more hour!
But damn we had bigger issues.
I think I felt my eyes water. I quickly went back to sleep because I knew I had to be up in less that 2 hours and my body would hate me if I didn’t do so.
So that brings us to today:
I woke up. As President Obama said, “No matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning”. Well that it did. I hear the construction going on as it usually does in the morning. I look outside, buses running, students going to class.
I check my Facebook. Tons of my teacher friends are worried about how the will approach their students that will have questions. One of my friends writes that her mom asked her to take off her hijab before going to work. Other friends are in utter shock.
I check my email next. The Dean of my school has called a school wide meeting, it’s during class. My professor cancels class and tells us she will see us a the meeting.
I call my mother.
“Mom, we’ve got loads of stuff to discuss.”
My mom says everything will be fine and we can move on with our life.
My jaw drops. “Mom! A man. That speaks poorly to women, was just elected. Someone who plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, was elected! Someone who doesn’t have the best words about LGBTQ, women, those with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, people of color, and Muslims- was just elected. Do not. You can move on. But as an educator, and public health professional- I cannot. I have a community to help. My work begins now”.
She doesn’t get it. She says Trump will “Make America Great Again”.
What the absolute fuck. Yea fine.
I get on with my commute to school.
Everyone is quiet on the street. No one is talking, no one is honking (rare in a busy city like Boston).
Once I’m at the medical school, I stop by the cafeteria to get some breakfast. I look at the sea of doctors, nurses, and Master’s students. Everyone’s eyes are glued on something.
I look. It is the TV. Hillary Clinton is making her conceding speech.
“To all the women and especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
I sigh. When she’s finished. Everyone starts speaking again softly. My team arrives to begin our meeting. Everyone is in a horrible mood.
“I don’t wanna go to the meeting. What’s a meeting gonna do? Nothing!” my teammate says.
I make no comment. I disagree completely. The meeting can give those of us who are terrified clarity about what is going to happen, and those of us who are about to be Public Health Professionals about what we need to do.
In the end, she ends up coming with me.
The meeting room is packed.
The Dean walks on stage with a somber expression. He addresses his thoughts and invites students and professors to share theirs. Students talk about fears they have because of their identity and mental trauma this election has cause. As each person shares, people in the room start crying. I see students pass tissues to each other. I have never, witnessed a day like this.
Other professors speak as to what Trump can do and cannot do in terms of healthcare. One professor tells us that abortion rights most likely will not be taken away, and even if so it will be by state, so we need to stop worrying about that. We start laughing.
Other students want to know how the election happened the way it did and the Dean tells us that most people who voted for Hillary Clinton are in our “18-25 age generation” and those that did not and voted for Trump were in the “above 40 years of age generation”.
“Oh no! Not me I didn’t!” one Professor behind me speaks up.
We laugh again.
The Dean concludes by saying us future Public Health professionals are safe at our school, and although there is a great deal of “uncertainty” right now, we will keep moving forward and finding ways to serve our community.
I know most of my readers are actually outside the U.S. Do you have thoughts on this? Or if you are in the U.S, what was your day like?