As a champion for underdogs, the results of any presidential election in favor of a republican usually upset me because it's generally not the party of social justice. But I didn't feel panicky when Ronald Reagan won re-election in 1984, just pissed off. Neither did I feel panicky when George HW Bush or George W Bush won their elections, just super effing annoyed.
I was pissed and annoyed because it meant I'd have to work harder at being the badass social justice advocate I am, but I didn't feel panicky because, for the most part, I was an ally to the underdogs I championed rather than the direct recipient of the social justice causes I was fighting. As a white, middle class, cis-gender person, my fight to elevate kids out of poverty and to achieve racial and ethnic harmony didn't feel particularly personal, just like the righteous thing to do. I've always been a fan of how Jesus stood up for the least and I felt called to follow his lead.
As a woman I've always been drawn to feminist causes, just as by being bisexual I've felt called to act for fairness to all people in the LGBTQ community. But because of my whiteness and my middle-class status and my ability to pass as straight, I rarely felt terrified of my racist, classist, sexist, homophobic brethren. I felt pity for them. Anger. Sadness. But not terror.
But this election is different. Millions of my fellow Americans voted for a man who trash talked women who didn't live up to his standards of beauty, calling them fat dogs and worse. I'm a fat nonstandard beauty, so Trumps words against women stung. Still, I didn't feel much more than disgust. Not terror. But when I found out that Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussies, I felt terror. Panic. Flashbacks to when I was a five-year old girl getting my pussy grabbed by my older brother and our neighbor.
Yes, I am angry and sad about the results of this election because of what it means to the Muslim families that will be broken up because the person with the most power in our nation thinks that they don't belong here. And the LGBTQ families. And the Mexican-American families.
But as a sexual assault survivor, the election of Donald Trump is terrifying. The fact that so many of my friends and family and neighbors voted for someone who brags about sexual assault is terrifying. Triggering. Traumatic. It feels like my country has told me to shut the fuck up. Silenced into submission.