When her husband heads out of town on business, one of my college besties often taps me to come over after work for dinner and help her get her two adorably-precious daughters ready for bed. I look forward to these special evenings, as I get to spend some quality time with her 5 and 8 year olds, and of course, catch up with my gal pal.
I just got home from one of these evenings. After work, I hopped into the terrible Boston traffic – mind racing in a million directions – to have some sushi followed by an episode of Cake Boss.
Of course, the 2016 Presidential election was top of mind tonight. As I watched the girls doing their gymnastics routines for me, I couldn’t help but think of how, if things had happened differently, we would have been celebrating the first female President – Hillary Clinton – and how we had finally shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. But instead I tried to distract my mind from ruminating about my fears, the uncertainty that many of us are feeling, after Donald Trump won the Presidency.
Frankly I still feel like I’m living in some alternative universe because I can’t allow my brain to process what lies ahead. I stayed up until the wee hours of the night – maybe 2am or 3am – sporadically checking CNN.com or Facebook. But when another state was called for Trump, and the map of the US kept getting redder and redder, my fear took over and I closed my eyes for some relief. I woke up a few hours later – about 6:30am – and looked immediately at CNN.com with a glimmer of hope – and saw a large photo of Donald Trump that said “President Elect.” My heart sank. My mind started racing. I went back to Facebook and posted this:
Not feeling like America is so great again. Feeling sad, scared, and concerned about what’s to come. My only solace is that I live in a progressive state like MA. Trying not to let my mind imagine the worst; I’m committed to doing what I can to fight for my rights as a woman, as a Jew, and as an ally. For those of you posting that we should support whomever won – I reserve the right to grieve first for the civil liberties that may be lost.
I’ve often associated with the term “minority” being Jewish in the US – we make up less than 2% of the population. And being a woman is tricky – we’ve come far, but we still make about 70 cents on the dollar to men (in general) – and we have a long way to go in terms of filling leadership positions…although I do have to say that the pay inequality between men and women is not applicable at my current workplace, and two of the three senior leaders at my nonprofit are women….so that’s positive.
I want to keep an open mind going forward with our new President Elect. I really do. I don’t want to protest or complain or sign petitions. I want to move ahead. But the unknown is keeping my mind racing:
- Will our religious freedoms – for Jews, for Muslims – be compromised?
- Will Trump follow through with building a wall between the US and Mexico?
- Will immigrants start disappearing as they are deported?
- Will the right to choose what I do with my own body remain legal?
- Will Planned Parenthood not be able to provide free or subsidized cancer screenings?
- Will I have to worry about being sexually harassed in the workplace because our “President does it, so why can’t I?”
- Will all pharmacists gain the right to prevent me and my fellow women from obtaining birth control?
- Will unemployment skyrocket?
- Will I lose my job because arts funding dries up?
I thought it was important to document my questions so that I can hopefully look back soon and say, “All that worry was for nothing.” I hope that when my friend taps me to return to help with her children that their lives are relatively unchanged other than typical growing pains.