I wanted to write you a different story today. I had it all planned out in my head. I wanted to tell you all about my experience canvassing for Hillary Clinton. Throw in a few amazing anecdotes, like how I possibly convinced a first time voter to get herself to the polls, the Italian grandma who pulled me inside and sat me down and gave me food, and the volunteers who poured their hearts and souls into this campaign. I wanted to tell you how I waited in line for 5 hours with friends to see Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama speak as a unified front about our country's hopeful future. Then I wanted to wrap it up with a triumphant victory for our first woman president - with the message that women can truly be whatever they want, that our country rejects a man who spews hate, and that love won.
But, as you all know, that isn't the case. Donald Trump is the President-Elect (and won my state of Pennsylvania), and I am heartbroken and outraged. I cannot believe that I am now living in a country who elected someone who thinks it's alright to sexually assault me, brag about it, judge me based on my looks, and make obscene jokes about me. I cannot believe I'm living in a country where the President-Elect was endorsed by the KKK, has discriminated against black people throughout his businesses, thinks my husband is "violent" and "dangerous", and stereotypes all black people as living in the inner city (and in "hell"). I cannot believe that America has sent the message that this country is homophobic, misogynistic, racist, Islamaphobic, ableist, xenophobic, and more.
And that a well qualified woman who has spent 30 years working in public service can be beat by a reality TV star.
I also cannot believe that I cannot believe it. Because I feel like I was naive to the sentiment that is being expressed by half our country today. Of course I knew that people were still racist and sexist and homophobic and Islamaphobic and more, but I didn't think that this would prevail. And I know that people who voted for Donald Trump also voted for him for other reasons. But this is the message that a Trump vote, and a Trump presidency sends.
It's also worth noting that after Hillary Clinton's amazing concession speech, the first thing pundits jumped on her for was the way she showed emotion and apologized - two things that women are continually criticized for. Please believe that this outcome does show that America is not ready for a woman to be in charge. We can't ignore this.
So now, what do we do? I wish I knew. The only thing I know to do is to keep speaking out, no matter how awkward or bumbling, no matter if I want to or not, against hate and bigotry. The only thing I know to do is to keep letting all of the people in my life know that I love them. The only thing I know to do is to keep asking people to share their stories.
So, I ask you today as I always ask you, to share your stories with me. I'm here for you.
More than ever, I'm in fierce support of your stories.