I am a minority. I am Hispanic. I am a woman. I am a part of the LGBTQ community.
And like a lot of millennials and democrats, I felt a resounding disappointment during Tuesday’s election.
Suddenly, I was brought back to when I was a little girl and lived with my immigrant grandparents. My parents were always hard workers, finding jobs wherever they could–even if it meant having to leave their kids with someone else while they worked days and nights. It got to the point where my parents lived in different cities because of job opportunities. Back then my mom, brothers, and I lived in a two-bedroom government housing unit, while my father lived three hours away working.
I can even recall one Christmas when my mom brought back a small bag of donated gifts from the local shelter just so my brother and I could have something to open at midnight. I remember that even though we were lucky to have a roof over our heads and food on the table, it felt like it could’ve all disappeared in an instant.
While I can’t remember exactly the amount of times I have had to sit idly by in silence as someone told me I would never make an impact on the world, today I felt something different. An odd sensation, really, as I watched in shock at what could have been.
To the shy, little Hispanic girl I was, this election would’ve meant everything. (To the skeptical college student I am now, probably not so much at this point).
I felt that, for the first time in my America–the America of watching my dad losing his job back in 2007; of watching my exhausted mother come home from a long shift at the grocery store; of watching my immigrant grandparents’ proud faces as I walked the stage at graduation; of watching my little sister tell me she wanted to be like me and go to college–little ole’ me thought I could actually amount to something. I actually started having the American dream because, hey, I was a free citizen with the world at her feet.
Maybe I will one day. Maybe it’ll be in a small, inconspicuous way by finishing that novel I’ve been afraid to show the world. Maybe I’ll be a Pulitzer prize winner. I don’t know. But in this aftermath, I’m left wondering what opportunities other young Latinos won’t get because of one man’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic remarks.
What kind of home is that? What kind of inspiration is there in a country led by a man who never cared about politics before this go-around, or even yet, is a champion for the privileged? Of a man so quick to justify his offensive words about women, or even worse, about a soldier whose Muslim family was grieving?
Or even better, having the majority of this country back a man whose supporters emphasize how deeply American fundamental values are divided.
Hillary is not perfect. No candidate ever is. To say that I totally agree with her 100 percent is ludicrous. But her entire campaign has been to exemplify that this country is stronger together. We cannot be a nation divided because how would we ever improve our nation’s status?
We’re never going to get anywhere productive by tweeting hate to each other or ranting in the comment section.
I am not a politic buff. I don’t know all of the technicalities to what goes into politics. I can’t recite historical facts off the top of my head even if I did endure two years of AP history back in high school. I am a journalist. I am an observer. I am a citizen. Most importantly, I am a girl whose seen her people get the short end of the stick and be labeled as “rapists and criminals.” And my heart hurts for them and all minorities in this country.
But for what it symbolizes–Clinton’s champion to the White House–is that a woman can lead a country. A woman can achieve greatness through hard work. A woman can be anything she sets her mind to.
A woman campaigning for the presidency showed a glimmer of progressive equality. Even though Tuesday night’s results halted Clinton’s move, I believe it showed the women in this country that if they want it badly enough and they work hard for it, they can achieve greatness.
Perhaps America wasn’t quite ready for such a shift in regards to POTUS. And perhaps liberals feel betrayed and upset over the election’s results, but the world won’t end because of Trump. The world is being catapulted into drastic change.
One thing is certain: Hillary’s run opened up a window of scrutiny on how flawed the election system is when a man with no prior political career is chosen over a woman whose entire career has been politics. It begs the question: why is America so afraid of change?
And for a lot of minorities, whether it’s gender, sexuality, race, or ethnicity, that’s what America should truly be–a land of opportunity; of change. A land where we can shatter glass ceilings and be someone bigger than ourselves. Perhaps one day it will be.
But for now, we’ll fight for who we are.