I’ve spent the last 12 hours or so consoling a sobbing girlfriend.
Tuesday night didn’t start out so badly. I arrived at her apartment around 7 p.m. and she was downright bubbly. She had just gotten back from her polling place across the street in her Brooklyn neighbourhood.
She told me she got jitters voting for the first woman to have a real shot at the presidency. She told me that several years ago, she heard all the people saying Hillary Clinton was stupid for staying with her husband following the Monica Lewinsky scandal and thought the opposite.
At the time, she saw Hillary’s resolve and ambition. She remembered thinking even at such a young age that she hoped Hillary would pull herself up, prove everyone wrong, and make a name for herself on her own. Maybe Hillary would even be president one day, just like her own cheating husband. What a “f-you” that would be, right?
We were having a bunch of friends come over to watch the results of the election, even though all of us felt confident we knew what the result would be. But for her, this was a special occasion. She wasn’t just voting for the first female president. She wasn’t just voting for someone who aligned with her political values.
She was also voting against Trump.
More importantly, she was voting against Trump’s platform of hatred, misogyny, and downright racism that helped propel Trump to the White House. She was voting against Trump calling Mexicans rapists. She was voting against his proposed ban of all Muslims entering the country. She was voting against his treatment of women. She was voting to protect the rights of everyone Trump attacked, smeared, and belittled in this campaign from journalists to gold star families to the Pope.
It was even more personal to her not just because she’s a woman, but also because she’s the daughter of immigrants. Her mother came to the US from Ecuador. Her father, who died over 15 years ago, came from Italy. Her mother, now a US citizen, proudly voted for Hillary too. This election was about protecting her identity and every family’s right to come to this country and start better lives for themselves without feeling alienated or discriminated against.
It was supposed to be a special night for her. Before our friends arrived she put on bright red lipstick and a pretty skirt. She chatted excitedly with me, drinking wine and preparing dinner. It was going to be a big night.
And then it all came crashing down. By the time it looked like Florida was in the bag for Trump, we started stress-smoking cigarettes and drinking more than we should have. Then the tears and sobs came. They still haven’t stopped.
In his victory speech, Trump took a conciliatory tone we didn’t hear throughout his entire candidacy. He praised Hillary’s hard-fought campaign and thanked her. There were no chants of “lock her up” or promises to throw her in prison. Instead, he promised to represent all people, presumably including those he stepped on, insulted, and threatened over the last 18 months.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me,” Trump said.
The best we can hope for now is that Trump’s entire campaign was his final lie. That the Trump we saw last night, the man who will be our president in 71 days, will be a president for all of us. That this was the so-called “pivot” Trump’s Republican supporters have been promising since he locked down the party’s nomination months ago.
It looks like Hillary will win the popular vote, meaning most Americans voted against Trump, especially when you factor in votes for third-party candidates. It’s those Americans, and more importantly the millions of African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and more who took the brunt of Trump’s attacks that our future president needs to prove he’s fighting for. After so much negativity, it’s hard to believe we’ll see a 180 from Trump. But, for our own sanity, we have to hope.
There’s a lot of sobbing today, and it probably won’t stop any time soon. There’s also going to be a lot of fear among women, immigrants, and minorities. And given everything they have seen and heard over the last 18 months, no rational person can blame them.
Trump and his supporters, have the responsibility to realise they’re in the minority and not representative of the country we are. And if Trump truly believes he can be a president for everyone, then he should start by alleviating the very real fears much of the country is feeling today.
This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
If you have anything to share, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]
NOW WATCH: Watch Donald Trump’s full victory speech
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