When I moved here nearly 12 years ago, America was a country labeled by my parents as the "land of opportunity." It was a place where I was allowed to be anything I wanted to be. It was a place that valued intelligence, creativity, innovation, knowledge, diversity. It was a place where different cultures and different peoples worked side-by-side and befriended and loved each other. It was a place my parents took me to because they believed that it was where I would get a better education, a better understanding of the world, a better life.
When I first moved to America, I never imagined this would be the first election I would be able to vote in.
Trump is the president of the United States of America. Joke all you want about leaving the country, but it won't stop the fact that this represents something fundamentally wrong with our society.
How did we elect someone that is so horribly indecent as a human being?
How did we elect someone that wants to build a literal barrier between families and chooses to spread hate instead of love?
How did we elect someone that sees women as objects, (excuse me, pretty objects), instead of people?
My brother will be growing up in the Trump era; how did we elect someone that will not be a good role model for our children?
How did we elect someone that speaks without tact or eloquence and does not know how to lead the American people?
And how are we supposed to wholly support an important political figure that does not know how to represent us?
This was not the America that I moved to, the America of peace and justice. Our land has turned into freedom with a "but only if" attached and our home has become a place where bravery is considered dangerous.
We are not supposed to have a president that makes us fear our identities. We are not supposed to have a president that will not let us be ourselves. This is not the America of progress that I knew; this is a step back.
Maybe it isn't the fact that Trump won that I'm most surprised about. Maybe it's that there are a lot of people here that still believe that certain races are better than others; that sexuality or religion defines a person's worth; that women can't do whatever men can; that we are at an age where we can still build a wall and it will fix a problem.
Maybe the scariest part of this election is that it taught me that America is not as beautiful as my six- year-old mind thought it was; that there are people who don't have the same definition of "equality" that I do; that we are flawed in ways I saw but never truly realized before. The stars on our spangled banner don't seem so bright anymore.
At the same time, Trump is not all of us. Only we have the power to dictate how we live our lives, and now is truly the time to invest in our communities and our politicians and our government.
Don't give up hope, and don't back down now. Make America beautiful again, regardless of who's in charge.
Annika Olives is a first-year psychology major at UC San Diego. She has loved writing since she was little and very much uses her words to speak her mind.