I’ve never been a politically-minded person. I’ve never been interested in elections because I’ve never felt compelled to have much of an opinion. Everyone around me always had such strong opinions and were much more knowledgeable than me that I felt like I didn’t have a loud enough voice to defend my feelings when it came to the subject. To me it was more important to stay silent than to appear uneducated or to be disliked because of my political opinion.
Most of this was due to the fact that I lived at home in Texas. I was surrounded by people that I did not agree with. I was the minority when it came to a lot of progressive thinking. Not only was I living in the Bible Belt, I also hadn’t been introduced to many different ways of thinking other than Religion. I didn’t know many gay people or people of color. Although I felt in my heart that I was not like most of the people I interacted with, my own ideas about the world were still forming as I was figuring out who I was and how I wanted to think.
I would have been able to vote in the 2012 election but chose not to even register to vote. I was 18 years old and should have exercised my right to vote in my first election, but the campaign wasn’t important to me. For me, it didn’t feel like it was worth it because I knew I wasn’t educated enough at the time and didn’t want to vote and potentially throw away an important vote. I’m not proud of this, but that was what happened.
This election year I’ve never felt so compelled to make a difference. I registered to vote for the first time because I wanted Bernie Sanders so badly on the presidential ballot. Unfortunately I missed the deadline to vote in the primaries by one day. However, once Hilary got the Democratic nomination she had my full support. As a woman I could see how important it was for me to vote and show just as much determination for her as she has in this race.
I thought there was no way the election would end the way it did. I thought America was better than this. Hilary is not a perfect person. No president has been perfect. But no one has been as bad as Donald Trump. I’m astonished that he was able to run, much less win. I’m humiliated and ashamed of my country and how the vote went. I’m heartbroken that so many Americans don’t care about the lives of groups that are different. The next four years are going to be very scary for human rights. Those who voted for Trump set our country back decades and have failed us.
This election would have gone down in history either way. I just can’t believe that I woke up today to the news that I did. There’s such a heavy weight on my chest because I’m so sad at the outcome. Our country is going to be run by a rapist who brags about how he treats women and people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. This is not the America I want to live in. The America I want is the one who opened its arms to immigrants and refugees from all walks of life hoping for a better life.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”