So it’s been over a year since Clinton and Trump announced their campaigns for presidency, and every second of it has been horrible. It has been a long, tiring journey to Election Day 2016 and it’s hard to believe I’m here. Throughout this entire process, I have never written a column about any of the candidates or anything that has happened in relation to the elections. I never wanted to feed into the amount of attention these people were already going to receive, mainly because I never wanted to even dwell upon it myself and nothing that was being done was particularly shocking to me. Now, I’m ironically enough writing about it with the same level of defeat I felt filling out my absentee ballot.
Instead of condemning people for voting or not voting, I really want to discuss the fact that whatever the decision of the election is, it does not change the fact that we are already living in a dystopian society. Trump is disgusting, no doubt about that, but just because we don’t elect him to be president, doesn’t mean that as a society we have “beaten him” or those with a similar mentality. We don’t deserve a pat on the back for ensuring he doesn’t get elected and voting for another imperialist. The idea of how any of these candidates are going to “run the country” stresses me out, but the responses to Trump have honestly stressed me out the most whether they have been against or in support of him.
It isn’t just the fact that Trump is a real person, I guess, that is actually running for presidency of the United States, it’s that he isn’t the only Trump. There are people who agree with him and identify with him, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten on the ballot (not that that’s the only way to get candidacy, but in a “traditional” sense). The only difference between Trump and every other racist is that he’s been given a big stage to match his big unnecessary mouth. Some people actually identify with that, which is terrifying to dwell on. Bigots have always existed, Trump is just a very large and annoying symbol of that. People everywhere walk through life very sure that their opinion is the correct one even though it may be disrespectful and disregard a person’s existence, whether they support Hillary or Trump.
How I feel now, during this election, is a more intense version of how I feel everyday; waiting for the next moment someone is going to disrespect a culture, make a misogynistic joke, use a racial slur, etc. Feeling this way has become an unwanted aspect of myself and election day is only a heightened version of this emotion. Just today, I accidentally interacted with someone I didn’t notice was wearing a Trump hat. As I saw those words stitched to that bright red cap, meant to grab your attention, I felt sick and instantly stopped talking mid-sentence because engaging with that person was the last thing I wanted to do.
Overall, there’s a whole lot of noise going on in regards to the election and my way to cope with it is honestly just ignoring what every other person is saying either directly to me or all over social media. I’m over here just trying to make it through, so I don’t need a constant reminder that even though people pander to liberal ideas of change, nothing will happen. All institutions are filled with empty ambitions and initiatives. Oppression will continue no matter who is elected. There will still be racism, misogyny, dead bodies in our streets and overseas.
I’ve provided an onslaught of cynicism and nihilism, but that becomes your state when you feel like you’ve already lost. It is important for those of marginalized backgrounds to remember and practice self care throughout the electoral process since we’re the ones that will be damaged either way; so do whatever you need to do to make it through.
Sarah Zumba is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zumba Works it Out appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.