On the Eve of Change

Right now, we are standing on a precipice. For better or worse, whatever happens tomorrow night will change the course of history.

I have done my civic duty. I carefully followed the whole of the election process, made sure I knew all the facts before weighing my options, and mailed in my New York absentee ballot weeks ago. I’ve encouraged friends and peers to educate themselves before they cast their own votes. I’ve had a number of discussions with people on both sides of the election in order to gain a broader understanding of American’s current political discourse.

But I’m scared. I am so, so scared.

For those who plan to vote for/have already voted for Donald Trump, I think I can understand why. It’s likely that, like me, you’re scared and angry and utterly tired of certain things not changing, tired of how our government is organized and (often inefficiently or corruptly) run. Trump represents an opportunity for drastic change– he is a wild card, an unpredictable powerhouse who is unafraid to say things that politicians wouldn’t dream of but that an apparently sizable portion of the American population thinks. His business experience could potentially lead to some much-needed economic reform, so I can understand why that aspect of his candidacy might be appealing. I’m aware that many people feel that their rights (particularly their ability to purchase firearms) will be better protected by Trump than if Hillary Clinton were in office. I recognize that Clinton’s scandals, namely the email controversy, make her untrustworthy and more off-putting than Trump in the eyes of many.

With these factors in mind, I sort of get why so many people are voting for Donald Trump.

But I need a president who does not simply claim that “no one respects women more” than they do and whose sole point of “feminist” pride is that they have hired women at their corporation (which, in the 21st century, should be commonplace if a woman is qualified for a position in any field). I need a president who is a visible champion for women’s rights, who has proven themselves to be willing and able to protect a woman’s right to her own body, to fight to narrow the wage gap between men and women, and to give young girls the chance to believe that their opportunities in life are truly limitless. I need a president who recognizes that the right to bear arms, though a significant symbol of Americanism, should not be considered the top priority issue that our country is currently facing. I need a president who will not insult foreign diplomats and who has experience handling delicate international relations in this very turbulent, dangerous age. I need a president who isn’t hot-headed, who can remain calm and focused when faced with harsh criticism or difficult government problems. I need a president who will not contribute to the continuation of racism and the rising trend of Islamophobia in our country. As a vocal ally of the LGBT community, I need a president whose vice president will not work to strip members of the community of their basic human rights. I need a president who will move our nation in a more progressive, open-minded direction rather than whisk us back several decades.

Though she is by no means my ideal candidate, I voted for Hillary Clinton, and I don’t regret that decision in the slightest. The potential for change she represents aligns with far more of my morals and values than Trump’s does.

Frankly, I think Trump is an incredibly risky choice for president; he is thin-skinned, quick to anger, and excessively self-defensive, all of which are less-than-ideal traits within someone who will potentially lead the United States for the next four to eight years. The threat of war and terrorism are constantly looming these days– we cannot afford to have our relationships with foreign nations worsen, and the likelihood of most of them worsening is much higher with Trump in office. Though I’m sure he would hire a number of advisors with experience in all things presidential and governmental, we need someone in the Oval Office who has the knowledge and skill to tackle the bulk of the work themselves, and, given that he has no prior political experience, that is definitely not Trump.

Though I’m nervous about what President Hillary Clinton would do, I am absolutely terrified by the idea of President Donald Trump.

I am not trying to change minds– at this point, the majority of you have formulated pretty strong opinions about the candidates, and one person’s thoughts on the subject probably aren’t going to do much to alter those opinions on the day before the election ends. I’m simply stating my concerns as a young American woman whose future is on the line tomorrow.

I understand that many of you are angry, and that reading this might anger you even more. But know that I’ve tried to understand you, and that I would appreciate it if you could try to do the same. Because, in this scary, messy world we’re currently living in, we truly are stronger together.

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