The Divided States of America

Women against Donald Trump by Fibonacci Blue (CC BY 2.0)

What a week it has been.

Wow. Yikes.

Like most of the world, I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts into words and then put those words into proper sentences that don’t involve me bashing my fist against my keyboard. I’ve even tried to remain impartial- something I’m not quite sure I can do anymore when it comes to reporting on America’s political system. It’s just too difficult.

I’m going to be completely honest- like many Hillary Clinton supporters, I spent a great deal of Wednesday crying. I didn’t know how to process what I was watching unfold on television.

From 9.30am I began watching Channel 7’s live coverage of the U.S. Election results with such hope in my heart. Was today the day history would be made? Would all women around the world rejoice as America elected their first female President? Would little girls go to sleep that night knowing that they could achieve anything, regardless of their gender?

That hope soon turned to despair as Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton began losing crucial swing states and her number of Electoral College votes dwindled in contrast to her Republican running mate, Donald Trump.

I have spent the last 18-months following the U.S. Election from beginning to end. From the moment Hillary Clinton first announced that she would be running for President again (after failing to receive the party nomination back in 2008) to the 2016 primaries and caucuses to the recent three-part debate.

I’ve watched Hillary devote her time endlessly to America’s most vulnerable minorities, whilst her opponent spent the majority of his campaign name-calling women, the disabled, the Mexican populace…basically anyone that was not a caucasian male.

The one concept of America’s political system that I can never seem to fathom is how voting is option. There is no fine if you choose not to vote- unlike here in Australia. Actually, Australia is on a small list of 22 countries were voting is mandatory.

But why wouldn’t you want to vote? Why don’t Americans want a say in their country’s future? According to exit polls, it seems that the 2016 Election saw another low voter turnout- an insult quite frankly to those who fought so hard for the right to vote in U.S. Elections, particularly the suffragettes.

Rockefeller Centre during Election Night by Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)

NBC News Exit Polls reveal key voter demographics from those that went to the polls on Election Day.

One of the key demographics that should not go unrecognised is that of the millennial population.

55 per cent of those aged between 18 and 29 voted from Clinton, in contrast to 37 per cent who voted for Trump.

Those aged between 45 and 64 were more inclined to vote for Trump than Clinton with 53 per cent of the vote going to the Republican candidate.

Perhaps the most alarming exit poll shows that while Clinton was the most popular candidate amongst female Americans (at 54 per cent) 42 per cent of women still voted for Trump, even after his extensive string of sexual assault allegations.

Now that is scary.

What is also frightening is the ominous year that lays ahead for many Americans and specifically, the minorities.

The LGBTQI+ Community specifically fear for their safety, as Vice President-Elect Mike Pence openly supports conversion therapy. In fact, he has stated that he would rather defund HIV funding to give money to groups practising it.

Muslim women of America are also concerned for their welfare since Trump was named President last week.

These Tweets reveal some of heartbreaking responses from young Muslim women across the States.

But one of the most disturbing things I have found in my research online post-election comes in regards to the hate crimes that appear to be sweeping across U.S. city streets.

In New York State, a swastika was painted onto a softball field building in the small village of Wellsville along with the statement, ‘Make America White Again’.

Just a warning, these linked articles are very graphic and are highly anti-semitic.

Reports of racist graffiti, hate crimes post-election

US Election 2016: Are hate crimes spiking after Trump’s victory?

Those unhappy with the outcome of the election, many of them Democratic supporters,  have taken to various city streets across America, protesting against Trump’s election with slogans such as #NotMyPresident and #LoveTrumpsHate.

The protests are still continuing today, four days since the results were first announced.

Protest march against Donald Trump by Fibonacci Blue (CC BY 2.0)

As for poor Hillary, she is handling her loss with the grace and dignity she always has. It should have been Hillary who won, and according to the popular vote on the NBC News Exit Polls, she did win the overall popular vote of America. However, because of the way the Electoral College functions, she failed to receive the 270 votes required to become the next President of the United States.

I am yet to watch her concession speech- I had to turn my television off early because I was that distressed by the results. The bigoted billionaire defeated in my opinion, the most qualified Presidential Candidate to ever run for the Oval Office. It’s not fair.

Maybe if the Electoral College didn’t operate, she would’ve been the clear winner from the beginning of the night. Perhaps if FBI Director James Comey hadn’t reignited her email controversy in the week leading up to the election, only to later clear her of no wrongdoing, then maybe she would’ve been more trusted as Americans flocked to the polls. Maybe more citizens could have voted and won her those crucial swing states.

There are endless possibilities- but unfortunately, there is no DeLorean time machine and we cannot go back to change the outcome.

We can only unite together in solidarity and prove that hatred and fear will not win.

We must remind the generations of women to come that they can achieve their goals and that one day, there will be a female of President of the United States and she will be fierce and powerful because women are just as strong as men. That highest glass ceiling will be shattered.

The fight for equality is far from over.

I leave you with this excerpt from Hillary’s concession speech.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Peace and love,

– C

And to all 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

* Hillary’s full concession speech can be found here on CNN