Well, shit.

Last night I sat in silence, mouth agape in horror. I watched as it was announced that Donald Trump – a racist, sexist, xenophobic, sexual predator – had officially been elected President of the United States of America. This is the world we live in now. My disgust slowly transformed to horror as I clutched my girlfriend as she cried herself to sleep, terrified by the possible ramifications that this election could have for her family.

This is the effect that Donald Trump has on people.

The American electoral body has just elected a man who has mocked just about every conceivable group in America (that isn’t straight white men): African Americans, Latinos, women, veterans, the disabled, Muslim Americans, and LGBTQ Americans. This is a man who routinely singularly equates African Americans with inner cities, Hispanics with rape, and asserted that a woman’s worth is based on her physical appearance. A man who openly bragged – on tape – of sexually assaulting women, grabbing their genitals without consent. A man whose response to sexual assault allegations is stating that said victim is not attractive enough. A man who has been endorsed by the KKK. A man who believes climate change is a hoax manufactured by China. A man who cannot be trusted with a Twitter account has now been giving access to nuclear codes.

He’s run on a platform of hate and division, threatened to ban a religion from the United States, threatened to deport millions of undocumented workers, threatened to take away our right to healthcare, threatened to deny women control over their own bodies by overturning Roe v Wade, and threatened to tear apart millions of families by overturning marriage equality.

This is bad guys. This is really bad.

I’m not going to lie, the future looks dark. Trump is the President-elect. Our future VP believes in gay conversion therapy. Republicans control every single branch of government. Trump has free rein to make all of his terrible threats a harrowing reality.

I’m an irreligious, straight, white male. Most of Trump’s most egregious positions won’t affect me. But we’re all Americans here, we’re all in this together. When one of us is hurting, we’re all hurting, and we can’t just sit idly by while the rights of others are being trampled on.

We have to fight this.

Trump has won. There’s no way around it. What was once a terrifying potential future is now a macabre reality, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept this backward future. We’re Americans god damn it, we don’t give up. This is going to take some hard work. From all of us.  What this means is we have to fight every oppressive, racist, draconian legislation. We have to become as involved as ever in the political process. That means writing and calling our representatives and local leaders, massive volunteering efforts, voting in every election, donating to programs that need it most (like Planned Parenthood). We need to reject and denounce the hateful rhetoric that has come to define the modern Republican party. We can only do this together.

Simply holding your nose and voting for Clinton obviously wasn’t enough. We have to do better. Over the next four years, we have to fight for the people that our country has deemed unimportant. We have to fight for our Muslim friends and neighbors, support our LGBTQ friends, listen to the victims of sexual assault and those demeaned by the overbearing rape culture of our nation, and anyone else that Trump has threatened in his hateful campaign. We have to make clear that intolerance and bigotry are unacceptable, regardless of what our President-elect would have you believe.

While America isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I believe we are good. We are good because we accept one another, because we are open to one another, because we respect one another. At least that’s what we strive for. Let’s not let the racist sentient Cheeto who managed to stumble his way into the White House change that. We can do better than this. We have to.

We have to prove that America is good.

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