The night of the election, I gave up watching about 1:30 am. Pennsylvania was slipping red, and the only states where Hillary was strong were too weak in the Electoral College to give her much of a chance to win.
I slept until about 8:30 that morning. I pulled up my phone and checked Facebook to see what happened. My friends were all in mourning. My first thought was to leave the country next fall. Germany, England, New Zealand, anything to get out of the United States for the next four years.
I dragged myself out of bed and went downstairs to check the news on TV. Sure enough the nightmare was true. Drumpf had a strong lead in the Electoral College, and none of the undecided states could alter the outcome.
I started reading more of my friends’ posts on Fb. Some plead not to think of running away from the country and instead to stay and fight for our rights.
I felt bad for realizing that my middle class privilege led me to a very selfish initial response. Save myself. Run from the threat. Get out of Dodge. Most of my friends are half my age and don’t have that luxury. They are stuck here, and have to fight. Hope to survive.
Some said ‘we survived Bush, we can survive this.’ I almost didn’t survive Bush, especially the second one. I got so stressed that I was becoming homi/suicidal. The only way I saw out was to kill – maybe someone else, maybe myself. Now I have a far better support network than during the Bush administrations, but I’m not eager to manage that level of stress, especially since I now have the added stress of being an out trans woman.
This leaves me with three major options.
- Stay with my first thought and leave Philadelphia and the United States. I don’t have great credentials to find another job in academia, but it should be possible. If I chose this option I’d probably finish fixing up my home and sell it.
- Stay with Drexel. I have a long history with Drexel, but the recent management changes make my future there uncertain at best.
- Stay in Philly but look for another position. There are lots of colleges nearby, a change of scenery might be good, and I could keep my home this way.
The logistics of career choices are easy to lay out. Facing the fact that my closest friends are facing President-endorsed verbal and physical assault is too painful to imagine. Facing the fact that I am facing President-endorsed verbal and physical assault is unthinkable.
I don’t know if I have the strength to fight this Administration.