My girlfriend L and I were shocked when Trump was elected. For a full week I watched Facebook & Twitter, looking for answers. I devoured newspapers. I was angry at how Trump had managed to harness the power of social media to his advantage. Even more so, I feared for the future of our country. We have elected a dictator, who rallies unhappy constituents against a common enemy: non-white, non-conforming Americans.
While many people took to the streets to protests, L and I sat at home and thought about what this meant for us. L felt afraid and angry that this new power oppresses her and her loved ones. In response to reports of hate crimes against non-whites, I called my mother and ask her to let me know if anyone attacked her, verbally or physically. L and I felt unsafe. So, we looked at our alternatives.
Through my dim social-media lens, I hear a call for Americans to stay in the United States to join together against our elected dictator. I agree, however this does not mean that we should be complacent with our homes in the United States. If our government gets out of hand, we should know what our options are. L and I settled on about 5 countries that we could move to if we needed to (based on lists like this). We decided on a secret word we could tell each other if either of us were in danger but were afraid that someone was listening. We researched secure, encrypted messaging systems, and investigated what kind of privacy and security measures we could take while online (https://www.eff.org/).
My fear is that with a hot-headed, bigoted leader (& staff), if there was ever an attack on American soil, we could expect to see a complete totalitarian takeover of our free country. Americans, fearing for their safety, would readily let the government read their e-mails and texts if it meant making them safer. This power could easily be abused by our government to find and silence voices that challenge the establishment.
It’s the world that Edward Snowden feared. It’s the world that George Orwell predicted. It’s an idea explored in books like Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. I have reason to believe that, under the right conditions, our current freedoms could be stripped in a similar fashion. Before, I thought that there was no way that Trump could be elected. I have lost this “no-way-it-could-happen” mindset. Now, I quietly prepare for the worst.