Trump's Election from Abroad

Thursday, November 10, 2016

[the one where I delve into what this feels like right here, right now]

"...and to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." -Hillary Rodham Clinton

What's happening in American right now is bonkers; watching it from an ocean away is a unique and though-provoking experience. For those of you who didn't know, this semester I've had the privilege of studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain this semester. Here, I've made many an international friend and I've continued to study international politics -- which, of course, is taught very differently here than it is in the States.

At the beginning of the semester, one of the first questions these students would inevitably ask was on my opinion on Donald Trump, and if I thought he could possibly win. At the time I told them I did think it was possible. Keep in mind this was before the most recent of his heinous comments about women. As the semester crept on, even though his platform got more and more extreme, I stood by instincts, thinking that there was definitely still a likely chance that he could be elected, at which point most told me I was crazy or unrealistic. I even made bets, hoping that on Wednesday the 10th of November, I would have to eat my words. Let me simply say: I have never been so upset to win a bet. And I come from Nevada, where gambling is a way of life.

I watched the first few hours of the election and then fell asleep until the last few. I thought I would be waking up with tears of joy at the shattering of the ultimate glass ceiling, that our country would've elected their first female president. Instead the tears I shed at 7am yesterday, and several times since then, have been tears of total heartbreak. I find myself heartbroken about the fact that we elected a sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, hateful, hateful man. Heartbroken that so many are "voter-shaming" those who used their vote to support someone they truly believed in (unless, of course, you wrote-in for Harambee, in which case I full-heartedly agree with the frustration). I am heartbroken that the minorities in America (self-included) are terrified to represent the differences that makes our country beautiful. But most of all, I'm heartbroken at the fact that I believe they're terror is fully justified. Still, I have been so inspired by the absolute outpouring of activism for important causes and the love I've seen explicitly expressed for our persecuted minorities in this time of grief and mourning.

Here's the crux of this post:

Being abroad in these moments is so incredibly painful because I mostly feel that I haven't been able to grieve, to mourn in the way that seems to be a catharsis on American campuses. Instead, this election has become a trending conversation topic. Instead of being allowed to grieve, these international students are looking for answers and expressing hate. Answers I am not totally sure I know how to formulate, and hate that my gentle heart absorbs like a sponge. Moment of honesty here: I actually cried in class today. Maybe some of you think this an overreaction. Maybe you think this is overly emotional. I'll quickly direct you here, but please come back.

And so, as I shared with my dear, sweet, internationally-minded friends, it came to my attention today that my perception of the outcome of the election is very different from those who won't go back to live in the states after December. The outcome of the election is not just a "current event" for me. It is not just a "top news" story. Indeed it is a total change to the way I will have to live my life when I go home. As a woman, as a Latina, as someone near and dear to a multitude of diverse friends. I begged them and now I am begging you to understand that for me this event is something to grieve. I am still in mourning. Maybe that sounds dramatic– so be it, and again, see the hyperlink above. I haven't written on this blog in so long, but I am now as a way to ask that you please be gentle and understanding in the next few days, knowing that this isn't just a hip topic of conversation, but something profoundly impacts me on a personal level. And for the homies at home, please try to be gentle too. We are, after all, better together.

I said it on Facebook and I'll say it again: being abroad right now is hard. being a woman right now is hard. Hillary's concession speech actually brought me to tears in a public place. please never forget that you are strong and powerful and so worth loving.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." -- Galatians 6:9 NIV, as quoted in Clinton's concession speech.

This, gives me hope. Let's stay hopeful, get engaged in the issues that matter, and truly practice loving one another.





Hopeful and lovingly yours,

Sabrina
 
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