A Woman, Mother, Refugee, American Citizen’s Perspective on Trump 2016

ivana-popovacI am a woman, an American citizen, who watched the 2016 presidential election with bated breath until about 10pm, when my daughter fussed and I laid down with her, and decided it was enough for the evening. I’d wake up in the morning and history will have been made. I woke up at 3am and checked my phone. And I cried. For almost an hour, I sat in bed, in the dark, with my darling girl slumbering next to me, and I cried.

You see, I am a woman. And now, an American citizen. But I am also an immigrant – a war refugee, to be specific. I am also an LGBTQ supporter, an unapologetic feminist, and a mother to a beautiful little girl and another baby on the way. And I cried because I was petrified. The American people elected their next president, Donald Trump, a man who is against everything I AM and against everything I am FOR. He has made it abundantly clear during the course of his campaign that he will work hard to block refugees from entering this country; that he wants to see women who have abortions punished; that he wants to appoint at least one – and potentially many more – ultra conservative justices to the Supreme Court who will work hard to overturn Roe v Wade and undo marriage equality. He wants to close borders, stop all Muslims from entering the country, and completely disintegrate the affordable care act.

I cried last night and I have cried on and off all day. This is not someone who represents me in any way, shape or form. I know what rigorous screening and intervening process refugees go through to enter this country – people who have nothing left and have nowhere to go; people who are surviving (as you cannot call it living) in refugee camps and waiting in limbo to find a new place to call home. With their elders, their children, their disabled, they wait in no man’s land for a glimmer of hope. And the president elect wants to turn this nation’s back to those people. I’m scared of that.

I am scared of someone who claims that women who have abortions need to be punished, no matter the circumstance. I am pro-choice for every woman in this country, no matter her reason. The decision to continue or end a pregnancy lies with a woman and her doctor alone, and government has no place inserting itself into that discussion. I am grateful I have never had to make that tough choice in my life, but I am even MORE grateful that I HAVE the choice.

I cried because I saw something win last night that I never thought would – hate, fear, bigotry, racism and misogyny. And I am not implying that Donald Trump is the cause of it all. But he gave a platform to those who have been hiding their hatred for many years to come out and shine and admit and BE PROUD of their hatred because they now have a president elect “who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks”. That’s not how democracy works. That’s not how DIPLOMACY works. And that’s what scares me the most.

I am so grateful that my daughter is too little to even remotely comprehend what is happening and that I have 4 years to formulate an explanation and an excuse as to how we allowed this man to become the leader of the free nation with quite literally zero political or military experience. And tomorrow, I’ll start to think of those answers already. But today, I still cry on and off and grieve for the 2 steps we are about to take back after all the progress we have made in the last 8 years.

-Ivana Popovac

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