Donald Trump came in like a wrecking ball in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when the host of “The Apprentice” became President of the United States? As a Mexican-American, I do.
I began the day opening multiple tabs on my cellphone, visiting every social media and news outlet feed I could to get information, predictions and progress reports on the presidential election. Sporadically throughout my work day, I checked my phone for any information and to reassure myself there’s plenty of support for Hillary Clinton.
I went for a run. And for a time, I could run away from my worries. All I could focus on was the beaming tightness in my chest. I rewarded myself with pizza.
My friend held the door to Bella Roma in Laguna Niguel open for me, and I stepped into an empty little restaurant, just a large flatscreen TV mounted on the wall. It blared red and blue, with a bunch of numbers that drove my anxiety up. It made me nervous. The kind where I want to stress eat, but my stomach was in knots. I still ate.
We ordered a small pepperoni and pineapple pizza and faced sideways to watch the election coverage. I burned my tongue on the pizza but knew it wouldn’t be nearly as painful as watching the election coverage all night.
It was just past 6 p.m. when we left. I felt hopeful. A few states’ polling locations were closing. Rump was ahead of Hillary, but it was still far too early to call.
We walked back to my friend’s house and picked up some Half Baked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to help swallow the dread from election night.
As the night went on, the beacon of hope for Hillary became more and more clouded by a spray tan orange storm cloud. I sat through an awkward, uneasy and painful silence as I watched. Burning red came over me. I held back tears and choked between each breath. It was time to come to terms and face our new president-elect, Donald John Trump.
The next morning, I awoke in hell, proving Rump wrong about global warming. I dressed in all black, to mourn, despite 90-degree weather.
All across America, people protested and turned to every outlet they could to express their opinions. No escape. The damage was done.
Not only I but millions of Americans now have a very legitimate reason to fear for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those they love. America hides in a shell made of inclusivity and peace that actually harbors racism and sexism that was clearly showcased by the results of the election.
How can we stand behind this man?
Ryan Lochte, heavily decorated Olympian, was banned from all competition for 10 months following the Brazil scandal. Lochte and fellow Olympians falsified information given to the police. Lochte represents the United States of America at competitions and in the world of swimming. He was rightfully punished. Rump is a misogynistic, sexist, racist, white supremacist. And yet, millions took to the polls to vote for him.
If that’s not enough of a comparison for you, chew on this.
In 2005, Rump and Billy Bush were recorded making vulgar comments about women and sexual assault. The recording occurred on a segment on “Access Hollywood” in reference to Rump appearing on a soap opera. The pair were on their way to meet up with one of the stars on the soap.
“When you’re a star they let you do anything,” Rump said. “You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,”
Following the audio leak, Rump released a statement that only amplified his misogynistic, sexist character.
Billy Bush, TV and radio host and member of the Bush family, was fired from his position at the “Today” show once the audio was released. Bush was fired for his lewd comments, but the person who began the conversation, Rump, is now our President-Elect.
Both Lochte and Bush faced serious consequences as a result of their actions. In spite of all the evidence, accusations aside, Rump still somehow managed to cruise by this election with half-minded policies and plans.
So what do we do now?
We are a nation divided. We are a nation regressing. We are a nation failing our women, children, LGBT citizens, citizens of color and varied race. As unfortunate as it is to admit, Rump is our next president. There is not much to do about it. Now, it’s time to shift our focus from the election to our communities.
The damage has been done. As hope for Hillary was stomped out by Trump. We must still hold out hope for ourselves and our communities. It’s time to step aside from one label or another. We are no longer pressured to vote republican or democratic because we already have. It no longer matters what color or animal you identify with, we can’t let it matter. What matters is how you behave as a human and how you treat other human beings no matter how different from you they may be.