America, you broke our heart.
I am 27, white. My boyfriend is 25, Latino. We are both college educated and from the New York area. We watched the election results live as they unfolded from my room, in a four bedroom apartment that I share with three roommates in Queens.
Many between the ages of 22 and 30 only had one presidential voting experience before this election: voting for Barack Obama.
We have spent our formative years believing in the possible. We saw healthcare reform, which gave members of our family the right to coverage. My boyfriend and I saw the Supreme Court decide that we were equal to everyone else in this nation, granting us the right to marry if we chose.
We watched from my room in Queens, laughed initially at the drama of CNN’s “Key Election Alerts” which seemed to manifest every two minutes. Soon our irony did not serve us. We felt ill. In state after state, a swath of America spoke their voice.
The people in these states had been overlooked; they had never been spoken to, never been seen by the political elite. Many people in these states were between the ages of 22 and 30, but their experiences had been vastly different from anything I’ve known.
My boyfriend went back to his own apartment long before the race was called. We knew. America had voted for a new president.
Many of us are afraid today, not only for the nation and the world but for our very individual rights. In the coming years, will our families be safe in this country? Will the LGBTQ community hold on to our right to marry? Will we keep Roe v. Wade so that our sisters and cousins can continue to make choices about their own bodies?
America voted. America spoke. America, you broke our heart.
Featured image: a local voter sports an “I voted” sticker. Gustavo Ponce for Bushwick Daily.