Opinion: Your votes are worth a thousand words

By Corey Flynn | November 10, 2016 2:51pm

My name is Corey Flynn. I’m a senior psychology major, and I publicly came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically gay, a month ago.

If I knew back then that our country was going to be in the state it is now, I might have hesitated more in making that decision. I decided to expose who I am, not with the assumption that Hillary Clinton would become our new president, but because of the naïve optimism that our country couldn’t possibly contain as much selfish hate that it does.

Tuesday evening, I slowly watched as the seemingly impossible happened. My Facebook feed has been filled ever since then with disbelief and despair. I’m disillusioned with everything I’ve been told since childhood about American values as I watch my fellow Americans voice their disbelief, shame, fear and anger at the prejudice and privilege that are more prevalent than we ever imagined. I didn’t think I would ever seriously want friends and family to move away from me to another nation to avoid what I perceive as a societal apocalypse by modern standards.

My beef with what America has decided to demonstrate through voting is this: Donald Trump found a way to gravely insult and threaten more minority and disadvantaged groups than I should need to count. I don’t know everyone’s life experience, but hypothetically I could see a large proportion of the 59,600,000+ Trump voters having someone in their lives that belongs to those groups. You’d think with women giving birth to us would make it 100 percent, but Trump winning an election has me now thinking, as Han Solo put it: “Never tell me the odds!”

For me, every vote that was cast for Donald Trump represents a person not showing respect for my capacity to have rights that are granted to a United States citizen. I can actually live with that.

However, I currently know too many friends suffering physically, mentally and emotionally from the hate and apathy we’ve all come to realize this week. They, and strangers abroad, deserve equal rights and opportunity.

It’s frustrating beyond words for me to see them deemed unworthy of the same quality of life. I live in what I thought was one of the greatest countries in the world. I shouldn’t have to shed tears at the prospect of minority families being broken apart, of same-sex couples being denied the right to profess love to one another, of the planet becoming inhospitable due to negligence.

It’s always been my honest belief in life that humanity at its finest is capable of wonderful and good things for each other. I wasn’t expecting that hope to turn largely into despair Tuesday night.

If anyone at UP ever needs comfort or support in the future we face together, feel free to contact me. President Obama promised the sun would rise tomorrow. Never forget it, and that you are entitled to your own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Corey Flynn is a senior psychology major and can be reached at flynnc17@up.edu.