It was late at night and I couldn’t sleep; words like “Pennsylvania” and “Florida” were running through my mind. I heard screaming, and I couldn’t tell if it was outside my building, on the floor below me or in the hallway, but I knew: Donald Trump had won. He was in the lead when I went to bed. I didn’t stay up to watch the number trickle in and watch CNN make their predictions because I had a story day for journalism the next day. I was ready to write about Hillary Clinton being the first woman President.
I eventually fell asleep and woke up to a text from one of my friends: a string of sad face emojis. Without having seen the official news confirming what I already suspected, I replied with a string of crying emojis. I didn’t cry, though. Not yet. I got dressed (in a black sweater, to “mourn America” as I jokingly texted my friends), ate breakfast, grabbed a copy of the Toronto Star and headed out.
The paper must’ve been printed before the final numbers were in, because although it featured a photo of Trump, the headline didn’t officially proclaim his victory. I’m sure it was a different front page than the journalists had imagined printing after the election. I was setting out to write a very different article than I had thought I would be writing that day.
As I walked around campus, the election results were all I heard people talking about. A group of friends who were walking in front of me started swearing profusely about it. I had half a mind to stop them, press record on my phone and ask for an interview, but I decided against it. When I did find people to interview, they almost always groaned when I said my topic was the U.S. election.
I kept interviewing, kept writing, and eventually submitted my story. Then, I collapsed on my couch, opened YouTube and typed in the words that I still couldn’t wrap my mind around: “Hillary Clinton concession speech”. I watched it, and it was only then, almost 12 hours after I heard the screaming, that the reality of the situation came crashing down on me.
It was then that I understood the true meaning of Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” quote from the Democratic National Convention in July. As I watched Hillary elegantly concede the dream of being the first woman President of the United States to a man who ran a campaign based around racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, hate… it was then that I cried.
I cried, and then I grabbed some tissues, and wiped away my raccoon eyes. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and promised myself that I was going to keep fighting for what I believe in, and supporting others who are doing the same. I reminded myself that losing the election did not have to mean losing hope. I thought of Pantsuit Nation, the secret Facebook group that Hillary mentioned in her speech, and I thought about all of the other women and men across the world who were feeling the same way as me.
In her concession speech, Hillary said that nothing has made her prouder than to be the champion of the young women who put their faith in her. Although I’m Canadian, and couldn’t have voted in the election, nothing has made me prouder than to watch Hillary Clinton fight for what she believes in, and to watch the positivity and hope that she continues to inspire in others.