South Kern Sol, Chris Romo
After 18 months, I couldn’t wait for this contentious, bizarre, unprecedented election season to be over. But as I sat at a local election party, watching in disbelief as the media reported that the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, and South Carolina were going to go to Trump, I felt as though my stomach had dropped. At that moment, I wished we could reverse time to start the campaign all over again.
I still remember when both candidates announced they were running. I recall watching Donald Trump come down the escalator of his Trump Tower, thinking to myself, “This must be a joke.”
Then the billionaire businessman, turned reality T.V. star walked up onto the podium and started speaking. What I heard coming out of his mouth was shocking and sickening. How could this man really get up in front of the world and call Mexicans, my people, criminals, rapists and drug dealers and expect to win the highest office in the land? I knew that nothing he was saying was true, but I never guessed that in 2016 so many people would agree with him.
I grew up in a largely Hispanic neighborhood in South Bakersfield, where many of my neighbors were immigrants. I saw hard working individuals such as my father get up every morning and go to work at an underpaid job, to work 8-12 hour days in order to earn barely enough to provide for their families and send their children to school.
I did not see what Trump saw.
But Donald Trump didn’t just stop with insulting Hispanics, he insulted Muslims by threatening to ban them from our country; he insulted women; he insulted veterans. The list of insults goes on and on. I thought that there could be no possible way that someone with such hatred towards others could ever be president.
At the election party I was surrounded by Hillary Clinton supporters who thought that she was a sure win. The party started off lively, with music, dancing, food and drinks. But the celebration soon turned to mourning as the results of the election poured in. By about 10:00 pm I knew what was happening, though I just did not want to believe it. I held hope to the very end that maybe Clinton could pull off a miracle win. That miracle never came. After a long night of waiting, it was announced that Clinton conceded and Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. Tears began running down many people’s cheeks. No one could believe what had happened.
The next morning I woke up and I thought to myself, “Maybe it was all a dream? Maybe today is in fact election day and we still have a chance?” But then I turned on the news and saw in bold letters, “President-Elect Donald Trump” and my heart broke. The rest of that day seemed dark and an eery silence pervaded the streets. It felt as though we all had lost a loved one and that we were going through a period of mourning. Of course the election of Trump isn’t the end and life will go on. But I am afraid of what that life will look like.
As I saw Hillary Clinton stand up on that stage and say to her supporters how sorry she was for letting them down, tears began to come to my eyes. I felt fear for myself and what my life will be like after college. I felt fear for my family, and whether my parents will still have their jobs. I felt fear for my friends and whether or not they will be able to stay here in the only country they’ve ever known. I felt fear for the future of my country and what will happen to all the progress we have made. Will I not have health insurance in a Trump presidency? Will my college costs go up? Will we have to go to war? I have all these questions running through my head and I feel hopeless that there is not nothing left to do now but wait and pray.
However, though Trump may have won, the battle continues. We have to keep fighting for all milestones that we achieved, such expanding affordable healthcare to all, the legalization of gay marriage and the passing of programs such as DACA and DAPA. It will be a tough road ahead of us but no matter how bad things may seem we must always remember to hold our heads high and keep steady down the road towards progress. America is strong and I know that we can survive any challenge that is thrown at us. No matter what, my love for this country will never end and I know that we are and always will be the greatest country on Earth.