This week, despite not having followed the American presidential campaign or election beyond what cropped up in my newsfeed, I was truly heartbroken.
Politics is something I tend to be very passionate about, yet the very high profile and emotionally charged event that was this year’s race to the presidency honestly failed to capture my attention.
America is not my country. I did not get to vote. Trump is quite literally #notmypresident.
However, as his victory became increasingly clear, I felt my heart break, not just for the people of America, but for myself and my country.
Initially, this was due to the basic fact that Trump, a man entirely unqualified for and unsuited to the job as President of the United States, was elected over a woman who was in every way a better candidate. I thought back to my time in the UNSW Women in Medicine committee, and some of discussions we had at our events about how men essentially have their gender as one more positive on a resume, regardless of their proficiency.
To me, Trump’s election is a sexist one. It has been a prime example of how not only can a man take a job he is not in a position to take, but he can do so with numerous sexual assault allegations, including those involving a minor. He can do so with tapes of his disgustingly predatory language towards women. He can do so with the support of a nation we consider to be first-world and forward thinking.
People chose this man over a woman who used the wrong email. Whatever your reason for supporting Trump, I strongly believe that there is inherent sexism in that decision. It is impossible to look at the two candidates and compare their suitability for this position and still choose Trump without being undeniably on the wrong side of far too many gender issues.
I think the feeling I had upon hearing of his success was one of fear as well. I am a woman, and a member of the LGBTIQA+ community. All the way away in Australia, I felt like his presidency hits home that many people will still relegate me to a second class citizen. Not only that, but violence and hatred towards someone like me is acceptable simply because of my gender identity and sexuality.
But see, I am lucky. I am white. I am well educated. I have a fantastic family. I am financially secure. I am in a relationship with a cisgender, straight male. In a way, I am able to escape much of the scrutiny thrown at both women and LGBTIQA+ people simply out of luck. But my heartbreak was for all of those people, especially those in America, who simply cannot do that.
There have been reports of women wearing hijabs having them pulled off in department stores, of gay men being brutally bashed by trump supporters, and of neo-Nazi Trump-themed graffiti popping up all over the place. America has become a scary place to me. It is now divided into those of the ‘new order’, and the ‘undesirables’.
There are so many flaws with this election and its outcome. Educated people voted for Donald Trump, and we cannot afford to demonise them and leave them as a faceless enemy, or else we will not only fail to understand why we have found ourselves in such a backwards place in 2016, but we will also fail to prevent it from happening again.