Tuesday night, my heart broke as I watched Donald Trump become president-elect. The only time I have felt this type of grief–the full-body, pressure-cooker kind of grief–is when someone in my life has passed away.
My heart broke first for Hillary Clinton, who spent the last two years doing all of the things women are supposed to do to ensure they don’t come off as bitchy, threatening, or emotional. Who has been dealt insult after insult, accusation after accusation, and gotten back up.
Then my heart broke for me. My heart broke for me because 60 million Americans seem to think I am worth less than a man, that I may be treated like an object, and that I should not be allowed to make choices for myself and my family.
Then my heart broke for all women around me who are trying to reassure themselves that Trump’s win isn’t sexism–it’s just the way the cookie crumbled–even though it doesn’t feel that way.
Then my heart broke for all the like-minded parents around me who have been struggling to explain to their children why someone who does all of the things they’re taught not to (bully, name-call, attack, abuse) has been supported by 60 million Americans.
Then my heart broke for my black friends, my gay or transgender friends, my Muslim friends, my latino friends, and my disabled friends. It broke for my friends and their families who, over the past week, have been screamed at to “Go back to Mexico!” or told that “Trump is going to punish you!”
Then my heart broke for anyone who falls into more than one of these categories. I fall into only one and the pressure I feel wrapping around and squeezing my heart is unbearable; I cannot imagine the emotional burden of others.
And then my heart broke for everyone, because I just can’t see a way the country will heal from this. Too many of us feel too deeply wounded. The next decade, maybe longer, is going to be incredibly rough.
I hope Trump is a great president. I hope that he tempers his rhetoric and policies the way his supporters said he would, that his economic policies don’t pan out how they’re projected to, and that he can successfully empower the working class. I truly, deeply hope for all of these things.
But I’m not holding my breath.