Change is relative. For some, change might mean rearranging the furniture in their bedroom. For others, change means breaking long-standing barriers. From what I have encountered, change starts small but grows into something meaningful. This is what I have observed while growing up in Trump’s America. And this is what I hope will change.
It all began on a gloomy Tuesday night back in 2016. My family reluctantly kept the TV on through the early parts of the night to watch the history of our nation unfold. It was the 2016 Presidential Election, and I was just as nervous as the rest of the country. Although I was only 14 at the time, a mere novice to the political landscape of America, I believed what my parents told me. Trump was a disgusting, misogynistic man preparing our country for WW3. I went to bed that night praying that I would wake up to good news, that the first woman in the history of the United States would be elected president.
I got up the next morning and soon heard the news: Trump had won the presidency by 77 electoral votes. My heart dropped. Now what? Was our country destined for war? What did this mean for women? How could a country elect a man whose morals were consistent with those of a convicted sex offender?
My family avoided the subject all day until my mom and I were driving to soccer practice.
“Did you see that Trump won?” I asked my mother, knowing quite well that she had and that she was utterly disappointed.
“Unfortunately,” she responded gravely. I was expecting rage, fury, or anger to follow, but instead, we sat in silence for the rest of the drive.
We felt defeated. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. We were disappointed in our own country that had promised us freedom and respect.
If only I knew what was to come. If only I knew that the government would strip kids of their mothers trying to escape horrors in their own country. If only I knew the leader of our nation would have to pay women to keep quiet about his assaults. If only I knew my government would elect an abominable man to serve a life appointment on the highest judicial court of the United States. If only I knew the president would protect the pro-gun argument while kids are being used as target practice. If I only I knew what the future would look like, maybe I would’ve been able to prepare myself.
Growing up in Trump’s America is filled with hatred, uncertainty, distrust, and sorrow. Hatred towards the very government that we were raised to trust. The uncertainty of whether a fellow student would take a gun out of his backpack and end my life. Distrust in my senators and in my peers who vouch for Trump. Sorrow that we have come this far in our history only to take a step back.
But there is light among the darkness. Only a shimmer, but it undoubtedly raises my hopes for change. The Me Too Movement and March for Our Lives work continuously for change. They inspire me to continue to hope to see a woman president, see justice for sexual assault victims, and see gun control during my lifetime. I admire their messages and I stand behind their campaign. I believe that if we too can fight for our freedom, we can continue moving towards a future filled with safe schools, complete families, and justice for women. Change comes gradually and although we might yearn for a faster process, we can use this time to teach resiliency and inspire young girls to always look towards the future.