The Day After: Feelings of a Trump Presidency
Written by Megan Stringer
Every light in every window in every apartment is on. It is 11:30 p.m. on a Tuesday evening, and Chicago is weeping.
The bars sit quiet on the corners of each residential street, displaying TVs with election results known so far. Donald Trump is about to be elected president of the United States. The couple at the bar stands with their backs to the windows, afraid to face the outside world. The bartender moves sluggish between his counter and the glasses behind them, as he sighs and sets down his work. He has no one to celebrate with tonight.
Just six days earlier, the same Wrigleyville corner bar was filled with the messy celebration of a Cubs World Series Championship.
Just six days earlier, noise erupted in daily routine as Chicago burst with excitement to experience a victory they hadn’t felt in 108 years.
Just six days earlier, Chicago felt vibration beneath their feet and movement in their bodies and they were ready to take on the world.
This Tuesday evening, the kids stay inside. The beer stays inside. The people stay inside, with their lights on, and their hearts in their hands, and their fear streaming from their eyes in liquid pools.
The lights in every window won’t dim as it grows darker outside. With the election of Donald Trump, these people need their lights on. They need to see where they’re going, who they’re bringing with them, and how they’re going to do it – because they’re going to do it.
They’re going to react. They’re going to feel. They’re going to revolt. They’re going to want. They’re going to change.
I feel as if the only power I have is my words. I feel as if people won’t listen to my words. I feel as if people did listen to my words, and the words of my friends, then we would not be in this situation. I feel heavy. I feel afraid. I feel the need to run, to scream and shout, to move, to flail, to connect, to strengthen, to kick, to change.
I feel like I am in a fever dream kept prisoner of the flu, and I am going to wake up and question the world around me, without being able to move from under my thick wool blankets or know if what I am feeling really happened. I feel sick. I feel something rising up from my stomach into my throat and coming out of me in bubbles and spilling onto the page.
I feel naive.
I feel as if my words can only have power if you listen.
I feel as if his words had power over the majority of voters because they listened.
I feel as if the majority of silent voters felt they were being listened to.
I feel as if I’d like to talk to you, silent majority.
I feel as if I want no one to be silent.
I feel as if I want to have a conversation, because I want someone to explain why it has come to this.
I feel as if I’m drowning in words that haven’t been spoken and that the silent majority’s fear of words have been heard loud and clear.
I feel as if the pool of my tears and the tears of my friends and family – people of color, women, queer people, trans people, people with words, people with empathy, people with compassion, people with love – are going to drown us before we have the chance to say to you, that you have won, you filthy disgusting heartbreaking silent voters.
I feel as if the suffocation won’t last, because we are screaming. I feel like all the cries are deafening and we are louder than you, silent majority. I feel as if the minority shouts are louder, as if we didn’t do good enough last night.
But I feel as if the wake up call is loud and clear now.
I want another chance. I want another vote. I want a dialogue. I want people to care. I want empathy and I want conversation about why there is none.
I want a revolution.
I want change.
I want another president.
I want love.
I am a human. I am not with The United States of America.
I want out, but I am here. I am here, we are all here, and we must do something.
Photo courtesy of Megan Stringer.
Contact Megan by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @meganticss.