We wept on Tuesday night.
We came to you for comfort, but many of you just blamed her. You blamed her for her past, for her husband's indiscretions. We wept for our futures and came to you for comfort, only to be left wondering how the women who raised us to be strong and independent could make us feel so alone.
When we were young, you told us to follow our dreams. You supported us. You were our biggest fans. But on Tuesday you failed us. You failed to think of the future we're going to be living in. You failed to think about what could happen to us—the violence, the fear, the harm. We needed you to be an ally, but now it's almost as if you're the enemy.
So many of you fought for equal rights. So many of you watched as our rights expanded. You watched as our wages grew, as our rights were written into law.
And then, on Tuesday, you tore down one of our own.
"She's not a feminist," you said.
"She's married to a rapist."
Some of your ancestors bled for our rights, and you—you set us back. Not all of you; in fact, many of you gave us hope. But the rest of you—those who decided she wasn't enough—what is enough?
She's fought. She's been fighting for decades for women and other disenfranchised citizens. So what if she made mistakes? We all make mistakes. Are you not flawed? Have you never made a bad decision? She's worked harder to achieve her dreams than many of us have or ever will.
How could you?
How could you vote for a man who has assaulted women and bragged about it? For a man who says pregnancy is a burden on a business? For a man who objectifies his own daughter?
How could you look at a woman and only see her husband's infidelities?
I'm one of the lucky ones. I've never been sexually assaulted. But I have been harassed. I've had men lurk above me to get a glimpse of what is under my shirt. I've had men (and women) demean me for being young and inexperienced. I've had men tell me I don't understand something, even though I've studied and practiced it for years. I've had men—elected public officials—make comments about my appearance. They've objectified me while I was working, while I was trying to ensure that the public was aware of what was going on. And now it's only going to get worse.
If the president can do it, why can't they?
I cried when my father died. I mourned his death. But on November 8, I mourned a different loss. I cried for a different reason. She lost. And I felt a personal loss, a loss of opportunity. If she couldn't break the glass ceiling, how could I?
So, to the women who raised us—us being the strong women, the independent women, the women who dream and achieve—how could you fail us? How could you have looked at the ballot and chosen a predator and his partner in crime, a man who has cut funding for women's health care? You chose a future for us that you simply cannot justify. So stop trying to justify it to us. You can't.
To the 60 percent of white, non-college-educated women who voted for Donald Trump, I'm sorry you felt like you couldn't trust a woman to run your government. I'm sorry you felt so much fear and hatred for another woman that you couldn't pick her. But I want you to know this: so many of us—your daughters, your nieces, your family members—are now more scared than ever because of your decision.
And to the women who told me, "Oh, I want a female president, just not her." If not her, who? Who is more prepared to be president? Her loss just proves to us that, yes, less qualified men can and will beat us out for jobs—no matter who we are, no matter who they are.
So, to the women who raised us, how can you support us in our fear? We're afraid not just for our safety but for the safety of our black, brown, and LGBTQ friends and family. We're afraid that they can't live their lives freely.
This wasn't about politics. It wasn't about policy. It was about humanity.
And humanity failed us.
This article appeared in print with the headline "To the Women Who Raised Us."