Upon coming home from work last night I turned the corner in my lobby to wait for the elevator with a mom and her two girls, ages about 6 and 12. As we stood waiting for our ride, the older one prodded her mom with questions as she sifted through the mail. “But what if he wins?” she asked. “What will we do, will we have to leave?” Her mom ceased her flip through the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer to look her daughter directly in the eye as we made our way into the elevator. “No,” she said. “We are not going anywhere.”
I fumbled with my keys as I entered my apartment, that conversation adding sadness to my already wrecked nerves. This was not the first child I had heard worry about being kicked out of the country as a result of a Trump presidency. I felt angry and frustrated that I could not take her fear away.
As the polls began to close and numbers slowly started to roll in, that fear grew larger inside of me. All I could think was:
These fuckers have been wrong about him the whole time. They didn’t think he would last a month. Then they didn’t think he would get the nomination. They didn’t think he could keep the nomination. Now they’ve said he’s going to get blown out. Why should I believe any of their bullshit polls? This dude can actually become our president.
I watched state by state and rode a rollercoaster of emotions as a Trump presidency became our reality. I sat up in bed with my husband and yelled and cried, and turned off the coverage and turned it back on. I reflected over the past exhausting year in horror. The media created this monster. Our consumption enabled his rise to power.
I became exasperated quite quickly with NBC’s analysis of how all of this happened:
The rural white vote was underestimated.
That’s not who I am interested in speaking to though — at least not yet. I’d prefer to address an electorate that I have finally been able to confirm exists: educated white republicans and democrats who are closeted Trump supporters. The ones who weren’t comfortable admitting who they were voting for in all of their social circles. The ones who could never muster enough self-awareness to admit their own racial bias. The ones who could see all the red flags and potential danger in electing a man who incites and emboldens racial and religious hatred. The ones who were willing to give him a chance anyway.
What a luxury.
What a luxury it is to feel free to give your vote to a man and cross your fingers that he won’t actually do everything he says he is going to do.
- He won’t actually build a wall and deport millions of people
- He won’t actually ban muslims
- He won’t actually repeal Roe vs Wade
- He won’t actually just try to nuke ISIS and take their oil
These undercover votes for Trump are the ultimate exercise of white privilege. Whatever happens, you’re pretty sure that you’ll be ok — that you’ll not be one of the parties harmed if this president actually follows through with anything. You don’t like Hillary, so you think, how bad could a Trump presidency be? You’re willing to gamble cause you think none of your own skin is really in the game.
As a woman of color, I could not afford this luxury. You see because forget for a second all of the global issues that will terrifyingly be in the hands of this narcissistic lunatic in two short months. That worry is on a medium-high back burner while my anxiety about the safety of my own body boils over.
During the primary, a YouGov/Economist poll cited that nearly 20% of Trump supporters thought the Emancipation Proclamation was a mistake. That’s right, 20% of his supporters admitted out loud that they believe my body should still be enslaved. I suppose as a white person, you didn’t wake up this morning to a president elect Trump and think about that poll.
I have been thinking about it this entire election. And I have been thinking about the bodies of every other brown, and LGBTQ, and disabled person. Anyone who is an other, has been at the forefront of my mind. Our physical safety in our country dictated my vote for a flawed democratic candidate who with all of her faults, I know truly believes in MY right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It’s done now. For those of us who fought in whatever way we could against this presidency, we must use this holiday season like never before to heal, nurture ourselves, and approach the new year resolute to contribute in whatever way we can to not let the dream that is America, die.
We have all made this bed in one way or the other. If you’re an undercover Trump voter, don’t be alarmed when we just may have to lie in it together.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.