Kathryn Shares Her Experiences On The US Election From Across The Pond

Kathryn, 18, F, Alternative

Kathryn shares her thoughts about the US Election results…

So when I set out to first write this blog I was expecting to write a piece about an election which ended with Hillary Clinton as our new president and the status quo being maintained. Obviously that hasn’t happened. The last week has been a really hard time for me and for many other people living in this country.

There are many aspects of my identity that feel personally attacked by the election of Donald Trump as president.

Even though I currently live in a very safe, left wing leaning city, in the days after the election I have found myself scared to walk the streets alone; amidst tales of emboldened Trump voters carrying out violent attacks country wide. I am currently based in Wisconsin, one of the swing states that defined the outcome of this election. Wisconsin has two main cities which are very left wing but most of the state is made up of rural farmland and small towns, and as such the state ended up going overwhelmingly red, I believe for the first time in many years.

I have been somewhat uplifted by the very quick work to organize at a grass roots level to protect people most at risk of violence and to protest Trump’s election. The multicultural centre, LGBT centre, women’s centre and International student services at my university have all provided counselling for those who need it, alongside safe, community spaces for students who are most affected by this outcome.

On Thursday I attended an anti-Trump rally here in Madison, much like protests happening all over the country. We temporarily shut down the city centre and finished at the Capitol House of this state.

I understand criticism of whether these kinds of protests can enact meaningful change but it did provide a space where people could feel both supported and heard by the community.

Since the election, my inbox and Facebook timeline have been inundated with various discussions and community calls to arms in which people are planning how best to tackle inevitable racism, infringements on reproductive rights, and the implementation of the North Dakota access pipeline*, amongst other things. If nothing else, at ground level, this election has been a call to arms and it is clear to me that people are ready to organize.

In the coming weeks I will be looking to my community leaders for direction. I will be following online activists like Shaun King, who promises a concrete plan to organize and mobilize concerned parties across the nation.

I will also be looking after myself, because at times like these self-care is, in its own way, radical.

It’s very clear to me that right-wing, racist, anti-immigrant ideologies are spreading world-wide and it’s not enough to wait 4 years for change. We must start now.

*for those who don’t know the DAPL is an oil pipeline which they are currently planning to run through Native American lands. There are concerns that this will poison the local water source and there have been ongoing nationwide protests against this.