Hearing the results of today’s election while in Mozambique was a surrel experince. Many volunteers sat in the basement of the Peace Corps office huddled around a 18″ TV streaming CNN since 8pm Tuesday night. Joining them at around 7am, after the NYT had already announced that Trump had a 85% chance of winning, the tension was palpable; I’ve never heard our group quieter.
After it became official, there were about a million thoughts racing through my head, and after having a day to think about it, I still don’t know just how to feel. In all my previous conversations about the US presidential elections with Mozambicans, it was easy to blow off the comments about Trump, say that I support Hilary, and that I don’t think there’s any way Trump can win. In the 12 hours or so since the results became official, I’ve already had an angry Mozambican ask me how I could elect someone like this, and continue yelling at me even after telling him that I do not support Trump. We had another man excitedly yell, “Trump, hoye!” from the window of his car as we walked past and I cringed, feeling kind of embarrassed that this man assumed we would be celebrating the results of this election.
I have a feeling my conversations about politics, and American culture in general, got a lot more complicated today. In a way, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it will give me the opportunity to explain a little bit more of the complexities of the American political system and the differing opinions of Americans. At the same time, I am scared for what is happening in my country while I am so far away. I am scared for my friends who are a part of any of the many minority groups whose rights Trump has time and time again shown are not important to him. I am scared that apparently the majority of Americans are at the very least complacent with Trump’s many homophobic, xenophobic, racist, and sexist beliefs. I am scared for myself, that I will come home to a country that no longer provides women with basic rights such as access to reproductive health care.
I never thought Trump had a chance of winning this election, and I never knew politics could make my heart ache like this. I’m gonna feel a whole lot less proud saying “eu sou Americana,” after today.