It’s been a sobering two days since the US presidential elections, and I’ve had some time to sort out my jumbled thoughts and calm my frayed nerves somewhat.
Like I’ve told my writing sisters – Nicole, Meredith, and Becky, all of whom are beside themselves over the results – I am incredibly saddened by the turn of events.
This isn’t about Republican or Democrat, Leftist or Rightist, Liberal or Conservative leanings. This isn’t about partisanship or even gender (at least, not entirely).
It’s about the injustice and pure atrocity of it all – that a sexual predator, conman, and self-entitled schmuck who has done nothing but spread messages of hate and divisiveness and even unapologetically encouraged violence done unto his protesters could even have the chance to step into the White House and fill the seat meant for the most powerful person in the world. Am I the only one who finds it insulting to Mr Obama that such a man is his successor?
It’s about the fact that an immensely qualified and experienced, passionate and driven woman like Hillary Clinton had been scorned in favour of a chest-thumping zealot with no political experience, who doesn’t fact-check or prepare for a debate, and has consistently belittled and derided and even threatened his political opponent. The fact that she has dedicated a huge part of her life to public service means nothing because EMAILS (never mind that the other candidate had admitted publicly that he had groped women before because that’s trivial compared to those emails, right?).
Months of following this circus show has brought us to this disappointing finale. But for the American people, this is their reality and it will be their reality for the next four years. I am just a spectator.
But then again, I am not. Because I – and many other non-Americans – are global citizens. We are all human. And we can all relate to the ideals and values that were being championed and upheld during this election. While Trump’s campaign was fuelled by hate and bigotry and often pure ignorance, Hillary’s rhetoric on unity and love never once faltered throughout the entire election season.
And you can tell that Hillary really does believe in a more inclusive nation that has space for everyone who isn’t just a straight white male. The cynical ones would probably point out the irony of her speaking about equality when she has lived in her ivory tower all her life as a privileged Yale-educated white woman. But she didn’t break this glass ceiling now, did she?
But I believe that someday that glass ceiling will be shattered, if not by Hillary, then by someone else just as qualified and passionate and dedicated as her.
I’ve exhausted myself ranting to anyone who will listen about why a Trump presidency is a sign of all the toxic things that are about to come. Hillary was robbed, by no less than an inexperienced, hateful, shit-stirring buffoon. She deserved so much more than this – all the irrational hate and prejudice – and I still believe that she deserves to be America’s first female president in her lifetime.
It was heartbreaking watching her concession speech. That was a picture of a woman who had invested everything into the cause she believed in, and who had come SO close to achieving it not just for herself but for women all around the world, a picture of a woman whose dream was shattered and who was trying to compose herself and behave with class and poise even until the end when she left the stage.
Nonetheless, she has fought hard. She fought hard for minorities, and she fought hard for women. She fought for those who were afraid their parents would get deported, and for intelligent, hardworking women who just want fair opportunities in life.
And I believe she will keep fighting. Because she’s Hillary Rodham Clinton. If she could put up with an angry chauvinistic sexist constantly interrupting her while she was trying to make a point without wanting to rip his face off, then she has the mettle, patience, and resilience to weather through a setback as monumental as this.
Say what you will about her past scandals, blow the email business out of proportion if you must, but you can’t deny that she is a trailblazer in her own right. She has inspired many women and people from minority groups everywhere to strive for the dreams they want to achieve.
So take heart. This fight against misogyny and racism and homophobia, this fight for love and tolerance and compassion, is far from over. If anything, it is just beginning and I think Hillary gave us a pretty amazing head-start.
I ache for the millions of women who had invested their hopes and dreams in her and stood alongside her to fight for a better future. But despite all the violence and hate I’ve seen over the past few months – enough to make me lose faith in the world – I am grateful for all the love, acceptance, and compassion my American friends have demonstrated.
And in these tumultuous, confusing times, art – the expression of the self, the envisioning of a world that we want to live in – is more important than ever.
Art has always been a channel to represent under-represented minorities, a means to call out day-to-day injustices, and a mirror that reflects the society and realities that we live in. But it is in times of uncertainty and despair that art becomes an even more powerful medium: a mouthpiece to speak up against tyranny, a sword that we continually sharpen and wield to slay the demons of bigotry and hate, and also a balm that heals the ravaged hearts and restores the battered spirits of those on the front line every day.
So for those who opted for love over hate, stay strong, take your time to grieve, but then dust off your shoulders and rise even higher than before. Make good art, let your voices be heard. We writers have the power to change the world, one story at a time. It is not a lofty ideal; it is our mission.