A week later and I’m left with more questions about myself than I care to admit. I thought I had myself fairly figured out and then a cross-country move (which included nearly two years living in a very Red State) and this election happened. I realize now I didn’t know myself as well as I believed, and I think I’m a better person for it.
Growing up in a suburb just south of Boston, I never had to consider whether or not I was receiving quality healthcare or if my school was sub par. Both healthcare and education just were. So when my family and I moved across country and were faced with a failing healthcare system and forty-ninth rated school district, I had no idea how to handle the situation. I immediately starting asking questions at my son’s school and even took to interviewing doctors before becoming apart of their practices. A trip to the local emergency room changed my Right Leaning way of thinking forever. I was at the emergency room because, as it turned out, I required surgery. While waiting the five plus hours it took to be evaluated and receive my diagnosis, I witnessed an elderly woman brought in via ambulance, barefoot, in her nightgown. She was put in the waiting room and left there in her paper-thin nightgown with a room full of people and not so much as a pair of socks to protect her bare feet from the emergency room germs. She was uninsured, and I learned from hearing her register, had been brought from an urgenct care center for respiratory symptoms. How could this be I wondered? Respiratory symptoms and the urgent care center sends her to the emergency room via ambulance because of insurance issues? I knew I would never be the same. I knew I cared more about people and their well-being than money or tax breaks or anything else.
Then Trump announced his candidacy.
At first I thought it was a joke and it would pass. Never for a minute did I think that he would become our President Elect. Between his comments about Muslims, women, Latinos, and the LGTB community, I figured anybody but Trump would win. Despite the fact that his presidency won’t negatively affect our family (we may actually get a tax break), I was horrified when he received the Republican Nomination. I wondered how it could be happening in America, in 2016? Hadn’t anyone ever seen what I had seen? Didn’t people want to protect those that couldn’t protect themselves? Don’t people value the freedoms that make us Americans?
And then he won. And I’m still reeling. And I’m more proud of myself for being so unsettled about this than I ever was for having aligning thoughts with the GOP.