As I sit here

I’ve been trying to figure out my emotions for a couple of days now. Intellectually, I know what happened. I know that Trump was elected. I could tell you by how many electoral votes and what states he upset in. I could give you facts and figures about turnouts and campaign stops that Trump scheduled and Clinton skipped. I could give you all kinds of information about different events that have happened globally that pointed in the direction of a Trump presidency. But none of these things makes me believe that it happened.

I sat in the newsroom until the early hours on that Election Night, watching the results of the first Presidential Election in which I could vote roll in. I watched as states were called and I watched as my vote was counted. At that time, I was a journalist. Trump winning was just another headline that I had to write. It was just another prompt for a front page story, an editorial, a column. Just another day in the office.

But it wasn’t just another day. I have spent the past two days trying to process what happened, yet somehow I can’t. I try to put on a brave face. I talk strictly in facts and figures to my friends and family, trying to seem impartial. I make a Spotify playlist. I try to encourage unity.

When I try to think of the next four years, I have a really hard time picturing what will happen. I know how my government works and political science, so I know that the president has a lot less power than people think he does. But I still don’t know what is going to happen.

Trump was elected because democracy was doing its job. I respect democracy, so I have to respect the result. And I respect the Office of the President of the United States, but I cannot respect the man that will hold it as of January 20, 2017.

So, how can I separate the man from the office? Is it possible?

I have never had to deal with grief before, but for some reason I feel like I am going through the five stages of it. I am still in disbelief. I have been angry. Angry at people who voted for Trump. Angry at my age group for not having a higher turnout. Angry at the people who voted for a third party, even though that is there constitutional right.

 On Election Night, I tried to bargain with God. I asked Him to please stop Trump from winning. I asked Him to stop a result when I should have been asking Him for peace.

Right now, I feel like I am in the depression stage. As I sit and listen to my new Spotify playlist here in the dark, it feels like there is a raincloud in my chest. There is no thunder or lightening; I am no longer angry. However, it is the type of raincloud that turns everything gray. It’s a weird sensation for me, for someone who always tries to look on the bright side, to feel like everything has lost color.

I know that was super melodramatic, but it’s the only way I can describe how I feel.

I don’t even know for what I am grieving. I was not “all in” on Clinton, so I’m not mourning her political career. I’m not mourning America, because the America I know has not died. So what am I grieving for? The America that existed under President Obama? The laughter of some friends who are taking this particularly hard, and can’t seem to see past it? Or the time where the prejudices that appears to live in a large part of Americans was hidden?

However, going through these steps means that I am working my way towards acceptance. I don’t know when I will get there, but I know I will get there eventually. And while I may not like or respect our new president-elect, I will do everything in my power to help this country along, whether that means standing by him or gritting my teeth and baring it for four years.

I won’t lie and say that I wish this was all a dream. But I need to wake up and face the reality that God has given me. History will look back on these next four years, and someday my children will ask me what it was like. Time goes on, and only time will tell what just happened. I will be okay, just as the nation will be okay. I just need time to grieve.

Dear Mr. Trump

Today, I am scared.

Today, the future that I once looked towards in a rose-colored lens turned dark and uncertain.

Today, Donald Trump effectively secured the Republican nomination.

I am not a Republican and I am not a Democrat, so this is not one of those politically-charged posts where I rant on and on about how much better my candidate is than the other. In fact, I don’t truly support anyone anymore.

But you, Mr. Trump, are the only one that makes me truly fearful for the future.

Mr. Trump,  for months now I have watched you bully your way to the top. I have watched you stomp on other nationalities, genders, races, and thoughts in order to give yourself power. I have watched you degrade other human beings to the level of insects with your words and actions.

I have read everything. I have read everything in support of you and in opposition of you. I have watched every debate and primary, and I have listened to all of your speeches. Now it is my turn to speak.

I am tired of you saying nothing. I am tired of you saying words that have no basis or background or reasoning, simply because they sound decent and elicit applause.

You and I have blatantly different points of view, but that is not my point. You are a bully, and I do not like bullies very much.

I love America. I sing the national anthem and pray for our troops and hold my hand over my heart when I say the pledge of allegiance.

You do not represent the America that I love.

You represent the ugliest, most profane part of America. You build walls instead of bridges and spew hate when you should be spreading love. You focus on all the bad in the world and thrive in it instead of searching for the good and working towards a better place. You are so ignorant of anything that could not possibly involve you that you ignore the people that you are stepping on.

I firmly believe that you started this campaign as a publicity stunt, and once you got a taste of power, it consumed you. It filled you like a drug and began to dictate your actions. And now that you have a taste of it, you can’t stop.

The America I love would have never even thought of you as a president. But the America I love is not the one that is voting you. You have fed off of the fear and hate that has been boiling in our country. You harnessed it and nourished it like a prized pig until you had a cult surrounding you, screaming for you and fighting in your name.

You advocate violence and hatred, two things that the America I love would never stand for.

I usually see the best in people, but I am having a really hard time seeing the best in you.

I don’t know how to stop you, but trust me when I say this:

I damn sure am going to try.