Dealing with the elections overseas

Sunday, November 13, 2016

As someone who has already studied abroad, coming back to France for the second time around was pretty much a breeze. I already knew the language, customs, and all the other in-betweens for living in a foreign country. Until this week, I thought I had it in the bag; that was until the elections happened. As Tuesday approached I became more anxious about the possibility of Donald Trump being elected. My French colleagues, friends, and even random strangers would ask if I truly believed that we, the American people, would elect someone like Trump into office. I laughed the notion off, telling them that I had faith in the American people.

By Tuesday night my faith in the American people diminished as I saw state after state shine in red. The country that I had grown up and loved was morphing into a country full of hate. Miles away from home, all I could do was watch and cry in horror as the possibility of Trump becoming President grew stronger. How could the American people choose someone that is a sexist, a racist, ableist, and xenophobic candidate as President of the United States? (If you don’t believe me check the credible links attached). As I went to bed at one in the morning, I prayed that I would wake up to see the America that I had loved on the television screen displaying that love always conquered hate.

Three hours later, and lots of tossing and turning in my bed, I woke up to my worst nightmare. Trump was in the low 200’s for electoral votes and was predicted to win. As Hillary’s team announced for supporters to go home, and Trump announced his victory all I could do was cry. I wept for my friends of color who feared for their lives (even more then they had before). I wept for my friends of the LGBTQ community who suddenly feared that their civil freedoms would be taken away. I wept for the grandmas and mothers who would have to explain to their children and grandchildren that America had elected a rapist and pussy-grabber instead of the first female president. I wept, because for the first time ever I questioned if I would feel safe returning back to my country.

Throughout the week I have internally debated and (slowly) come to terms with the elections results. I want to make myself clear about certain matters. I am not sad or mad because a Republican won the election. Rather, I am disappointed in the United States for electing someone who clearly should not be President. Having these emotions of grief does not make me lesser of a person. It makes me human.

I feel divided; one part wanting to flee as far away from the US as possible while another part of me wants to fight. I feel tired because in one term of being President, I worry that Trump will have erased hard work done by numerous civil rights leaders. I feel hopeless and wonder if there will be a future for my generation to have because the elected President doesn’t even believe in global climate change.  I feel scared because hate groups such as the KKK have once again become public thanks to Trump’s hate speech.

So please forgive me if I decide to lie and say that I’m from Canada for a bit. Understand that it’s hard for me to explain to my students about the elections and be an ambassador for the United States abroad  at the moment. All I can do is wait to see what this unpredictable president-elect will do to the United States and abroad. Until then, I will continue to stand in solidarity, all the way in France, with those who believe that love can trump hate (pun 100% intended).

Until next time, 

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