This time eight years ago I had just got back from exploring the East to the West coast of America on an Amtrak train. I was there in the midst of Obama fever, I met a nation that was progressive and open-hearted, and on that monumental election day eight years ago, the world saw what I had seen.
This time last year I was in LA and on my way to Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday. Because of all the places in all the world, America was where I wanted to mark such a monumental year. I fell in love with it eight years ago, and it has since held a special place in my heart. From New York to Chicago to St Louis to San Francisco, everywhere I went was caked in that American positivity we all hear about. And I just found it so infectious.
Because we Brits don’t dream like the Americans do. We Brits are self-conscious in our ambitions, we are cautious in dreaming too hard and aiming too high, we don’t like to put too much faith in our ambitions, but America isn’t so guarded. When I tell a Brit I’m a writer they look at me as though to say “yeah, but what is your day job?”, but when I tell an American I’m a writer they tell me that one day they’ll see my face in the bookshop, that one day they will point out my name in the credits of a film, and that when it happens they will remember me, just as I promise to myself to remember them, however ridiculous and far fetched their dreams may sound.
So today, on November 9th, 2016, when I woke up to find that this country that I love had elected Donald Trump as their president – someone who stands for everything that I feel is wrong with the world – I was saddened.
I am disappointed as a woman that 42% of American women feel it is ok to endorse the most misogynistic politician in our lifetime. I am disappointed that 53% of men have chosen to put arguably the most arrogant man on the planet in the White House, someone who will continue to walk all over this world with no consequence or responsibility just because he has and forever will get away with whatever he wants.
That is, unless we refuse to give up hope.
For the rest of you, I hope. Hillary Clinton said in 2007 that “The worst thing that can happen in a democracy – as well as in an individual’s life – is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.” America you taught me this when I visited your beautiful country for the first time all those years ago, and you will continue to teach me that even in such dark times.
Please, for the sake of us all, keep on dreaming.