We are going to make America great again! Trump spits from my screen.
Thousands cheer; millions tremble. Most of us watch, horrified, elated, transfixed.
He wont win, my roommate assures me. And even if he does, he wont be able to do all the things he wants to do. There are enough good people They wont let him get away with it.
I nod, and we fall silent.
For some of us, its easy to distance ourselves from this election because it feels so absurd and surreal like a nightmare unfolding in the palms of our hands.
As long as theres a screen between us and the fear, as long as presidential debates feel more science fiction than “Black Mirror,” we can hide behind sassy sound bites and meticulously manufactured indifference without ever pausing to ask ourselves that terrifying question:
What if Trump actually wins?
But for others of us, this election holds a lot of evident risk.
This August, Trump asked Americans of color what they have to lose if they vote for him. Upworthy staff writer Erin Canty posted a powerful response. And when I read what she had to say, the screen cracked. For the first time, I thoroughly considered the consequences the true consequences of a Trump presidency.
As a cisgendered middle-class white woman, Id never really had to think about it. In this election, my privilege is evident. Trumps America would be kinder to me than it would to almost any other demographic and that security can make it easy to become complacent.
When I finally set aside the blinders of my privilege, though, I remembered two very important things:
First, I remembered that being an intersectional feminist means concerning myself with the difficulties that all men and women face and not just those that directly affect me. This is easy to forget and important to remember. There is much at stake in this election, especially for the minority members of our communities.
Second, I am reminded that there are certain losses from which checks and balances cannot protect us. These are losses of a less literal nature that require no legislation, that we would all suffer the second the results of the election reveal my worst fear.
It turns out, in Trumps America, theres actually a lot both you and I stand to lose, the least of which has to do with one important idea: hope.
1. As a woman, I would lose my self-worth and sense of security.
When you look at his words and actions, Trumps misogyny paints in vivid detail what life as a woman would look like in his America. It involves women figuratively dropping to their knees, and no, its not a “pretty picture.”
Trumps America isnt one that respects its women. Trumps America is an America that values us based on the appearance of bodies we arent legally allowed to control. Its an America of legislators that would pass more regulations on my uterus than on a corporation, that would punish women in back alleys but pardon men in locker rooms. Its an America where you get six months for being a rapist and 16 years for exposing one.
Trumps America is an America where men have more rights to my body than I do. I cant feel valued; I cant feel safe in an America like that.
2. As an American, I would lose my national pride.
America is a flawed country with so much work to do. But when I look back at how far weve come, Im so proud to belong to a nation that always strives to become better than we were.
But how can I be proud of an America that wont acknowledge its mistakes? An America that condemns the audacity of the first lady reminding us that our nation was built by slaves, yet refuses to see the problem with a country whose government only took one year to kill 102 unarmed black men but 232 years to elect one.
I cant be proud of an America where guns have more protections than the people who die by them, an America thats horrified by a transgendered person in the wrong bathroom but numb to the news of yet another mass shooting. I cant be proud of an America of nearly 4 million square miles that only has room for Native Americans on its sports jerseys.
I cant be proud of Donald Trumps America, an America that refuses to change.
3. As a human, I would lose some faith in our future.
Progress is never perfect. Theres no civilization in this world that has only just moved forward. Every now and then, we falter, take a step back, and then find our footing again.
But we cant afford to fall this far. America needs to keep moving. If we backtrack now, I dont know how well recover. If we let our fear paralyze us, or turn us on each other, hate will divide us.
At the end of the day, no matter who youre voting for, one thing is true: We all want America to be great.
I dont believe in Trump, but I believe in that.
From now on, I’m making a promise to stop pointing fingers at the bad people who made this mess and the good people who will fix it. Its time to take responsibility for my country, to turn my disillusionment into determination and my inaction into incentive.
Its time to ask ourselves what we can do to make this America one we can believe in.
Lets get to work.
What the hell do you have to lose?