Like so many others, I woke up this morning shocked and fearful. Not just fearful of Donald Trump but fearful that so many people voted for him.
Back in June, I was confident that Britain would vote to Remain. The vast majority of people I followed on Twitter and were friends with on Facebook voted remain as I did and were vocal about how strong they felt about it. On the morning the results were announced, I was shocked that Leave had won, along with all those who had felt strongly about remaining. Who were these people who voted to leave?
That morning, I had to buy some milk and biscuits on my way to work. I stopped outside the most convenient shop which happened to be an Asian owned corner shop. As I walked in, the two men behind the till immediately stopped talking. The way people do when they have just been talking about you. The silence was filled with the sound of the radio discussing David Cameron's resignation and the result of the Referendum. As they stared at me awkwardly, I found myself apologising to the men, "it's ok, I voted to stay." Their faces showed obvious relief and they continued the conversation they were having before I entered the shop. It was clear, that as a minority in England, they felt attacked by the result.
With the EU Referendum the racism and prejudice was more subtle, it was masked by other issues. In this Presidential Election, the bigoted fascism is what Donald Trump and his campaign represented. "When Mexico send it's people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists" "The beauty of me is that I'm very rich." " I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I'm more honest and my women are more beautiful." "The point is, you can never be too greedy." "I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist."...
With Brexit causing 'a lasting rise in hate crime', it is distressing to imagine what effect a racist and misogynistic president will cause.
Who were the winners of both of these votes? Selfishness, ignorance, and naivety. Selfishness that led people to put their worries on immigration and national pride above the lives of humans. Ignorance that prevented the priveledged from empathising with minorities. Naivety that allowed people to believe that by leaving the EU, money would actually go where the lying politicians said it would go. Naivety that led me to believe that the opinion of my timeline and friends who I respect represented the general public.
These events have exposed so much about society. The inherent greed and narrow-mindedness of so many. An abusive racist businessman wins over a qualified woman. Multiple serious accusations of sexual assault and rape do not always ruin a man's career. People will believe anything. Hate sells, fear sells, extremism sells.
We cannot lose hope. Let today's result make you angry, let it make you passionate, let it make you focus on the issues that really matter. Fight against everyday sexism, everyday racism, everyday homophobia- every day. Be educated, be aware, most importantly, be kind.
"The best way to not feel hopeless is to stand up and do something' -Barack Obama