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On November 8th 2016, most people were anxiously waiting for the results on their TV screens. Polls were closing and states were turning blue and red at a rate that would drive anyone insane. That wasn't where I was though. I was in the middle of nowhere in an obscure Middle Eastern country getting back from a school camping trip. No Wi-Fi, no service, and it was November 9th because of time differences.
I was sitting in a Land Cruiser driving back to school. The journey lasted 3 hours since we had just come from the desert and in the back, there were three other girls that were a year older than me. I didn't know them, and they're best friends. Who would let a shy little kid join their best friends and be totally awkward? Nobody, especially if you're popular. The radio was turned on, we were close enough to get a signal, and luckily Lush Life by Zara Larsson was on. We were singing along and having fun.
"Hey, I never asked. What's your name?” One of older girls asked.
"Angelica.” I replied. "What's yours?”
"Zoe.” She replied. "Midget is Gretchen--”
"I am not a midget!!” Gretchen squawked in the right hand corner seat. “It’s not like you’re that tall, Zoe.”
“Don’t worry about it, Gretchen. I’m as tiny as tiny can get around here. You’re nothing compared to me.”
“Thank you Angelica.” She sighed and glared at Zoe, who giggled.
"And ombre is Christine.” Zoe finished, Christine waved at me.
"Nice to meet you.” I replied. Focus by Ariana Grande was blasting through. "Do you guys like this song?”
"Ariana’s pretty good.” Gretchen replied. "I hate to be a pest but, do you know the results of the election?”
Ah yes, the election. Nobody could escape it.
"No, not yet--” I said before my phone went off. I glanced down to see texts from my mum. Finally, we were getting service.
Mum: Trump won Alaska, Hillary won Nevada.
Mum: Hillary 218 votes, Trump 248
Mum: Trump wins Wisconsin
"Guys, Trump won Wisconsin! My mum just texted me.” I announced and Christine sighed.
"Oh, that was my state for the election simulation.”
Those guys had an election simulation in their Social Studies class. They each were designated a state and Hillary won by a landslide.
My phone went off again, and it was exactly what I didn't expect.
Mum: Sky News said that Hillary had called Trump to concede. In a few moments, Trump’s going to give his victory speech and confirm that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.
"Zoe, Christine, Gretchen!” I called.
"Any more election updates, Angelica?” Gretchen asked.
"Yeah, Hillary called to concede. It's over, Trump won.” I said solemnly. It seemed insane to me that this 10 week mess of a campaign was finally over. We couldn't escape it, everyone was talking about it. Most people didn't want Trump to win, but most of us aren't American. We can't vote (we're non-American and underaged), so we couldn't do anything. We just had to put faith in the American people that the candidate we wanted, whether that was Secretary Clinton or now President Trump, won. Most people on my camping trip were Hillary supporters so we were shocked and upset about the results. Over lunch, people were on their phones trying to find out when he would be sworn in and the states he won. I was in absolute shock. I was too young to remember George W. Bush’s presidency, so President Obama is the only American president I remember in my lifetime. He’s my idea of what a president looks like. Most people can agree that President Obama and President Trump are very different people. I wasn't sure if I liked that difference. I was honestly pretty scared. I was especially scared about his Muslim ban since I have a Muslim friend in the US. I didn’t know what would happen to her. I didn’t know what was going to happen to the world, full stop. The same thought was going through everyone’s mind as we were eating lunch.
Fast forward to the 2018 midterm election on November 6th. I had school (it was really November 7th, thank you time zones) so I couldn’t spend the day watching the all night coverage. What I could do was watch it in the morning, wake up and get ready, watch it and eat breakfast, and check the news websites on my phone in between classes and right before lunch. There were some results that I was happy about (Laura Kelly’s win in Kansas, Jacky Rosen’s win in Nevada, Senator Sherrod Brown’s re-election in Ohio, Joe Cunningham’s win in South Carolina) and some results that I was bummed out over (Senator Claire McCaskill's loss, Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s loss, Senator Joe Donnelly’s loss, Beto O’Rourke’s loss). The most memorable win of all, surprisingly, was Tony Ivers’s win against incumbent Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. My friend Chris is proudly from Wisconsin and he didn’t like Governor Walker one bit. I was waiting in my Biology class when Chris and his loud friends came spilling through the door.
“Chris!! Chris!!” I hollered as I ran up to him.
“Hey, Angelica. What’s up?” He asked.
“Did you see the Wisconsin governor’s race?”
“Nope, what happened?”
“It just got called for Tony Ivers. Scott Walker is on his way out.” I explained. I could tell he was happy about it, but he masked up his smile and snorted.
“Aw man, really? I wanted Scott Walker to win.” He said sarcastically and two of his friends came over.
“Chris, what’s up?” A blond guy asked.
“Tom, Scott Walker just lost his re-election in Wisconsin. That’s so sad, I wanted him to win.” He explained before looking at me. “Wait, Angelica? Can I borrow your IPad for a sec?”
“Sure, go for it.” I replied and he took my IPad. He started typing and a picture of Governor Walker and Tony Ivers popped up.
“I mean, look at this guy right here.” Chris pointed at Governor Walker. “Wouldn’t you want him to be your governor? Doesn’t Wisconsin need more money that was supposed to be for education to go to big businesses?”
Tom and his other friend Andy blinked twice.
“Yikes.” Tom whispered next to me.
“I mean, look at him.” Chris pointed at Tony Ivers before moving his finger back to Governor Walker. “And look at him. Who would you want as your Governor?”
“It’s a tough call.” Andy winced.
“Come on, Andy. You don’t have to be nice all the time, especially not to the liberal theatre nerd right here.”
We laughed, I could tell he was referring to me.
“Hey, I am not as liberal as you think I am!” I mock squawked, but I could tell they were just joking around.
“But honestly though, thank goodness. He needed to be given the boot.” Chris sighed and the 2 minute bell rang.
“Chris, we gotta go.” Andy said calmly and they grabbed their things and left. Chris gave my IPad back to me before leaving.
“You and your friends are crazy.” I snorted at Tom, who laughed.
“That’s the way it should be.”
As 2018 is coming to a close and the 2020 presidential elections are getting closer, I still have that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next. Will 2020 be like 2016 where we’re lost and have no idea what to expect or will it be like 2018 where my sense of hope was renewed somewhat. It’s good to look ahead, but a new election sometimes is a time to reflect. To reflect on how far the world has come since that fateful 2016 election. We could never have predicted the two crazy years we’ve had already. All of this, the good and the bad, we didn’t see coming. This political climate has become predictably unpredictable. 2020 is getting closer by the day. So, what now?