Demagogue

After voting for the first woman presidential candidate in the November 8, 2016 presidential election I indulged in comfort food. For breakfast, I had a toasted bagel with cream cheese and a caramel apple spice cider from Starbucks. For lunch, my co-workers and I ordered Taco Bell through PostMates, since Taco Bell is not regularly available in my location. We were desperate for food we do not eat often, in search of something to fill our stomachs that would equal hope and happiness. For dinner, I had dessert. Shake Shack was giving away a scoop of custard. Then I went to my friend’s house and bought snacks and liquor from local stores, then ordered cheese pierogies and blueberry blintzes from Seamless. Indulging on junk food and alcohol to get me through the news analysts. I waited for the results. My heart rate rose. My hands shook. I was awake watching an NBC livestream until 2:30am hoping that somehow Hillary could pull through.
During the day, I was continually hopeful. How wonderful it would it be to have a woman shatter such an impenetrable glass ceiling. How wonderful would it be to know our country was for progress and inclusivity. How wonderful that love trumps hate.
Two words came to mind when I awoke the next day to the results that Donald Trump was the president-elect for the United States.

dem·a·gogue

ˈdeməˌɡäɡ/

noun
a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

Göt·ter·däm·mer·ung

gə(r)-tər-ˈde-mə-ˌru̇ŋ, -ˈda-\

noun
a collapse (as of a society or regime) marked by catastrophic violence and disorder; broadly:downfall<the Götterdämmerung of Communism>


These words encompass, for me, the fears I have after seeing this election unfold. A man has risen to executive power. He will have a Republican majority congress and select conservative justices in the supreme court. My fears manifest in the idea that Trump will do everything in his power to take rights away from citizens and elect himself to a higher position of power that allows him to lead for longer than four years. I see a version of America that is like Nazi Germany and I see Trumps rise to power parallel Hitlers in astonishingly similar ways.

I am a straight white woman, my life will not change too drastically because of the election, though I imagine sexism and misogyny will become an obstacle–what about the millions of marginalized people Trump has been threatening since day one of his campaign? I can all but guarantee life will be much harder for people of color, LGBT+, Muslim, immigrants, people with disabilities, or any other group Trump and his supporters deemed less than. I cannot stand idly by while hate overruns this country. I cannot standby while my friends and people I admire are fearful to walk out the door.

Yesterday, I ate comfort food and watched the election results unfold. Today, I am sick to my stomach with the thought that people will be hurt (and are hurting) because of this election. This is not a normal election. Trump has gone out of his way to assure that. I’m disappointed in all the people I know who voted for him –in protest? good conscious? I can’t imagine the hate and bigotry a Trump voter holds.

I’m sick with anxious, nervous energy.

How can I make a difference?

I will not blindly accept the results. I will fight back. I will help those I can. I will not despair. Trump is not my president and I cannot accept him as such.

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