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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?

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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