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What I have to lose if Trump becomes president is intangible, but scary.

As a millennial woman, this is what I have to lose if Trump becomes our president.

What I have to lose if Trump becomes president is intangible, but scary.

“We are going to make America great again!” Trump spits from my screen.

Thousands cheer; millions tremble. Most of us watch, horrified, elated, transfixed.

“He won’t win,” my roommate assures me. “And even if he does, he won’t be able to do all the things he wants to do. There are enough good people… They won’t let him get away with it.”


I nod, and we fall silent.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

For some of us, it’s easy to distance ourselves from this election because it feels so absurd and surreal … like a nightmare unfolding in the palms of our hands.

As long as there’s a screen between us and the fear, as long as presidential debates feel more science fiction than "Black Mirror," we can hide behind sassy sound bites and meticulously manufactured indifference without ever pausing to ask ourselves that terrifying question:

What if Trump actually wins?

But for others of us, this election holds a lot of evident risk.

This August, Trump asked Americans of color what they have to lose if they vote for him. Upworthy staff writer Erin Canty posted a powerful response. And when I read what she had to say, the screen cracked. For the first time, I thoroughly considered the consequences — the true consequences — of a Trump presidency.

As a cisgendered middle-class white woman, I’d never really had to think about it. In this election, my privilege is evident. Trump’s America would be kinder to me than it would to almost any other demographic and that security can make it easy to become complacent.

When I finally set aside the blinders of my privilege, though, I remembered two very important things:

First, I remembered that being an intersectional feminist means concerning myself with the difficulties that all men and women face — and not just those that directly affect me. This is easy to forget and important to remember. There is much at stake in this election, especially for the minority members of our communities.

Second, I am reminded that there are certain losses from which checks and balances cannot protect us. These are losses of a less literal nature that require no legislation, that we would all suffer the second the results of the election reveal my worst fear.

It turns out, in Trump’s America, there’s actually a lot both you and I stand to lose, the least of which has to do with one important idea: hope.

Image via iStock.

1. As a woman, I would lose my self-worth and sense of security.

When you look at his words and actions, Trump’s misogyny paints in vivid detail what life as a woman would look like in his America. It involves women figuratively dropping to their knees, and no, it’s not a "pretty picture."

Trump’s America isn’t one that respects its women. Trump’s America is an America that values us based on the appearance of bodies we aren’t legally allowed to control. It’s an America of legislators that would pass more regulations on my uterus than on a corporation, that would punish women in back alleys but pardon men in locker rooms. It’s an America where you get six months for being a rapist and 16 years for exposing one.

Trump’s America is an America where men have more rights to my body than I do. I can’t feel valued; I can’t feel safe in an America like that.

2. As an American, I would lose my national pride.

America is a flawed country with so much work to do. But when I look back at how far we’ve come, I’m so proud to belong to a nation that always strives to become better than we were.

But how can I be proud of an America that won’t acknowledge its mistakes? An America that condemns the audacity of the first lady reminding us that our nation was built by slaves, yet refuses to see the problem with a country whose government only took one year to kill 102 unarmed black men but 232 years to elect one.

I can’t be proud of an America where guns have more protections than the people who die by them, an America that’s horrified by a transgendered person in the “wrong” bathroom but numb to the news of yet another mass shooting. I can’t be proud of an America of nearly 4 million square miles that only has room for Native Americans on its sports jerseys.

I can’t be proud of Donald Trump’s America, an America that refuses to change.

Image via iStock

3. As a human, I would lose some faith in our future.

Progress is never perfect. There’s no civilization in this world that has only just moved forward. Every now and then, we falter, take a step back, and then find our footing again.

But we can’t afford to fall this far. America needs to keep moving. If we backtrack now, I don’t know how we’ll recover. If we let our fear paralyze us, or turn us on each other, hate will divide us.

At the end of the day, no matter who you’re voting for, one thing is true: We all want America to be great.

I don’t believe in Trump, but I believe in that.

Image via iStock

From now on, I'm making a promise to stop pointing fingers at the “bad people” who made this mess and the “good people” who will fix it. It’s time to take responsibility for my country, to turn my disillusionment into determination and my inaction into incentive.

It’s time to ask ourselves what we can do to make this America one we can believe in.

Let’s get to work.

What the hell do you have to lose?

Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves
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It can be expensive to have a pet. It's possible to spend between $250 to $700 a year on food for a dog and around $120-$500 on food for a cat. But of course, most of us don't think twice about the expense: having a pet is worth it because of the company animals provide.

But for some, this expense is hard to keep up, no matter how much you adore your fur baby. And that's why Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves decided to help.

Kenneth had seen a man scraping together change in a store to buy pet food, so he offered to buy the man some extra pet food. Still, later that night he couldn't stop thinking about the experience — he worried the man wasn't just struggling to pay for pet food, but food for himself, too.

So he went home and told his wife — and immediately, they both knew they needed to do something. So, in December 2020, they converted a farm stand into a take-what-you-need, leave-what-you-can Pet Food pantry.

"A lot of people would have watched that man count out change to buy pet food. Some may have helped him out like my husband did," Jill says. "A few may have thought about it afterward. But, only someone like Kenny would turn that experience into what we have today."

"If it weren't for his generous spirit and his penchant for a plan, the pantry would never have been born," she adds.

A man with sunglasses hands a box of cat food to a woman smiling Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

At first, the couple started the pet food pantry with a couple hundred dollars of pet food they bought themselves. And to make sure people knew about the pantry, they set up a Facebook page for the pantry, then went to other Facebook groups, such as a "Buy Nothing group," and shared what they were doing.

"When we started, we weren't even sure people would use us," Jill says. "At best, we were hoping to be able to provide enough to help people get through the holidays."

But, thanks to their page and word of mouth, news spread about what they were doing, and the donations of more pet food started flooding in, too. Before long, they were coming home to stacks of food — and within a couple of months, the pantry was full.

Yellow post-it note with handwritten note that reads: "Hi, I read your story on Facebook. Here is a small donation to help. I have a 3-year-old yellow lab who I adore. I hope this helps someone in need. Merry Christmas. Meredith" Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"The pounds of food we have gone through is well, well, well into the thousands," Jill says. "The orders from our Amazon Wish List alone include several hundred pounds of dry food, a couple of hundred cases of canned food, and thousands of treats and toys. But, that does not even take into account the hundreds of drop-offs, online orders, and monetary donations we have received."

They also got many 'Thank you notes' from the people they helped.

"I would like to thank you for helping us feed our fur babies," one note read. "My husband and I recently lost our jobs, and my husband [will] hopefully [find] a new one. We are just waiting for a call."

Another read: "I just need to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I haven't worked in over a month with a two-year-old at home. Dad brings in about $300/week. From the pandemic to Christmas, it has been tough. But with the help of beautiful people like you, my fur baby can now eat a little bit longer, and my heart is happy."

Jill says that she thinks the fact that the pet pantry is a farm stand helps people feel better.

A woman holding a small black dog and looking at the camera is greeted by Jill Gonsalves Photo courtesy of Kenneth and Jill Gonsalves

"When we first started this, someone who visited us mentioned how it made them feel good to be able to browse without feeling like they were being watched," she says. "So, it's been important to us to maintain that integrity."

Jill and Kenneth aren't sure how many people they've helped so far, but they know that their pet food pantry is doing what they hoped it would. "The pet owners who visit us, much like donations, come in ebbs and flows," Jill says. "We have some regulars who have been with us since the beginning. We also have some people that come a few times, and we never see again."

"Our hope is that they used us while they were in a tough spot, but they don't need us anymore. In a funny way, the greatest thing would be if no one needed us anymore."


Today, the Acushnet Pet Pantry is still going strong, but its stock is running low. If you want to help out, visit their Facebook page for updates and to find ways to donate.

William Shatner on Blue origins 2nd space mission

Once fictional space captain, now real life astronaut William Shatner was moved to tears after his 11-minute journey beyond Earth's atmosphere.

As he landed back on the desert grounds of Texas, Captain Kirk himself remarked on the profound experience. His speech is so heartfelt and full of poignant reflections on life, it felt like another episode of Star Trek.


"It was unbelievable. I mean you know the little things. To see the blue color and then this black. That's the thing — the covering of blue," said Shatner. "This sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue. We think, 'Oh, it's blue sky.' And then suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden like you whip off a sheet, and you're looking into blackness. Into black ugliness."

Getting emotional, he continued, "you look down, and there's the blue down there, and the black up there ... there is mother Earth, and just comfort, and there is just -- is that death? Is that the way death is? It was so moving to me. This experience has been something unbelievable."

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!