It really is my fault for expecting a different outcome.
I've lived all my life among family and friends who've never truly partook of the celebrity culture. Sure, we have our idols who we love simply because they are master entertainers (and, oh, let me tell you, it embarrasses me to think what my idol must be thinking about us now), but we've always understood that celebrity does not necessarily equate to intelligence or morality.
I've lived all my life in areas of mixed race and high education, places where the color of your skin or the amount of money in your pocket doesn't matter because it becomes quickly apparent that it's really the facility of the brain and the contents of the heart that makes a person.
I've lived all my life among people who didn't care how your flesh was shaped between your legs. My mother and all of my aunts - both sides of the family - had college degrees in the 40s and 50s, and all had careers. For me and my sister, going to college and then on to graduate work wasn't a privilege - it was natural. We work alongside our male colleagues without any thought of who might be limited because of their gender.
I've lived all my life with true freedom of religion. My mother wanted me to find God, and she let me look. She was Methodist, but she encouraged me to explore and find my own beliefs, my own morality. I mostly studied Christianity, but I looked into other belief systems. Most of all, she accepted my decision in the end. Among my extended family, we have Christians of many denominations, Buddhists, Shinto, agnostics, atheists, and even one Jewish member - and it's never mattered once. Belief stayed free.
However, what I've really never had is any real experience in the way the other side lives, and that's my fault. All these things I take for granted, they're not the norm for most people, and I knew that, but I think I didn't know that. That's why this whole election has terrified me. It scared me that we ever got into the situation where a sociopathic fascist could hope to gain the presidency of this country, and now I'm terrified that he has actually attained it.
I just don't understand how this happened.
How did we get to the point where people idolize a man's celebrity so much, they're willing to support him even though every word out of his mouth demonstrates his self-interest and lack of conscience and intelligence?
Why do the Christians who voted for him believe in a man who espouses practices diametrically opposite those that Christ urged his followers to adopt?
How in the world did a man get elected on a platform of hate and egomania?
I suppose if I've learned anything today, it's that this country hasn't grown up, hasn't learned its lessons from history and matured into a society of respect and love. I should have already known that, of course - the fact that we're still arguing over whose taxes should pay for our infrastructure and children's education is a red flag right there - but this just drives it home. People are so afraid that the simple presence of someone next door is going to ruin their lives rather than make everyone's lives better, that they're willing to listen to a man who tells them that the solution is to kill them all.
I'm in the minority, in every way you categorize my life - I'm a female, Asian, college-educated atheist - and I'm terrified. I'm terrified to walk out of my door this morning, because I'm visibly different. I'm terrified of what might happen to my husband, who is a white male of Mediterranean descent, which means he looks Latino or Arabic at a glance. I'm terrified of what will happen over the next four years, as walls are built to protect the white male hegemony with the blessing of the American people.
I just don't understand. How did we get here?