This Shouldn’t Happen

Just a short addendum, and then I’m going to shut down the part of my brain that thinks about these things (or try to, at any rate).

I had students in my class today in tears over the results of yesterday’s elections. Young people (girls, with some major identity issues to begin with) who are terrified about the future of the country. Petrified that they’ll lose their rights, or that friends will lose their rights. Sickened that the nation has essentially endorsed a man who … well. Who represents some of the worst that American males have on offer.

Now, these are teenage girls, I’ll grant. It isn’t like hyperbole and overemotionality aren’t the standard operating procedure. I wouldn’t have anticipated a reaction like that, but it’s not hard to understand it, either. Most of them can’t even vote, but that’s hardly insulation against the all-consuming house fire that this campaign season has been. But it’s exceedingly difficult to picture the same reaction swinging in the other direction; that is, young boys (or, okay, girls) crying over a Trump defeat.

And I can peddle platitudes, and I can share my optimism (such as it is) and I can acknowledge their fears (many of which I share). But words kind of feel empty when the future generation is looking at you with tears in their eyes, asking in despair how this could happen.

And the fact is, this shouldn’t happen. A disagreement in ideology is one thing. A healthy thing. Uncertainty about the future is normal in a time like this. But fear — real, visceral fear for the future, or even for their safety — that shouldn’t happen.

Then I come home, and I see protests springing up in major cities across the nation (and it turns out, one is scheduled for my neck of the woods tomorrow). And I think, holy shark. This shouldn’t happen.

Trump came out with a pretty positive message in his acceptance. Clinton came out with a similar message, as did Obama. Move forward. Work together. Heal. Unite. This is all good, but for a lot of people out there, the message clearly rings hollow.

This shouldn’t happen.

…I don’t have any answers tonight. I just know this shouldn’t happen.

5 thoughts on “This Shouldn’t Happen

  1. Fwiw, it’s not just the younger generation. As a survivor of rape and a female who’s worked in many “male-oriented” job fields, and experienced what it’s like to be not treated as a capable human just for [quality you have no control over], part of my brain just locked up today, trying not to relive those moments. Here’s to all of that not coming to pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ripples were felt over here in the UK too. When we had Brexit, earlier this year, there were many of us left shocked and ashamed of our country. Even though I can’t fathom what it must be like to have a man like Donald Trump elected the “leader” of your country, I still can’t help but see the parallels; the racism, the attacks/abuse on people in the following days, the fact that it wasn’t exactly a landslide win… It’s like the world is going backwards and its horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I imagine the feeling is similar: that this sort of thing is just impossible to even believe, and yet, here it is. The only comfort I take is that there’s an ebb and flow to social progression… for every handful of steps forward, there are a couple of steps back. But the trend is ever forward.

      I mean, it has to be.


      Liked by 1 person

      • It might make people really sit up and think about future change. We have a habit of just accepting things, especially when they’re “not that bad”. If it gets bad enough, well… that’s when people actually listen I suppose!

        Liked by 1 person

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