Let’s Make America Hate Again

I didn’t stay up to watch the election results come in as I had done in 2012. But I went to bed later than usual, to a Slate exit poll that saw Hillary was projected to win. I haven’t believed the polls since my final year at university when I studied the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. (Polls had projected a tight race, especially during the latter weeks, only for Reagan to win by a landslide). But a very educated friend of mine believed the odds were in her favour, and I went to bed confident with his prediction, and faith in the American people. Optimistically – and perhaps rather naively – so. I even made a halfhearted bet with him if Trump won because I didn’t think it would actually happen.

I woke up at 5.30am, frantically typing in Trump into Safari, and scrolling my Twitter feed. Things were not looking good as I skimmed tweets from friends – the words disbelief, on mute and distressing were banded around. Trump was on course to win the race to 270. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – this can’t be right, surely? – and the same dreaded feeling that I had on the day after Brexit consumed me.

I let it sink in a bit, and then I cried as I pulled the covers over my face.

I cried for the Mexican immigrants who had to hear him call them rapists, the Muslim voters who read about his ideas of a Muslim database, and to women – like I – stunned by his “grab ’em by the pussy” comments.

And as a non-Caucasian female, I wanted to know how many women voted for him. This man had been accused of rape by his ex-wife, said women who have abortions should be punished, and has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women (and this is him getting off lightly – there’s plenty more misogynistic quotes that came out of Trump’s mouth). Why would any woman vote for a man like that? They wouldn’t, surely?

But, apparently 42% did. 42%. It’s logic I cannot understand right now. I know Clinton isn’t a saint, but this man? I’ve been left stunned.

This afternoon, aforementioned friend and I briefly made a passing nod to the election:

Apparently 42% of women voted for him. I don’t understand that.

She’s a crook. I guess it’s a matter of what you prefer, a crook backed by the Wall Street, or a prick.

He couldn’t comprehend why I found that statistic so shocking. It wasn’t about whether or not she’s a crook (another debate for another day), and Trump was the better option (as my friend had so insinuated). He couldn’t see why I was making such a big deal over one statistic.

But when you’ve never had the fear of being oppressed by your ethnicity, sexuality or gender, I suppose it’s easier to accept what Trump is saying.

When these parts of your identity are measures of societal prejudices, or condemned by the man who is now President-elect, it’s harder to see why he should get your vote. To vote for a man who has openly insulted and condemned you, or a woman who made mistakes as a Secretary of State? I know who I’d have voted for.

It’s more difficult to see that 42% as an insult or a betrayal when it isn’t your gender that has been oppressed and put down for as long as records allow. A betrayal not onto us now, but to the women before us who had fought so fiercely to get us to where we are now. In my mind, if you choose Trump over Hillary, you don’t care much for women’s rights. And that doesn’t sit right with me.

So to all the nasty women out there, be strong, be courageous and never give up on our fight. #ImWithHer

Writer’s note: I’m fully aware that there are many more sides to this election campaign than that from the female point of view. In writing about it, it’s not to discredit any other particular group, but for me to write about it from a Muslim/Jewish/LGBT perspective would be insulting. I can only write from my viewpoint. But this doesn’t mean I’m not weeping for us all.

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