I'm a self-described cynical optimist, more Vonnegut than Bradbury. I think that people generally try to do the right thing, and I'm not a doomsday crier. I don't think the country will abruptly turn into a fascist state due to the events of Tuesday night's election — but I do believe that, as a country, we will get what we deserve.
We just elected a man — a reality television host, to be more precise – with no political experience, despite the advice of economists, human rights officials, foreign leaders, the GOP and prominent members of the Republican party, the current president (as well as former president Bill Clinton with both Bushes remaining mysteriously silent), most major media outlets and several other groups. We elected a man who admitted to sexually assaulting women, proposed banning an entire religious group from entering the country, insulted war heroes and their families, mocked people with disabilities, bragged about not paying taxes, promoted the use of torturous interrogation techniques, threatened to bypass the constitution to throw his opponent in jail after the election — well, you get the idea (and if you want more, here's a semi-full list). In short, we elected someone with no respect for anyone but himself and the people who put money in his pockets.
What hurts me even more, though, is what we gave up in exchange for this sorry excuse for a change candidate. Instead of electing a competent president with extensive policy plans, history of and potential for bipartisanship, staggering amounts of experience of working in government and the ability to admit to a mistake, we elected a previous host of "The Apprentice" who is famous for the line "You're Fired" whose biggest accomplishment is avoiding years of taxes by using depreciation write-offs to claim a loss of $916 million dollars.
This just shows me that no matter how qualified, poised, unflappable and competent a woman is, she is still lower in the eyes of the American public than any man who deigns to show up and compete. Donald Trump didn't even have to try to beat Hillary Clinton; he ran a haphazard campaign at best, and raised less than half the amount of money to fund his campaign than she did. What this election has taught me and every other woman and girl in the nation, not to mention every other person of every other gender and ethnicity, is that a super-qualified woman is still worth less to this country than a not-even-approaching qualified man. America could not look past the fact that Clinton did not have the right chromosomes, and as a nation, we have to live with ourselves and the consequences resulting from our blatant biases.
However, like I said, I am an optimist. I believe that, despite what happens the next four years, we'll learn. I believe in remaining calm, in doing what I believe the poise queen herself would do: admitting defeat and facilitating a peaceful transition of power, and loving and caring for everyone regardless of political leanings. And maybe – hopefully – we'll do better next time. I just hope we don't have to go through too much pain and hardship as a result of our slow learning curve.