American Millennial: The 2016 Presidential Election, or the day the bubble I live in was shattered

| November 25, 2016

Our very own intern Alex Guzmán, an American currently studying in Australia, has written about her reaction to Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America.

I will never forget Wednesday, November 9th. I sat in class with my fellow American students, trying my best to focus on my teacher, but inside my body cold adrenalin and panic flooded my veins. The classroom was tense as we nervously awaited the results that would decide our futures for the next four years.

As the day progressed our conversations turned from school related topics to the election, and eventually the map was projected on the wall. One by one the states began to change color, blues dotted the east and west coast, while the middle of the country turned overwhelmingly bright red. I couldn’t believe it. Donald Trump had won. I had woken up that morning nervous, but almost certain that my country would do the right thing and elect Hillary Clinton. Clearly, I was wrong.

Across the room, tears fell as students questioned what this meant for them. Would my fellow classmate’s recent right to marry be taken away? Would the rights to my body be stripped away from me? Would Roe v. Wade be overturned? Would some of my friends and family members be considered illegal now? What will this mean for the Supreme Court? What will it mean when the future President thinks Global Warming is a myth created by the Chinese and the environment is ignored for four years?

Election day was the day the bubble I live in was shattered. That Wednesday my eyes were opened to the very real reality of my country. A reality that because of my status as a white-passing Mexican American I hadn’t been privy too; a reality that quite frankly I don’t think I wanted to know.

I am deeply embarrassed by the state of illusion I have been living in for so long; a state that people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community and other people who aren’t cisgender white males, don’t get to be in.

Election day was the day I watched my country decide it didn’t care about me – as a woman, as a biracial person, and as a human being. Election day was the day I watched a man who once said “grab her by the pussy” get elected President of the United States of America. Election day was the day I watched millions of Americans vote for a man endorsed by the KKK.

America seems to ooze this illusion of Democracy. The same “democracy” that many Australians have told me is the best thing about America. Honestly, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Have you heard of the Electoral College? In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted “The Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy,” only recently praising it, as it worked out in his favor. 2012 Donald is right – a true democracy would be one person, one vote. It doesn’t seem right that a presidential candidate can win the popular vote and not the electoral vote, as that’s exactly what happened that Wednesday.

I recently read an article that said if only Millennials had voted, Hillary Clinton would be my country’s next President. You know what that gives me? Hope – hope for the future. I am finally dragging myself out of the depressed state I’ve been in recently, finally putting away the tissues I’ve kept clutched in my hands for the past weeks and trying to figure out what it is I can do to keep my country and friends safe.

So don’t worry, Aussies, we aren’t waving the white flag at racism, bigotry, sexism, and all the other horrible things this presidency seems to promise. We won’t sit by and watch these four years like a car wreck on the side of the road.

I don’t have all the answers – heck, I’m not even sure what the right question is half the time. What I do know is that I’m coming back to America soon, and I don’t want to live in a bubble anymore.

I leave you with my favorite Maya Angelou quote: “But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”