Everything about this election is knotted up in the pit of my stomach. Over the last few months, I have watched the presidential debates in quiet, British pubs on my iPad as I travel for my PhD. I’ve read campaign websites on trains, listened to podcasts on buses, texted friends from grey hotel rooms – How many Trump signs are in your neighbourhood? I’ve felt alone and afraid and deeply, deeply sad.
Today the knot is tighter than ever and I’m finding it difficult to articulate all the reasons why. So, instead I will write a not-so-poetic list which I hope will shed light on how this election has made me feel, as an American living abroad.
I find it hard to accept
that Trump has made it this far
that Americans would even want to build a wall
that being ‘great again’ is never properly defined
that a man can say he wants to grab a woman by the pussy and still win States
that people are voting against their interests
that Americans feel they must choose between the lesser of two evils
that Hilary might not win
that many Americans are desperate and unhappy
that the already great things about America might change
that either outcome could be bad for women
that my Aunt texts me to say she has to move to Europe
that I believe in democracy but hope my family will not vote because they’ll vote for him
that the Obamas will leave the White House
that no matter who wins the States will not be united
that Americans don’t feel listened to
that the sides are attacking each other
that I cannot change any of this
Christina Thatcher is a PhD student and postgraduate tutor at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Thatcher keeps busy off campus too by delivering creative writing workshops across south Wales, running projects for organisations including Making Minds and the Welsh Writers Trust and coordinating literature events for the Made in Roath Festival.
Her poetry and short stories have featured in a number of publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, Acumen, Cheval and The Interpreter’s House. She came second place in the Terry Hetherington Young Writer’s Award 2016 and edited the anthology How to Exit a Burning Building (Parthian, 2015) for the latest Robin Reeves Prize. More than you were, was shortlisted in Bare Fiction's 2015 Debut Poetry Collection Competition, and is out through Parthian in May 2017.
To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her blog: https://collectingwords.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter: @writetoempower.