DISCLAIMER: Musings and thoughts (not an opinion article) of an immigrant (an outsider?) as the day unfolds, as the verdict sinks in. “From here on in, I may be as woefully wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who decided the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron”– but I don’t think so. I don’t mean to impose my ideas or opinions or thoughts on any one, and every one is entitled to his/her own. Disagreements/differences in opinions are better resolved when one tries to show another their perspective, instead of simply badmouthing and name-calling.
The morning was quite somehow, lackluster and missing a usual Wednesday’s bustle.
It was the morning after Election Night. Many had gone to sleep early, and had woken up to a grey, stormy morning, scared, and with the sun nowhere in sight. Many others had not managed to sleep till dawn, having lain awake, bright-eyed and wondering how they’d have the energy to tackle the next day.
The atmosphere, in general, was subdued, almost funereal, as every one quietly went about their work. A sense of exhaustion hung deep and heavy, as most struggled to maintain a look of nonchalance, while some tried to hide their tears- yet all acutely aware how the day was so different from the day before.
The boss walked by, shaking her head and smiling ruefully, ‘We will not talk about politics.’
Cocooned in our social media of choice, which we thought were our vehicle, our voice, but of course, now we know better… Cocooned in our social media bubble, we rant, we rage, we apportion blame, argue and in the end, we try to make sense and struggle for the silver lining.
What will happen to me? A gay, a lesbian, a bisexual, a person of color, Mexicans, a man with a beard, a woman with a scarf, a Muslim, disabled, a woman, an immigrant, an endangered animal, the environment, a tax-paying citizen, a liberal, the middle-class… The question echoes, across and beyond, what will happen to me?
What happens next? What happens to the country? What happens to its people, to the people of the world? These are just a few things that only time can answer. Meanwhile, you hope, even while you despair, fear and are besieged with uncertainty and doubt.
After 1928, this was the first time the President, the House and the Senate, all belonged to the Republican party. As of November 9, 2016, Donald Trump is the President-Elect of the United States of America. The inconceivable, the ludicrous, the unfathomable was the reality now.
The great country stood divided, yet staunch in their own choices, refusing to meet eye-to eye, to come to an understanding. It happened even as Secretary Hilary Clinton in her concession speech tells the people to unite behind our President; even as President Barack Obama reminds us, the sun will rise again the next morning (asks to stand with the man who had, and his supporters, had said about Obama, he ain’t our President!).
But the cruel reality was still hard to digest, protestors took to the streets, to Twitter, Facebook while many others rejoiced in their majority. The day was rife with wild speculations – corrupt DNC, bigots and misogynist voters (can women be misogynists as well?), the results would be different if it was Bernie Sanders running against Trump, absent voters or voters voting independent parties, ill-informed public, email scams, the corrupt Clintons, the accused Clintons, James Comey’s last minute stunt, rigged systems- the list was ever-growing, but everything was only just conjecture and theories of minds that were fighting to grasp the extent of what had just taken place. The unthinkable had just happened.
Many establishments closed early. People, somber and introspective, were leaving work early. Many, with or without voting rights in the country, were careful about their words, their opinions (the IQ at our workplace, in our state even, is much higher than the general public, someone said, but still wasn’t sure if that was reason enough to make our upset known). The computer screens were flooded with opinion articles trying to make sense of what had transpired, of what the people had wanted, on how President Trump was going to ‘make America great again’. U.S. Presidential Election 2016 would go down in the history books as one the most studied political outcome/maneuver for a long, long time.
Meanwhile, the rest of us, along with the rest of the world, wait and watch. Wait with bated breath, hoping deep inside, that the other half knew what they had done, whom they had handed the baton of the country to; and hope against hope that they were not just the uneducated, the ill-informed, hate-mongers or the white supremacists (who believe that America belongs to the white people) who had done so. But when a message, a campaign of fear, of hate, of divisiveness, of blatant lies, of directionless and empty promises, a campaign stripped of respect and dignity wins the presidential race- hopefully, the other side also understands where the terror stems from.
In all the cacophony, we hold on to the hope- that the sun will rise again, and America will still be great, that it will not go down easy, that it will still be the Land of Freedom for all those who made it their home, the land of opportunities for all those who dreamed, for all those whom the United States of America embraced wholeheartedly irrespective of every difference, of every small thing that separated or divided us.
N.B. Among other things, India is coming to terms with the banning of ₹500 and ₹1000 notes by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and issuance of new ₹500 and ₹2000 notes- brilliant and bold or catastrophic? I feel I cannot comment, being away from the heart and nerve of my nation. But all in all, November 8-9, 2016 goes down as a tremendous day in history.