‘I’m scared and anxious.’|
The election is finally over.
But anxiety and fear is just beginning to settle in. No matter which side you’re on, it’s unquestionable that this election has completely divided the nation. The fact that Donald Trump, America’s 45th president, took the win by a small percentage against Hillary Clinton suggests the country is as conflicted as ever.
What if millennials and Generation Z made the decision? According to this chart below, the outcome of the election would be vastly different. A poll by Survey Monkey surveying over 30,000 millennials and Generation Z individuals found that just five states would have gone to Trump. Two would have been undecided but the entire nation would have voted blue.
What does this say about the future? And how does the youth feel, knowing that decisions in this country are largely out of their hands? Very Good Light interviewed several young men from the ages of 16-22 about the sentiments, fears, and hopes they all have as a country.
Alex McCann, 19, Athens, OH, @alex_mccann
“For my future, I want a whole, united America where we care about each other, respect each other, and work together. That is my American dream.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled about one thing: it’s over. The anxiety, the fear, the division between two sides is all but over. Now I’m afraid for my fellow Americans. I’m a straight white college-educated male — I should be thrilled Trump won, right? No. I’m fearful for everyone who isn’t me: women, Latinos, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community.
I’m a mix of both hopeful and disappointed. I’m disappointed in the result, in the media for not taking Trump seriously, in Americans. Yet at the same time, I’m hopeful. I hope that what Trump said in his acceptance speech is true; that it is time for us to be united, not divided. I hope that his divisive rhetoric was maybe his selling point, and now he wants to unite. It’s a slim hope, but a hope nonetheless.
For my future, I want a whole, united America where we care about each other, respect each other, and work together. That is my American dream. I want America to know that we were great, we are great now, and we always will be great.”
Loejjie Estacio, 22, Brooklyn, NY @loeijjie
“I also share the feeling of dread for our honest, hard-working Latino community.”
“The result of this election utterly shocked me. Growing up, I’ve always been surrounded by cultural diversity and tolerance. I’ve forgotten there’s still a huge part of this country that has such preserved conservative ideals. It was like my bubble of what it’s like to live in America finally popped, and suddenly I was confronted by a disillusioned reality. I am disappointed because spreading fear and hate won over being properly informed. Coming from an immigrant family, I am anxious to what this event would lead for our foreign policy and international ties. I also share the feeling of dread for the future of the LGBTQ community and for our honest, hard-working Latino community.
For those saddened by this wake-up call election result, I still believe that sticking to everyday acts of kindness, acceptance and tolerance will always prevail and overrule politics by a long shot. We must recognize that we still have the choice and control over them, and that these gestures, no matter how small- count more than ballots.”
Betts DeHart, 20, Atlanta, GA, @lucid_betts
“The American Dream is not about fearing our president.”
Sergio Perez, 17, Los Angeles, CA @sorgoo
“I want to live in a future where everyone’s existence is meaningful.”
“This election makes me feel disgusted. I think it’s appalling that a president can instill such fear in such a large amount of the American people; American youth especially. At this point, there’s nothing more to do than to keep fighting for social change, to use this as incentive to make next time better. I know I speak for a lot of Americans when I say I’m disheartened, but I know that the future can still be bright if we keep working towards change and advocating for progress. I want to live in a future where everyone’s existence is meaningful, where people aren’t afraid to walk the streets of their own country, where people know that their voices make a difference, where people aren’t afraid of their neighbors. I want to live in a future that learns from its mistakes and uses them to foster a better, more inclusive environment for every American. I want to live in a future without the idea that people ‘earn’ their right to live in this country, the so-called land of the free. I want change, and I want the American youth to work together toward that goal. ”
Zachariah Shaw, 21, NYC, NY @finesserhudgens
“I’m scared and anxious.”
“This election made me feel uneasy from the start because of how much of a popularity thing it was versus a political thing. It was made into a joke all over social media and no one took it seriously.
I’m certainly disappointed. How can we support a man who is literally against every minority?
I’m scared, anxious and weirdly optimistic because I want to know how this will actually turn out. I want to ensure I can be happy wherever I live and I want America to know it’ll get better.”
Eli Shively, 19, Athens, OH @shivelyeli
“I’m not even thinking about my future right now, to be honest.”
This election makes me feel ashamed to be an American. It’s a complete and utter embarrassment to be a citizen of a country that would elect Donald Trump to their presidency.
Honestly, it hasn’t sunk in yet. It doesn’t feel real, that’s how genuinely scary and absurd this is. I thought we were all better, smarter and more compassionate than this as Americans and I still can’t believe how wrong I was to make that assumption.
I’m not even thinking about my future right now, to be honest. As a white, straight, cisgender man, I am not in any immediate or potential danger. At this point I’m only concerned about the futures of my LGBTQ+ friends, my friends of color, my non-male friends and my Muslim friends. I want America to know that they matter and that the fight for their safety and human rights is far from over.
Andrew Kim, 19, Denver, CO @kimmdrew
“I am anxious about what God has in plan for us in the next four years.”
My main concern for the next four years is unity. In the past couple of years, our country has been separated through violence and hate. Unity is defined as coming as one, however I don’t see this country as one when taking a step back.
America is supposed to be one country of many nations. One race being the human race, not subcategorizing into Asians, blacks, or Muslims. It’s about having one dream: freedom. What was once America is not anymore. Love is being transformed into hate again. The support that we once had for one another is fading. I want to see unification among the American people.
I am anxious about what God has in plan for us in the next four years. But what has been done is done. Trump is the president. Things are definitely going to change. I believe our job is to make sure it does not change for the worse. And that is done through unity among Americans.
Cameron, 16 , Baltimore, MD @CameronSchuessler
“For the future, I just want love.”
I feel like either way we would have had pros and cons with either president. But sadly, what’s done is done.
Dashiel Rowland, 18, New Orleans, LA, @dashielrowland
“A cloud of sadness, anger and more than anything else, disbelief, hangs over my head.”
This election makes me feel truly sick to my stomach. To find out that more than half of the people I share a home and identity with feel more comfortable with a fascist, bigoted, racist, homophobic and overall hateful individual than a qualified leader who advocates for tolerance and equality makes me feel emotions I’ve never felt before today. A cloud of sadness, anger and more than anything else, disbelief, hangs over my head. I thought that after all the progress Obama has led us through and towards, we would never look back. Last night, our country not only took back the eight years of forward movement Obama had instilled, but reverted at least 50 years into the past with hatred as the driving force. I want love and compassion amongst every single human on the face of the earth. I want America to know that global warming is a real thing and that gay conversion therapy isn’t.
Desmond Sam, 21, Queens, NY, @akidcalledDez
“I’m scared because I have many targets on my back.”
At first, I didn’t honestly know how to feel about this election. I felt forced at a crossroad of having to chose the lesser of two evils. I realized that social media had so much power over politics. It made the whole election seem unreal. Then, watching the debates added to the disbelief that someone so unqualified for presidency as Donald Trump could even get this far and now win the election.
My lack of surprise is what hurts me the most. We are living in a shattered country and now we are currently watching the dismantlement of a nation. As a gay and black American I am obviously scared because I have many targets on my back simply due to parts of myself I couldn’t control. It’s a very unsettling feeling.
I voted so I wouldn’t be the stereotypical African American who didn’t vote then sat around complaining about the results. Now, I feel obligated to make a difference even if it’s in the most minuscule way. In the future I want people to understand that what’s happening is so much bigger than ourselves. It’s time to disrupt the current equilibrium of our society. Let’s make the world hear our voices even if we have to scream at the top of our lungs. It’s time for a revolution.
I want America to know that I understand why we are in this situation. Bigotry is so deeply rooted into the core of this country. Racism and discrimination never died. I want other gay black men especially ones younger than myself to know we are very vital parts of this nation. Disregard anyone who tries to tell you different and don’t let anyone discourage you from success.
Reporting by Louis Baragona, Sammy Park and David Yi