If you looked at my Facebook newsfeed on election day, it seemed impossible that Trump would win. All the people I knew from my high school in Illinois and college in New York and post-grad program and years in New York and the Americans I met in Abu Dhabi… all of them were full of #imwithher. Of course, in hindsight, I have very left-leaning Facebook friends, who do not represent the majority of America. (And the right-leaning ones are posh enough to silence their tendencies. #secretballot)
(Full disclosure, I am a Republican-leaning person on many issues and have a general disdain for the Democratic party. And I never vote. I can’t pretend every vote counts and I abstain in protest. Plus, I’m registered in Illinois where the Democratic mafia has a stronghold forever. Vote early, vote often, as they say. My not voting and being Republican tends to invalidate my opinions to many people, so if that’s your position, assume it.)
When Trump won, I was shocked. Jaw dropped, knock me over with a feather. Even though I had once verbally predicted that Hillary would lose. I had been suckered into a political conversation with an American teacher who was new to Abu Dhabi and raving about Hillary being the next president. (Even though I literally said “don’t get me started on politics.” I hate talking politics. Especially with people who think every vote counts and wear buttons that say it. She was that kind of person.) This was maybe six months before anyone was announcing their presidency, but Hillary was obviously going to run all the same. And I had (probably very rudely) scoffed at the teacher’s enthusiasm for Hillary. I straight up told her that America was so not ready for a woman president. I told her that the Republicans would run a white-looking Hispanic man and totally crush her.
I’d then gone home and researched possible contenders and decided that it was going to be Marco Rubio.
When Rubio dropped out and Cruz was winning, I was shocked. He was Hispanic, sure, but he wasn’t even born in America. What the fuck was the Republican party doing? And then, somehow, he dropped out too. And somehow, an orange clown won. And I was flabbergasted. This was not the politics I knew…. Who would vote for such a creature?
My mom, that’s who.
When she told me she planned to vote for him and I asked her how she could be so dumb as to vote for Trump, she said that she had looked at his healthcare plan (She works as a medical transcriber for a hospital, so I suppose that’s something she has some knowledge about and feels invested in.) and it seemed legit. She said that her boss had met one of Trump’s health advisers at some event and liked him and found him knowledgeable.
She then said, “Plus I don’t trust Hillary.”
I was furious at her. Literally furious at her. She has brought up her vote for Trump twice with me, and both times I couldn’t even pretend to talk about anything else. I just kept berating her for her idiocy, unable to change the topic or let her do the same. It was just so unfathomable. I’m still angry about it. Even though her vote had no effect on the blue state she votes in, her vote had an effect on my feelings towards her. This morning she asked if bae and I could come visit this winter and I responded with all sorts of bitterness over the impossibility of him getting a visa. And then sarcastically ended the email with: “Trump will fix it though, I’m sure.”
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this new reality, to be honest. That the majority really doesn’t see a problem with someone like Trump. Someone at work asked me how I felt about it and it was small talk, so I gave a vague answer of, “We’ll see how it goes, I guess….” Because I have no clue what’s coming next. Probably nothing of significance. Surely not the doom that many are prophesying. But it’s not going to be fun to watch. It’s going to be uncomfortable and make me nauseous and make me #expatforlife even harder than before. And I already hashtag that pretty hard…