It simply doesn’t feel real. People from all around the world have gathered here in this little hostel on a faraway island, Danes, Canadians, Brits, Americans, Japanese etc, and not a single one of them can even remotely comprehend why this is actually happening…
We’re sitting here all together, playing darts and chess, drinking beer and spirits, talking about how the year went for the elections, and all we feel is fear. We met and American couple yesterday who’ve been travelling for a while and are due to go back to Nebraska in 3 days. And as we were talking in the common area, just as Trump earned his victory lead in Pennsylvania (For which I feel extreme, deep disappointment for), she was explaining to us her situation, stuttering, her eyes moving sporadically, as her eyes teared up:
“It’s just really distressing you know, when I go back home, he’s gonna completely take out Planned Parenthood. I’m not gonna be able to be able to pay for birth control, the economy will probably go to shit and what am I supposed to do, I’m just a waitress…”
It all gets very personal when you meet people whose lives will be affected by this much more than yours. Sure Europe will probably have its fair share of problems with Trump, but progressive Americans (all Americans actually by the end of his term) will be the ones to pay the real price. But in the end our thoughts go to all the little girls who looked forward to this day as the day equality took a step forward in the US, to the 11 million Hispanic immigrants fearing for their status, to the LGBTQ community who will have to deal with a Vice-President who sponsored a bill to criminalize homosexuality, to the millions of young Americans who thought this was their time to right the wrongs of the past generation. It all looks dim from here on out.
The results also bring up a lot of questions…
Will I, or Usman for example, be able to visit the United States if they keep people out based on looks and we decide we’d like to keep growing our beards for the simple reason that we’re too damn lazy? How will Syria, Afghanistan and all the other places the US has gotten itself involved in look with a commander-in-chief who still wonders at night in bed why simply can’t just use those damn nuclear weapons? Will it show populist parties in Europe a good counter-example if he fucks up? Or will they just deny it all on the off-chance of it being random? Will Marine Le Pen also pull off a surprise win in the elections next year?
It’s a sad day for everyone, or at least it should be. It’s hard to summarise emotions in this kind of situation. We feel disappointed. Angry. Restless. Powerless. Empathetic. Confused. But mostly, we feel scared.
There is no doubt in our minds that this will be an unforgettable moment in human history, just for all the wrong reasons.
And so we all take our leave from the common area, cursing under our breath and unable to find comfort even in the fact that we’re half a world away from everything else. It looks like it’ll be a sleepless night for everyone here tonight.
~ Skander and Priya