Make America Fear Again


Julia Zaksek , Jr. managing editor

You’ll probably see hundreds of columns like this.

Columns about anxiety for the future.

Columns about shame.

Columns by every minority and person our newest president has made feel undeserving of the American dream because of the color of their skin or the letter on their birth certificate.

Columns mourning the election of Donald Trump.

Here’s one by a woman.

Let me start off by saying I am a natural cynic. I have always believed in the certainty of our own destruction. I have always believed narcissism is the greatest influencer of human motivation. And the few good are almost always drowned in the harsh realities of the world we’ve created. Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it’s a sad way to live. But I’ve always held it so because I believe it’s true. And the truth is always painful and seen by a few. However, even I, a long and practiced cynic, a doubter of the goodness in human nature, never saw this coming.

I watched in horror as more and more states slowly turned red Tuesday night. I watched in absolute shock as Trump’s smirking face rose above Clinton’s. As cynical as I am, I thought that the last 10 years revealed we were finally on the right path. There will always be hatred. There will always be people who lack the empathy and dignity to accept anyone different than them. That is undeniable and permanent and hideous and true. But I thought we were beginning to leave people like that behind.

We just elected one of those people as president.

I am ashamed.

I am disgusted.

I am so afraid.

And I don’t care if my feelings have ceased to matter to half the American population because this is personal.

Since I was in  middle school, I have been, in my opinion, cursed with a fuller figure than most. Since I was 11 years old, I have felt men stare at my chest as I walk by. I have watched boys, lips twisting, lean their heads together to whisper things I cannot bear to write. I have had boys I scarcely know ask to hug me. Once I foolishly hugged someone who I thought was a friend three times in the belief I was comforting him. Till I pulled away and saw him trying to stare down my shirt.

I have never talked to anyone about these things. Am I ashamed? Maybe. Did I believe pushing them to some obscure corner of my mind would make them non-existent? Yes. But I’m done with that now.

A man has been elected who has bragged about sexual assault. Who has bragged about using the wealth and fame his better fortune gave him to objectify young women. A man who laughed about it. And no one seems to care. No one seems to think it’s a big deal. That’s what our children will think. That’s what the men who watch girls walk by will think. That’s what the next Brock Turner will think. That’s what college football players will think as they follow an 18-year-old girl outside while she goes to get some fresh air. And that will be all that will be on my mind as I walk down the street, keys clenched like knives between my knuckles and 911 on speed dial in my hand.

But now, I wonder if anyone will listen if I hit the button.