The nightmare has come true. America seems to be in full regression mode, electing a big-mouthed bigot, racist, misogynist and all-around terrible human being as President of the United States.
Watching the numbers come in at my local watering hole, it looked as if someone had stabbed America right in the heart and blood was seeping everywhere. The red. Dear God. So. Much. Red.
I walked back to my apartment, shocked and appalled. Once I was there, I packed a bag. It wasn't some veiled threat to leave the country for having spit in the faces of women, people of color, Muslims, the poor, the disabled and every other discriminated community in America. I had a holiday planned, but at that moment, concern for having to answer for America weighed on me. What could I possibly say? "I'm sorry" isn't going to cut it. The following morning and still in shock, I boarded a flight to Mexico City.
While I hoped to escape the election for a few days so I could process my thoughts on what the fuck was going to happen now, it wasn't possible. The news was everywhere. In the Uber ride to my friend's apartment in Mexico City, vendors at stoplights held up newspapers with Trump's smug face on the cover. A headline by El Gráfico particularly echoed my sentiments. It simply read, "FUUUCK!!!" FUUUCK indeed, El Gráfico.
Our driver spoke to us about leaving the U.S. for Mexico City, and worrying about his family still living in the states. He and my friend spoke about the awfulness that is likely to come and how rampant racism exists in the U.S. I jumped in and added a comment here and there, but mostly just sat in silence. For the first time in a long time, I was at a loss for words while bubbling with anxiety, grief and anger.
I thought avoiding Facebook would suffice. Even without opening my Facebook app however, the barrage of posts blaming everything and everyone under the sun for what happened in America on election night still found their way out of the internet and into my consciousness. That is, you can't stop others from opening their apps. In this case, my best friend was traveling with me and was constantly and understandingly upset at things she read online. Particularly when it came to the onslaught of hate crimes and overtly racist victory posts showing people in blackface or doing the Heil Hitler salute. Friends of hers had been physically attacked outside of a gay bar.
The spray-painted swastikas popping up on walls around the country sliced through her heart, and all I could say was, "I know. It's really bad. It sucks. Just try not to look. It will only upset you. Let's try to just enjoy this time before we have to go back home." You'd think our mothers died while we were on a cruise, and all I could do to console her was offer more soft serve from the buffet until we had to plan the funeral.
Trump infiltrated almost every conversation. He was inescapable, especially in a country that has been attacked by him on countless occasions and will be greatly affected by his presidency. Mexicans are worried. They were and are scared of what it will mean for their work, their livelihood, their families and almost every other aspect of their lives.
At dinner with friends that live in Mexico City, they discussed their fears as business owners. Michelle, a successful jewelry designer originally from Tijuana, showed us an email that began circulating among Mexican business owners, restauranteurs, chefs and anyone else that relies on imported American goods for their business. The email implored people to stop buying American, even providing serial numbers that can be found on stickers on produce that would indicate it comes from the U.S.
"We can't rely on the U.S. anymore. We have almost everything we need here in Mexico," Michelle said, echoing the sentiment of the email. "We just don't know what's going to happen, and we have to learn to cut ourselves off from America."
The ties would have to begin to be severed. Like breaking up with boyfriend before they can get around to brutally dumping you (the dumping in this analogy is deportation).
When I boarded my flight home, I quietly prepared for everything to come. My stomach ached, and the only thing I could do was keep filling my mouth with non-THC cannabis oil so I could attempt to remain calm.
Since I've been back, another friend was threatened at her place of business by a drunk Trump supporter. He told her she was an ugly fat bitch and that no one was there to stand up for her. He could do whatever he wants to her. This is the America we live in now.
Now we have to decide, in the face of Trump's America, what are we going to do to fight back? I left my silence in Mexico City. It will stay there. I'm done mourning. As I wrote in my own Facebook post, to all those who chose to diminish or even attempt to disprove the existence of rampant racism, misogyny, everyday aggressions and pure hate in this country, you're awake now. Do something about it. To those who've been fighting tirelessly, it's time to fight harder.