A presidential fallout: New Yorkers reveal their emotional reactions to the US elections

Rachel McKinney teamed up with photographer Nyla Sammons to capture the thoughts and reactions of the average New Yorker to the news that Trump will become the next president

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New Yorkers are a unique breed. People from all over our country and the world flock to this city to find their new home. We do not care what skin colour you have, or what religion you practice, or what your sexual orientation is, or what languages you speak. What we care about is: “Are you kind?” That’s it. Because at the end of the day, we know we are all NYC’ers.

Our presidential election has been incredibly difficult – to say the least. And when the results came in, I'm not exaggerating when I say, this amazing city of almost nine million people, born of and made from immigrants, instantly fell silent. People are still walking around in a daze, not knowing what to do.

Rachel McKinney, a New York-based blogger (Nyla Sammons)

Over the past nine months, New Yorkers have been sharing their stories with me of how this election has affected them – from their family disowning them for supporting “the wrong candidate”, to being screamed at or physically hurt by random strangers, and even swastikas being painted on their office doors.

Here are a few of their stories

Angel Ortiz (Nyla Sammons)

“I’ve never felt so much anger in my life”

My name is Angel. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. My family comes from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. They came over because America was “The Land of Promise and Hope”. November 8 I sided with Hillary Clinton. In my eyes she might have done corrupt things, but I wouldn’t let my life be dictated by someone like Trump, who gave a voice and shone a light of passage to people that hate people like me. I remember seeing my dad stay up waiting for the election to be over. I saw the light in his eyes diminish as he continued to watch a great evil win. The day after this election, I saw the life in my beautiful city absent. New York City was not the same place. 

One week later I was trying to focus on the positive, even though much of me was still hurting. You know what the highlight of my week was? On my way back to my office, an old Caucasian man purposely threw his shoulder into me as I walked by, called me a spic, and said he couldn’t wait until they threw me over “The Wall”. Freedom of speech is coming in handy for some, because now they think it’s okay to just say things to people.

I’ve never felt so much anger in my life. Now that I think about it, this is the first time I’ve experienced racism blatantly to my face. But my father, who not only is an American citizen, but also a police officer, taught me patience and to be positive – even in the most negative situation. I thank him for the lessons he placed upon me early on and teaching me to be the better man. 

In this darkness I know everyone together, united, we stand a chance to all be better people. 

And hey…

1. I’m Puerto Rican. Born in America. 

2. I’m fat. Have fun trying to get me over a wall. 

3. The guy probably won’t be alive if that wall gets built.

Amanda Hache (Nyla Sammons)

“I don’t want this election to drive us apart”

My name is Amanda. I grew up in the Midwest running amok among the bluegrass, playing sports on all-boy teams, and raised by a hard-working, morally honest, Christian-values family. Where we lived there weren’t a lot of minorities, but I’ve never thought there was a difference between any of us. That hate was not given to me. I’m a registered independent, and have always been outspoken and firm in my beliefs. I certainly don’t mind what others think about my thoughts or opinions.  

Voting for Hillary wasn’t a question. I voted proudly and skipped around Tuesday. It was a beautiful day and I felt like NYC was smiling with me as we passed each other nodding in solidarity. She’s got experience, she’s tough, she focuses on the rights of ALL people. And as Secretary of State, I felt comfortable with her relations dealing with other countries. Plus, the other option is ridiculous.  He’s a celebrity. He’s rude and has never held public office. I mean, it’s ridiculous… it still is. He was never clear on policies. “Huge”, “Much better”, “Really, really big” are not quantifiable terms. I went to bed early knowing that I would wake up to a female president.  When I heard the news, I felt blindsided. Overnight, I woke up in a house that isn’t mine. Now I’m constantly walking on eggshells and need some wine.

The older generation of my family has a lot to say on Facebook. What am I going to do? Start an online argument? What will that accomplish? I keep telling myself, “go high when they go low,” but it makes me sad and disappointed in myself that I’m not voicing my thoughts. I don’t want this election to drive us apart. But at the same time, who were they thinking about when they voted for him? 

And it doesn’t stop there. I’m a tour guide. Before the election I used to be able to make light-hearted jokes, because it felt like one. Now I can’t because some guests are in tears and others are ready for a fight. And who wants that on their holiday? Somehow I will find my voice again. 

Evan Stern (Nyla Sammons)

“I worry about losing my health care”

My name is Evan. I’m a proud native of Austin, Texas. I’m what you'd call a progressive, southern, yellow dog democrat. My family has lived in Texas since the 1840s. Growing up, we drove all over Mexico for practically all of our vacations. We love it dearly. The hatred that has been spewed towards Mexico this last election cycle has left us all shaken. I voted for Hillary as I believe she was the candidate best equipped to effectively navigate the system. She never inspired me the way that Obama did, but she’s certainly someone I deeply respect. She had the potential to be a good, steady president.

I watched the results with my dear friend Nancy at her apartment in The Village. I splurged on nice bottles of wine, knowing we were in store for a celebratory evening. We ordered in Chinese, but by the time the food arrived, news had broken, and I couldn’t eat. Eventually I went home in a cab and burst out into audible tears one block into the ride. The cabbie turned off the music and thinking I needed to explain myself said, “I’m crying tears for our country.” To my surprise I heard his anguished voice cry, “Me too... I am a Muslim.” I reached through the glass to give him my hand as a show of comfort. He held onto it and didn’t let go for over one hundred blocks before dropping me off at home...

This election has robbed me of too much joy. Personally, I now worry about the potential economic ramifications and losing my health care, and as a nation our standing in the global community and the consequences of us becoming more isolationist. I know I’m in a stage of mourning, but somehow I will be fine, because our darkest days as a nation have always been followed by our finest hours. And you damn well better believe that after I’ve honoured this period of grief, I will not go gentle into that good night. I will rage, rage, and hope to see you at the barricades.

Rachel McKinney is a New York based blogger: www.RachelMcKinney.com/blog