Madison Dietz Madison is a student at Pace University in New York City and is studying Communications and Women & Gender Studies.
It was a cloudy day, still fairly warm for November. It was the 8th of November, 2016. I had woken up early before class to go vote with one of my friends. I was going to vote in my very first presidential election and I was going to vote for a woman. I had never felt so inspired and empowered. After I cast my ballot in a Downtown Manhattan high school lobby, I stood on the sidewalk and looked at One World Trade Center and felt gratitude swell inside of me; I started to cry because I thought I had participated in electing our first woman President. As the clock hands came upon midnight that night I felt my world crumble around me. The swing states were going Red, the world was out of balance and I was in shock. I was sitting on my friend’s floor with six other people as we refreshed the CNN website and Twitter, all while trying to keep hope alive. My chest was heavy and my throat was tight by 3 am. I tossed and turned for a few hours before giving up on sleep and accepting the insomnia. Once I got up in the morning, the reality was upon me that the worst had happened. I had to go to class and pretend like I was okay, when I had never felt so defeated and angry. I went to my “Gender, Race and Class” class that afternoon and we just wrote reactions to what had happened. Mine was angry and messy and barely coherent but that’s how I had felt because I was confused. How could have this happened? I still do not have an answer for that but I do know something now, since that fateful day I have never been more aware of my rights and beliefs; my empowerment has never been this high. In the 72 days between the election and the Inauguration there have been an outpouring of Artivism, which is art with a political message, and I have never seen more protests and demonstrations against the President and what he stands for, believes in and campaigned for. The Women's March was the largest protest gathering in history. There was a sense of sisterhood, empowerment and hope in the air. When Obama spoke of the idea of hope in his last speech this is what he meant, to have the people of this nation make change with their spirit. This turn in American participation in democracy will shape the next four years because Trump actually cares what the people of American people think of him, and we have the power to make him weak. Those 72 days shaped who I am as a person. I learned that I should not have been blindsided by ignorance but instead empowered to make the world my own, to make my voice heard and to support other women and marginalized groups whose struggles during the next four will be much worse than my own. During these trying time we must rely on each other for strength and hope. We are stronger together.