A 2am Essay About Fear
Fear is a powerful thing.
I sobbed my way through an anxiety attack as things started going downhill last night as the numbers rolled in.
The polls didn’t predict this tragedy. I no longer worship at the Church of Nate Silver. I’m sure this year was an anomaly that political science professors will be scratching their heads about for years to come.
When things started to go badly for Clinton, I felt angry. Very angry.
Angry at the people who would rather see an abuser of women and an accused rapist as president than a qualified woman.
Angry at the people who voted for the same person the KKK endorsed.
Angry at the selfish people who don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority.
Angry at the people who would rather vote for a third party candidate when their vote could have helped to protect the rights and freedoms of those minorities.
Angry at the people who voted for Trump because they’re afraid of people who aren’t white.
Like many politicians before him, Trump based his platform on fear. And it worked. It scared Americans into voting for him. Many others who didn’t vote for him are afraid now too.
I cried because I’m so, so, so very afraid.
I’m afraid of what a Trump presidency will look like.
I’m afraid Trump is going to start a nuclear war. Or any kind of war, really.
I am genuinely afraid for anyone who isn’t a straight, white cis man. I’m afraid for their physical, emotional and mental well-being.
I’m afraid of what a climate change denying president could do, not just to his own country, but to the planet.
I’m afraid the hard-earned rights of LGBT people will be stripped away.
I’m afraid for immigrants who might be parted with their families or forced out of a country that they have made their home.
I’m afraid Roe V Wade will be reversed. Women die of illegal abortions when abortion is illegal.
I’m afraid of what will happen to the American healthcare system.
I’m afraid abstinence-only education will be the only type of sex ed allowed in schools.
I’m afraid of what will happen to Planned Parenthood, an amazing healthcare provider for women.
I’m afraid gun control laws will become even more relaxed.
I’m afraid for journalists and freedom of the press.
I’m afraid the good work Obama has done during his eight years in office could be dashed.
I’m afraid that Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat will discourage women from entering politics.
I’m afraid that if the most prepared politician in the country can’t defeat a monster, then nobody can.
I’m afraid Hillary Clinton lost because the American people really do hate women, or at least don’t trust a woman as much as they trust a psychopath with no political experience.
I’m afraid I’ll never see a woman elected president.
I’m afraid for what this means for women in positions of authority.
I’m afraid I’ve lost my faith in humanity.
I honestly thought Americans would do the right thing. I truly believed our neighbors to the south were good, smart, loving, caring, kind people.
But fear won out tonight and that is one of the biggest tragedies of all.
When one of my fellow Canadians makes a comment about Americans being selfish, racist rednecks, I’m usually the one to pipe up with “A lot of Americans are great.” After tonight, I considered no longer doing that. The emotional agony I saw on social media as more and more states went red killed me inside.
All I can do is keep repeating to myself, over and over:
“People are good. People are smart. People are loving. People are caring. People are kind.”
This is truly a low point in the history of the world. It was a major disappointment for so many people. My eyes hurt from crying. I’m numb. I’m sad and I’m numb.
So many people visited the Canadian immigration website this evening that it crashed.
I don’t know what will happen to the United States of America but if you don’t feel safe, get out if you can. Stay and fight for a better home if you feel that’s a viable option for you.
I have no big conclusion to this essay. I just needed to talk about my dumb Canadian white girl feelings. This evening was overwhelming and turned out so, so, so very differently than I expected.
I expected more from our American friends. And I will try to continue to have high expectations of them, because I’m an optimist, even in this dark hour.
(This blog was originally published on Medium.)
Jillianne Hamilton is the author of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, its two action/comedy sequels, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII. She is also a graphic designer, a hoarder of podcasts and a history enthusiast. Learn more.