This morning I woke up in a different America than the one where I went to sleep. I shut my eyes in a progressive, forward-thinking America, firmly grounded in the year 2016. I opened them in an 18th century America, where sexism, bigotry, misogyny, and pure hatred abound freely. I went to sleep hopeful and proud, and I woke up fearful for the physical safety of myself and my loved ones. I woke up concerned for my constitutional rights not only as an American citizen, but also as a woman—two things that I have, until the early hours of this very morning, undoubtedly taken for granted.
To say I'm disappointed is a gross understatement, and to put the heartbreak of a nation into words an impossible endeavor. There is a divide among us that is greater than anyone could have predicted or imagined, and it has little to do with politics.
I cringe to say that am grateful I have no children. That I didn't have to wake them this morning and explain what happened to our country in the middle of the night. That I didn't have to face the fact that they would be brought up in a country where the mockery of minorities, of the LGBTQ community, of different races and yes, of those with disabilities, has been openly declared tolerable.
Never did I imagine that I would weep for my country, yet here we are.
Today I want to disappear. I want to brush off my passport and flee; distance myself, denounce citizenship. I want to join the outside world looking in on us—fingers pointing, mouths agape in shock. I want to say "Fuck you America, I'm no longer yours," and turn my back. But I will not, and neither will you.
Instead, we will get up and we will change our clothes and we will walk out our front doors. We will go to work and we will work harder than we did yesterday. We will be kinder; we will love without bounds. We will build bridges instead of walls. We will find solutions rather than create problems. We will promote acceptance and reject intolerance. We will learn and we will educate because now, more than ever, it has become strikingly clear that knowledge and education are the key to and our only hope for a brighter future. We will do better; we will be better.
He said that he will make America great, but hear this: he cannot. He has tried to make us ugly. He has tried to make us cruel. That moral and national obligation to guide America to greatness now lies solely on our shoulders. For we are better than him, and we are better than the future, the nation, and the culture of abhorrence that he would have us accept.
So let us mourn and let us despair—but let it be brief, and have it end there. We will stand up and wipe our tears and we will fight. We will fight like hell, because we have come too damn far to be set a century back by the unfathomable voice of hatred that one man lent to half a nation.
This is our America, not his.