Grieving Democracy While Living in a Monarchy

Sarah Miyahara
November 17, 2016

Complete shock. Disbelief. Fear. Helplessness. On November 9th, my roommate woke me up at 6:00am to tell me that Donald Trump was winning the general election over Hillary Clinton. Though election day had ended in Morocco, votes were still being counted in the US. We sat in bed, hastily refreshing our computers, only to find the electoral college vote margin growing larger and larger. All I could think was “this is not the America I hoped and prayed that I would wake up to.” We convinced ourselves that Hillary was destined to win, and that we would wake up grateful and humbled to have voted for the first female president of the United States. Instead, we woke up confused and scared for friends and family.


My host mother knew a bit about the election, but not much. With the little French my roommate and I know, we explained to her who had won and that he disliked women and minorities (again, simplified to explain a complicated subject with elementary French). Upon hearing this, my host mom tearfully responded that she loved us, and that we are all equal under the eyes of God, whether Donald Trump recognized that or not.


At school, we were met with professors asking us what we thought of the election results. From the Moroccan perspective, they were objectively asking a political question to someone who has first hand experience with the issue at hand. From my American perspective, I was being forced to explain how such a highly developed and democratized country could elect a man who has earned his political fame based upon hatred and fear of minority groups. Though I know this was a cultural difference, and not meant to be insensitive whatsoever, I was still met with reactions of “it’s only 4 years” and “the US will survive” and “you have to stay positive” from nearly all Moroccans I came across when discussing the election. I can only imagine Moroccans, who live under a strict monarchy, find it hard to believe someone could feel unsafe in a democracy such as ours.


My experience of the election aftermath was incredibly different from that of my friends and family who remain the US. Living in a monarchical state while undergoing a democratic election was not something I ever expected to experience. On one hand, it has reminded me of how grateful and greatly appreciative I am of the freedoms the United States has given me. On the other hand, I understand that the results of this election may limit some of these freedoms in the future; possibly for me, but moreso for many other Americans who do not have the privileges that I do.


I understand that I may be approaching and coping with this from an emotional perspective, but I also don’t see a problem with that. I, among many others, have felt personally attacked by the president-elect and his followers, and the results of November 8th have solidified the idea of systemic hatred against certain groups of Americans. I should not have to feel sorry for my anxiety and pain at the expense of others who may simply be annoyed by my inconvenience. However, now that the grieving period is ending, it’s time to stand up and fight. America was built on the story of the underdog, and this election itself has been about revolution and changing the system. This may be another obstacle in the way of minority groups in the United States, but nevertheless, we will not be silenced.

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Sarah Miyahara

<p>Hello! I&#39;m Sarah Miyahara; originally Southern born, California raised, Chicago educated, and now Morocco living! Taking a break from life at Loyola University Chicago where I study International Studies, Political Science, and Peace Studies, to spend my first semester of my junior year abroad. I&#39;ve always loved photography, particularly because it&#39;s the only art I&#39;ve ever been good at, and now I can&#39;t wait to share my photos with you!</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
International Studies
Political Science
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