I woke up this morning, an American student studying abroad in London, 8,000 miles away from home, to hear that Donald Trump had won the 2016 American presidential election.
I rose at 6:00 AM, riddled with anxiety over the results, only to hear that a racist, misogynistic bigot had won the bid for president. Most days, I am proud to be an American. Today, I am not.
I’m not proud to be an American today because patriarchy won. I am a 21-year-old woman who will soon graduate from college and be expected to enter into a society where I still will not make as much as a man would. Donald Trump’s victory doesn’t help my case, nor does it help that I might be passed over for a job because, as a woman, I am assumed to be less capable.
Donald Trump is a tax-evading corporate businessman who grew to fame through his reality TV show The Apprentice, which largely consisted of him yelling, “You’re fired!”
His economic policies echo his lack of political prowess, such as his plan to put tariffs on Mexican and Chinese imports – an act that would only drive up the price of consumer goods.
I’m just not sure how a man with no political experience can be deemed fit to run a government. Yet I, despite an impressive multifaceted resumé, will inevitably be passed over for promotions because I am a woman. I promise you; I am better skilled and more qualified than most.
I’m not proud to be an American today because misogyny won. I cannot count on one hand the number of times in a day I am catcalled or ogled at, simply because I have a feminine physique. My breasts are not there for your ocular enjoyment; they’re there so that, one day, I can provide my offspring with sustenance.
But I cannot fathom bringing any child into a country where Donald Trump is in position to enact laws pertaining to my reproductive health. That’s right; a man who once condoned grabbing women by their genitalia is at the helm of deciding whether or not I will have access to birth control and abortion.
See, 40-odd years ago, the American Supreme Court ruled on the “Roe V Wade” court case that made abortion legal and accessible across all 50 states. Trump is queued up to appoint a ninth Supreme Court justice in the United States, who will most likely be a conservative Republican, and has the potential to overturn Roe V Wade, undoing years of feminist progress.
I’m not proud to be an American today because sexual assault won. I have cradled friends in my arms when they’ve come home crying hysterically because some idiot put his hands or fingers where he shouldn’t have. I am blessed to have never been on the other side of that scenario, but one too many of my friends have.
Donald Trump is an alleged rapist, and that is a fact that cannot be refuted. At this point in time, 12 women have stepped forward, saying that Trump touched them inappropriately. Even his ex-wife accused him of being a rapist.
Sexual assault is an epidemic in the United States. According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted.
Trump is going on trial for the sexual assault of a minor in December. Putting a man like that at the forefront of a country, where a college athlete raped an unconscious woman and got off after three months, is horrifying.
I’m not proud to be an American today because racism won. In my time in London, I have experienced nothing but respect for all races, ethnicities, faiths, cultures, and traditions.
In December, I will go home to a country where a man who proposed building a wall around Mexico is in charge. Donald Trump intends to deport any and all illegal immigrants, regardless of their status as respectable members of their communities.
He intends to make it harder for them to get citizenship, even if they’re already established in America. He intends to make legally immigrating to the United States for work purposes harder.
Here’s a newsflash: America is a country that was built upon immigration. None of us would even be American if not for our ancestors crossing oceans because they wanted to give their families a better future. Were it not for their bravery and a country’s openness to opportunity for all, you might never have been able to call yourself American, whether or not you wish to be associated with that title at all right now.
I’m not proud to be an American today. Weeks ago, I sent off my absentee ballot where I proudly voted for Hillary Clinton. It was so important to me to vote in this election because I imagined being able to tell my daughters, one day, that I was a part of electing the first female president. I firmly believe that there will be a woman in office someday, but for now, I’m heartbroken. I am just genuinely heartbroken by the state of my nation.
But the truth is, I’ve been heartbroken before. Sure, not necessarily in the same way, but I’ve bounced back, and bounced back stronger. 20-something women everywhere deal with jerks like Donald Trump every day. We’ve had to handle men like him since the dawn of time, really, and his antics are nothing new. They talk a big game, but when it boils down to it, they are cowards with tiny hands and even tinier brains.
Donald Trump once called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman.” He sparked a craze of female solidarity. In the grand scheme of female oppression, “nasty” isn’t the worst we’ve been called.
Quite frankly, it’s a positive title. Nasty is defined as “behaving in an unpleasant or spiteful way” which implies, to me at least, that we’re capable of spite, which is a powerful weapon.
Mr Trump, I will never refer to you as president until you refer to women with more respect.
You go and take away from me as much as you can, but you will never take away my nastiness.