We’ve recovered; now what do we do?

I didn’t really want to add to the all the post-election noise. Everyone has an opinion and everyone’s opinion matters and no one has been silent about how they feel. Okay regardless of whether or not I actually believe that everyone’s opinion matters, I have finally calmed down enough to organize my thoughts about this whole thing.

Election night was probably one of the worst for me in a year that I otherwise labeled as just okay. At around 7 pm that night, after some of the polls were already closed and reporting and the outcome was looking pretty bleak for Hillary, I broke down into tears and decided that I didn’t want to be awake to watch the inevitable.

So I went to bed, woke up 4 hours later and stayed up for another 6 because I was in shock and disbelief.

The atmosphere on campus had completely shifted. I go to Georgia State, which is probably one of the most diverse universities in the country. Our campus is in the middle of Atlanta, it’s almost impossible to escape the noise of the city.

But Wednesday morning was so eerie. The silence was deafening. I felt like I was wearing earplugs.There was almost no one on the streets. I walked past a couple of women who were smiling and laughing and I remembered being angry because I felt like I was mourning and I didn’t understand why they weren’t. Their happiness was upsetting to me because it seemed inappropriate. Why was their happiness inappropriate?

In the days following the election I cycled between being sad, angry, motivated, restless, nervous, inspired and resentful. Most of those were expected, but I never thought that this election would be an inspiration for me.

I follow a lot of activists and celebrities on twitter. A lot of their messages were along the lines of how I was feeling. A few of them sparked something else though.

I kept seeing this recurring theme of “We have more work to do, we have more work to do!” and I keep thinking, well yes of course we do. But I’m also thinking what am I going to do to ensure the work gets done? What is my part in this?

For as long as I can remember, I’d always seen myself with a career in publishing or writing. That was what I wanted and I figured I’d somehow get there no matter how difficult it would be.

I’d considered other career options for myself, not seriously though, just to amuse my family because they don’t think that a career in writing is a future. But for the first time, I’m feeling as if there is something else for me. The world is changing around me, hastily. And my values are changing as well I think.

The protection and preservation of marginalized people is something that is greatly important to me. Refusing to allow people who want to perpetuate ideas and laws to harm these people to have power is paramount.

This is what the map could have looked like if only people aged 18-34 voted on Tuesday.

We know that a couple of decades from now the political system will be completely different. For the most part, the people who grew up in a world where it was socially acceptable to openly disrespect and degrade people based on religion, race, sex, and sexual orientation will be dead. I hope. Leaving the stage open for a better, more enlightened generation of leaders.

I thought the world had ended Tuesday night, and maybe it did. But I will always credit the end of the world with being the event that somehow inspired me and changed my life for the better.

( electoral college map:


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