[Tuesday night,] I hesitantly fell asleep at 12:00 a.m. GMT, 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland, as the election persisted five hours behind in time back in the States. I fell asleep with confidence in my candidate, Hillary Clinton, and hope for the strength of American women at this crucial and historic time. I had hope that all Americans would understand that a vote for Trump is a vote not only against women, but against each and every race, establishment, and person that he insulted throughout his candidacy. I had hope that a man who simultaneously participates in and ignores the rape culture epidemic in our country had no chance of gaining power as the head of state of our great nation.
I pictured myself waking up at 4:00 a.m. GMT to see HRC pulling ahead in the electoral college. I pictured the tears of satisfaction I, as well as women back in the States, would cry as the glass ceiling shattered over American women. But when I awoke, tears came for another reason.
By electing Trump, our nation chose to revert our society back almost 100 years. Under Trump, women will be seen as inferior creatures to men— as nothing but objects, nothing but another “pussy” to grab. A woman’s right to choose will be severely threatened, and her opinions and humanity blatantly ignored. Trump and Pence will undoubtedly do the best they can to strip women of everything they have worked for since the Women’s Rights Movement. The glass ceiling that we were so close to breaking will thicken exponentially.
When I arrived in Ireland to spend my semester studying politics, I learned that Ireland was considered one of the most repressive countries in the world for women up until the 1990s. Laws prohibited women’s right to choose effectively promoted marital rape up until the 1980s. Even today, law still prohibits abortion. As a result, an average of 9 women a day and more than 3,000 women a year travel to the UK to exercise their right to choose what happens with their bodies. In learning this, I praised America for its strides in liberating women out from under a patriarchal norm and into their rightful light as humans.
Today, however, I fear my return to the States come December. I fear that along with Inauguration Day will come a generation raised under the leadership of Donald J. Trump—role model to none and bigot to all. I fear for the little girls who could fall victim to the idea that they are not individuals and secondary to their male counterparts. I fear for the little boys who look up to our head of state, and see a man who promotes cruelty and discrimination. I fear for every person that is not a white male or who entertains opinions that differ from this man’s.
Fear is not the end, though. Let our fear be our fire. Let this man and his supporters hear our calls for equality, for an economy for the working class, for safety and respect in international affairs, for the preservation of our earth, and for future generations of Americans to come.