Trump Terrors

23004913732-1It happened again today – my heart beat faster, my chest tightened, and the stiff, hot feeling started in my hands and ran all the way up to my shoulders then down my back. My stomach churned and a lump formed in the back of my throat. This has been happening regularly since the release of Donald Trump’s video where he bragged about using his status to sexually assault women.

Today it was a meme that a friend posted promoting Trump over Hillary. First, the disbelief – why would my friend post something that even slightly supported Trump and his comments? Doesn’t my friend care about sexual assault? Why would my friend want to elect a predator whose posturing and intimidation techniques literally made my skin crawl during the last debate? Is my friend even really my friend? Why would we give this insatiably power hungry monster even more power? Not to mention control of nuclear weapons, our military, and the basic rights of American citizens.

Of course, those questions aren’t completely fair, but they’re how I feel nonetheless, and there are things that need to be discussed amongst that jumble of emotion-riddled inquiries. Such as, what are the consequences of electing a man who has admitted that he used his power and status to sexually assault women?

And that isn’t the only conversation we should be having, that’s just the conversation I’m having right now as a survivor of sexual assault. We should also be talking about the consequences of supporting and electing a man who has made racist, bigoted, sexist, misogynistic remarks, a man that wants to take away the rights of American citizens, a man that wants to deport people, a man who has no political experience, a man that other countries aren’t willing to have a dialogue with (and for good reason).

“Don’t worry, even if he gets elected, it’s not like he’ll ever get those things passed through Congress anyway.”

It’s bigger than that. It’s so much bigger than that.

People in the spotlight are role models. They are people that other people try to be like. When the leader of the free world thinks it is okay to treat women like lesser citizens, lesser humans, it makes it more okay for others to do the same, people in all kinds of power positions. It makes conversations like his “locker room banter” more commonplace, more acceptable.  It pours down from the top like a rush of hot lava, and it becomes more and more normalized and more and more okay. Our society changes, and all the steps forward and progress that minority groups, the LGBTQ+ community, and women have made are now bastardized as they are forced to  take a few back. Big steps. It’s so harmful, it’s so dangerous. Even him being taken seriously as a candidate has done this to an extent; we can’t afford four years of it with Trump serving as the leader of the free world.

Not to mention, at this point in the game I’m not willing to say that Trump isn’t able to get elected or get problematic legislation passed. I remember the day that Donald Trump announced that he was running for President. I was out to lunch with co-workers, and the topic came up. Everyone thought it was a joke and that he would never make it to the end.

Time passed, and he started rising quickly in the polls. Everyone said that it was a temporary thing, people wouldn’t actually vote for him. My concern that people were taking him seriously started.

Then he was leading the polls, and everyone whispered what if he actually became the candidate? No, we assured each other, that would never actually happen. He doesn’t have a platform, or political experience, or any idea how to run a country. My doubt lingered, tugging at my gut.

Republican candidates started dropping like flies. Then Ted Cruz dropped out of the race, and with Kasich and Trump left, the reality that he would be the candidate started to sink in. But surely, the GOP would do something, they wouldn’t really let him be the candidate, right?

And then there was one. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President of the United States. An unqualified, inexperienced, semi-successful businessman/reality tv star/celebrity who just so happens to be a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot with poor communication skills. But surely, surely he won’t be elected President, right? Right?!?!

I just don’t know. It’s terrifying.