Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams

As I sit at my computer typing these words, I have so many thoughts running through my head, yet finding the words to adequately convey my feelings is difficult. No words seem appropriate enough.

In an effort to try to articulate my thoughts, I will offer a few words: disbelief, anger, sadness, shock, disappointment and fear. 

Quite simply, I cannot believe the United States of America has elected a political novice known for his rude, racist, misogynistic and insensitive comments and actions over a qualified woman who has spent the past 30 years of her life advocating for people of various backgrounds to have equal opportunities and access.

Donald Trump, the president-elect (I can’t believe I just typed “president-elect”) is as crass as they come. He is disruptive, abusive and he incites violence — yet he will now hold the most powerful office in the land. What makes his victory even more disturbing is his pure lack of knowledge and depth of anything related to the office he will hold come January. 

The office of president of the United States is not a joke, nor is it a reality television show. It is, however, a position that will affect the lives of millions of people — a large percentage of whom Trump continually denounced throughout his campaign. 

Now do you see why disbelief, anger, sadness, shock, disappointment and fear are some of the emotions I am feeling?

There are many factors that led to Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton. Here are a few:

1. His voter-base delivered

Throughout his campaign, Trump spoke very specifically to his core demographic: White uneducated men. He spoke a language that they understood and appreciated, and as a result, that demographic delivered on Election Day.

2. Voter suppression was in effect

Since the last two presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, the voter map was completely destroyed. Voting lines were redrawn, counties in certain states dramatically reduced or totally eliminated early voting sites, hours were shortened, and select colleges and universities (many HBCUs) throughout the country lost their ability to have polling sites on campus. Naturally, this made voting a challenge. 

3. Some underestimated Trump’s influence

From undecided voters, to millennials who never accepted the fact that Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary, to people who simply didn’t grasp the magnitude of this election — they all underestimated Trump and the influence he carried.

For me, the presidential election was not about Democrat or Republican. It was clearly about who was the most qualified, who would benefit America the most and who could effectively be a leader who looked out for all Americans, not just a certain demographic. Hillary Clinton checked all of those boxes. 

Trump’s victory is not a joke, and I fear we will see how true those words are in the very near future. From a legislative perspective, Trump is looking to undo a lot of what President Barack Obama accomplished, simply because of partisanship. That is dangerous. But what is even more dangerous is what I think will happen locally on a day-to-day basis in the lives of everyday Americans. 

For starters, who knows what health care will look like in the very near future, as Trump has vowed to eliminate Obamacare within his first two weeks in office. That means there will most likely be discriminatory practices in place that prohibit people from receiving quality, affordable health care. It is very likely we will go back to allowing insurance companies the ability to deny claims for pre-existing conditions. That means a cancer sufferer, someone with high blood pressure or even a child who has extreme asthma may be refused insurance or forced to pay significantly higher premiums. 

In addition, because Trump’s message has been one that promoted hatred and violence, I think more of those behaviors will be evident in the lives of everyday people. From the beginning, I took issue with Trump’s deliberately placed references to “the good ol’ days,” when “we wouldn’t tolerate that type of stuff,” or “we’d knock them out of their seats,” — direct references to the 1940s, 50s and 60s when racial tension was high and discrimination was evident.

Having Indiana’s ultra-conservative Gov. Mike Pence as vice president now means that we may be subjected to even more discriminatory practices. Remember RFRA? Now, those discriminated against will be more than just Blacks. It will also include the Latino population, immigrants, homosexuals, etc. I think more everyday people will openly display their hatred of others. We saw it on the campaign trail and during Trump’s rallies, so we will see it in an even more prevalent way now.

On election night, my mind was heavy. When I finally turned the television off at 12:30 a.m., I was eagerly anticipating sleep, but I never found it as I wondered what the end results would be. If I’m honest, I knew then Clinton wouldn’t win, but I was holding on to a shred of hope. When I woke up and saw Donald Trump had won, I grew weary. My first thoughts were how devastating this is for the country as well as the world. And I also thought about the child I am pregnant with, and how I will have to raise him under a president who doesn’t respect people that look like us. I also thought of Clinton. She is so immensely qualified to hold the office of president, yet she lost to a reality TV idiot. I hurt for her, because I can imagine the pain she feels.

As I made my way to work, friends texted and called me asking me what happened to America. I replied, “It revealed itself.” By electing Donald Trump president, we showed who we really are and what is most important. We also proved that racism and sexism are ever-alive in this country.

Once I arrived at the Recorder office, I saw the pain on the faces of my employees — my male and female employees; people who are white, Black and Hispanic; people who are young and not so young. It hurt me to see their pain and disbelief.

I’m not sure what the immediate future holds before Jan. 20 when Trump is inaugurated, but I hope either a miracle occurs and Trump actually turns out to be a good president, or that every progressive and fair-minded American in the U.S. will reclaim the vigor and work to ensure we don’t face such a fate come the election of 2020.

http://www.indianapolisrecorder.com/opinion/article_e086cf06-a81e-11e6-a2c0-f7a8750f3e1a.html

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