…WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
We were sitting on the couch until the early morning hours, mostly silent, and in utter disbelief. I cried. When Pennsylvania was called, we called it a night.
I woke up a few hours later and read the news in bed. And I cried more. Lying there in the dark, I was overcome with fear. What will happen? How did America vote a sexist, bigoted, ignorant bully with no political experience into the highest office? What message are we sending to the world, to our children, to women, blacks, Mexicans, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community? America just slapped all of them across the face with the not so subtle message that they don’t matter.
I am heartbroken, in disbelief, shock, and I’m very angry. I worked hard to come to this country. What country did I choose for myself – and for my children? They were born here; they are Americans. But I am not. My Greencard expires in two years. Will it get renewed? Will we move elsewhere before that even becomes an issue? We immediately started talking about Canada, Europe, basically anywhere else but here. And I love living in New York.
This morning I looked at people’s faces during our subway commute. Everyone looked tired and sad. But that was nothing to what happened when I arrived at Julian’s German School. People were hugging, looking distraught. My friend Marte and I hugged and cried. We are devastated. As a community of expats, of New Yorkers, Germans, parents, thinkers, human beings.
How could this happen? Our children will read about it in their history books. For now, I had some explaining to do this morning. When the boys woke up, they immediately asked, “Did we win? Did Hillary win?”
I told them no. I shed a few tears. And I told my sons that it is even more important now, more important than ever, to practice kindness. To stand up for their friends. To use their bright minds.
It’s a shame we didn’t get our first female president, a highly qualified woman with good values and respect for all human beings. It’s an even greater shame that Americans have elected a dangerous, ignorant buffoon instead. I’m afraid for our future, for my children’s future, for America’s relations with the world, for our safety and our rights.
We have to look forward. We have to stick up for each other. As Michelle Obama famously said, “When they go low, we go high.” It feels almost impossible to think “forward” today; I am still in shock. But my boys don’t pause, they don’t stop, ever. They learn, they grow, and they have good hearts. My job will be to protect them, to shape their futures the best I can, to teach them kindness and acceptance and how to stand up for what’s right. Whether that’s here in New York, or elsewhere.
We will move forward. I know that. I just don’t know when. I hope that this country won’t be ruined for the next 20 years to come. But I will also say this: If you voted for our President Elect, you are responsible. You’ve slapped people like me, my children, our friends, and millions of people in this country across the face. It stings, and I am as angry as I can be. You went very low. Hopefully someday soon, we can show you how we can go high once again.