David Rowe

Last night was my night to put Matty to bed, so I fell asleep long before the states were decided. I wish I would have stayed asleep, or that this was a just a nightmare caused by too much nervous anxiety over the outcome of an election that had yet to happen.

I woke up at 2:06 this morning and immediately reached for my phone. I think I refreshed the page four times before I “accepted” that it wasn’t wrong or there hadn’t been a mistake. I woke Seth up to tell him.

“Oh my God. Seth. Trump won. Trump won. What the fuck? What are we going to
“Megan, I told you he was going to. Do you not remember anything?”
“No, I must have been too tired. What the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK. Oh my God…”
“Babe, let’s talk about it in the morning. It will be fine. It’s two in the fucking morning.”

I texted friends and luckily a couple of them were also sleepless. I left the room to cry in the bathroom, to catch my breath and to calm my nerves. I sat on the floor next to the toilet for an hour, reading articles and watching videos before crawling back into bed to try to sleep. Soon after, Matty woke up. I went to go lie down with him and snuggle him back to sleep. As I gently and repeatedly wiped his hair across his forehead, staring at his peaceful and innocent face, his warm breath carrying the smell of bland vegetables landing softly on mine, my mind raced 500 miles per hour. I whispered, “Please grow up to be a good man. Please grow up to be a good man. Please grow up to be a good man. Please be a good man. Please be a good man.” over and over. I stayed intertwined with him until my tears turned into a sob and then went back to cry myself to sleep alone.

I think I’ve gotten 45 minutes of sleep since I found out.

Today is a dark day. Seth says it will be fine. I try not to get angry because he just doesn’t get it – I mean, how could he? The lives we’ve lived while seemingly similar are starkly opposite. He is a white, middle aged, blue collar guy. He has never once looked in the mirror and seen race or walked into a room and felt the pressure of his gender. He’s never been afraid of who he is. He doesn’t know what it feels like to walk into a room and feel threatened by the desire of a man or a group of men. He doesn’t know that type of uncomfortable. He has no idea what it feels like to have to continuously defend his reproductive rights, to be able to do what he wants with his body and what is right for him. He doesn’t understand the small twinge of nervousness I get when we enter small town bars I’ve never been to. He’s not always, forever and silently on the alert for an “unwelcome” encounter – you know, the kind where your “kind” isn’t welcome, whether that kind is defined by your genitals or the color of your skin. He’s never had to worry about being unwelcome.

He doesn’t know that today I feel more defeated than I have in a very long time. He doesn’t know that today feels like I could work my whole life and get all of the right experience, and do the right thing every single time and it still wouldn’t matter. He doesn’t know that in every way physically possible, I feel invisible. He doesn’t know that today, more than ever, I feel like a walking number – just another means for someone else to hit a quota they’re bound to – like the day I came back to my dorm during my first semester at Iowa only to find a mysterious check for thirteen hundred dollars with my race in the subject line. Turns out it was grant money from a grant I never even applied for that I got for being a minority. The money was awesome but the feeling was terrible and, yet, somehow today is worse. This is one of those days you don’t forget, regardless of how much you want to.

I don’t pray often but I’m praying today. I’m praying for our planet, our home. I’m praying for all of the women who have been swimming upstream for so long, who today so strongly just want to say “fuck it all” and throw in the towel (me included). I’m praying for those who fear their civil rights to love and marry will be stripped away from them. I’m praying for the LGBT community who’s fight for equality is destined to be long and arduous. I’m praying for the daughters of those who voted this man into office and have put their wallets and their political party ahead of their daughter’s reproductive rights and equality. I’m praying for those who feel unprotected and left behind today by a nation who seems to be strongly driven by hate and prejudice. I’m praying for those young women out there fearing for their rights, their safety, their potential and their futures.

In other words, I’m praying for America today – because these people and these hearts are what make America, America. And we need every. single. one. of them.

The crazies came out to vote yesterday and while Hillary won the popular vote, it wasn’t enough. This country is full of people who would rather have a racist, misogynist sociopath backed by the KKK as president than vote a woman into office. The amount of fear in my heart has doubled. And the amount of worry I have for what the future looks like for me, my kids and their kids is almost crippling. The amount of hate in this country is palpable. It’s weighing everyone down. And this election has given those filled with hate a platform to stand on – and now they’ve been validated. And the message is loud and clear: Hate freely, there are no repercussions – this is your country.

But make no mistake, this is OUR country. Their message is wrong. We had the popular vote, good and decency and love is still the majority even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. In time, we’ll run the hate-filled lunatics back to the woods and the holes and the crevices they came out of – because this is America and hate isn’t our movement, love is.

And I don’t give a fuck what anyone says or what story any election outcome tells – a woman’s place is 100% in the HOUSE, the SENATE and the OVAL OFFICE – fuck all of you that don’t think it is. We will get there – with or without you.

We just have to get through today first.

Cartoon by David Rowe