Kyle put it best.
We were lying in bed Tuesday night, when it was almost certain that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t win. I was trying to put a name to what I was feeling.
Kyle said, “You know how when you wake up in a strange place, like a hotel room, you don’t know where you are for a moment? That’s how I feel.”
That’s how I feel, too. I don’t know where I am.
I don’t know what country I’m in. I woke up to the news that Trump had won, and I looked at the electoral college vote tally, and I don’t know where I am.
I don’t know who’s a Trump supporter. When I was out getting coffee yesterday morning, I was wary of making eye contact with people. I was scared of looking in someone’s eyes and seeing happiness and joy there.
I don’t know how it happened that Hillary Clinton didn’t win. I was sitting there in my car, listening to her concession speech on the radio, risking getting a parking ticket. I didn’t know why I wasn’t in a place where I was listening to her victory speech.
I don’t know where I am, because the vote wasn’t for Hillary Clinton by a definitive margin. And the electoral college vote didn’t go for her.
I don’t know why I didn’t realize that so many people in this country support Trump. I don’t recognize a country where people believe in his policies and his promises.
Yesterday afternoon, I was up in Bothell, at this informal co-working space a friend of mine has. I took a break to go for a walk. Bothell is this semi-rural, small-town-feeling place. I saw a Trump sign in someone’s yard. I was so angry, I wanted to deface it. I pictured myself with a big black marker, obliterating the name. I wanted to rip it out of the ground. I wanted to tear it to pieces.
Kyle and I saw a lot of Trump signs in Eastern Washington when we went camping this past summer. I don’t recognize this country as a place where Trump supporters aren’t just small-town, conservative, white people. That’s what I thought then. I was wrong.
I misread my fellow Americans. A whole huge bunch of them. Not the people I know, I’m sure. Not many of them. I think. I hope. I hope I don’t have a friend or relative who supports Donald Trump.
But I probably do.
In a way, the election us all a big favor. I know I’m looking for a silver lining here. But the election has showed what America is. It’s showed us who Americans are.
Because the Trump supporters have always been there. We just didn’t know. But that’s wrong. Some of us did know. Some people aren’t surprised. People of color I know aren’t surprised.
One of the heartbreaking things about marrying into a family of color and growing to love them? It’s that now I’m scared for them. I’m scared for all of them, and especially scared for the youngest among them, and most especially for the young men. The young African-American men, and what this country will be like for them now. One of my husband’s cousins posted about how worried he is for his young son. I posted, “Give him a big hug for me.” My cousin posted back, “I will. Love you.” When I posted back, “Love you too” I was crying and I could barely read the screen of my phone.
I’m scared for a young friend of mine, who when his two daughters get older, he’s going to have to explain to them how this country elected as president a man who boasted about grabbing women by the pussy.
I’m scared for the woman from Mexico who’s done my eyebrows for years and years. She’s dark skinned and she speaks with an accent.
I’m scared for my friends in same-sex marriages. And for the children they’ve adopted. Will their marriages, the adoptions, be declared null and void?
I’m scared for a colleague of mine who’s Muslim and who veils. And the Muslim women who come with their daughters to the women-only swim sessions at the Rainier Beach Pool.
I feel like I went to sleep in a hotel room, and now I’ve woken up, and I don’t know where I am. Because I’ve woken up in a totally different room. In a totally different hotel.
Only at some point, I realize that it is the same hotel room. If I pull down the curtains and strip away the wallpaper, I can see what the room really is.
It’s the same room. I can just see it better now.
And I’m scared.