On Thursday evening, I went to my advertising in social media class and my young, all-american, social media guru professor said, “Well, what a shitty week, huh?”
I’ve spent the last 4 days or so trying to put my emotions into words. On Tuesday, the night of the 2016 Presidential Election, I cried. I was scared. I was angry. I was dumbfounded as to how so much of America felt so completely different than how I felt. Looking to my friends for solace, I was unsurprisingly met by the same emotions. I had to turn to a good friend- a Republican (who hates Donald Trump, for the record)- to calm me down, reminding me that the crazy policy and racist rhetoric would have no place in our federal government. Yet, I find it so difficult to look anyone in the eye who voted for someone who said so many nasty things about women, Muslims, Mexicans and all immigrants, African-Americans, and even war heroes. How do you vote for someone who said all of THAT to be President of the United States?
I heard a couple responses.
- “None of the crazy stuff he said will NEVER happen.”
- “I’m only fiscally conservative. I’m just thinking about the economy.”
- “Hillary is a criminal. I don’t like Trump, but he’s the lesser of the two evils.”
But still, a vote for Trump, despite being fiscally conservative (or whatever economical excuse you may have), is saying that you think it is okay to spew the rhetoric that he did. That it might be okay to ban all Muslims because they might be terrorists. That it’s okay to grab women by the pussy. You may not believe those things, but your vote says it’s okay to at least say them. It’s not, FYI.
Unsurprisingly, the people who gave me those excuses were well-off, heterosexual white males.
The morning after the election, while watching the news in awe, hoping it was all a nightmare, my less-than-shy conservative roommate was on the phone. She said, “I just don’t get it. When Obama was elected, we dealt with it. We got over it, why can’t they?”
In response to that comment, which I’ve heard all too much the last 3 days, is that this has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat. I am a liberal and am proud to be that. I am also educated on the way government works, on history, and on modern politics. I am well aware the President of the United States is not always going to be a Democrat. A third consecutive term within the same party is rare, and we must all be prepared to accept the transition between political parties. We might not like it, but that’s the way it works. So when Obama was elected in 2008 and again in 2012, no, Republicans did not protest for days and nights across the U.S. But Obama is a stand-up guy, and whether you are Republican or Democrat, you will see that and you will accept that.
We are protesting (whether on the street, or on social media) because we do not accept that the leader of our free world is a racist, misogynistic, Islamaphobic, and homophobic bigot. We are fighting to keep our country moving forward, not backwards. We are fighting to continue showing love and equality to all minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, and the constant fight to break that high glass ceiling.
While I was expressing this to my father, he said, “It is what it is. What can you do?”
I responded, “I know that it is what it is. But if 100 years ago, women said “What can you do?” I wouldn’t have been able to vote for President.”
He replied, “That’s the best point you’ve made all day.”
Now, at a certain point we must come to terms with the decision of the American people (I say this very carefully- Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote… because that’s a thing). I try not to say “we must accept it”, because accepting it and moving on would be giving up on the fight. What I do mean, however, is we must at least hope that Donald Trump is successful. If he is successful, we might all be successful. I greatly hope that the rhetoric spewed during his campaign was a joke and way to garner attention to himself. I hope to see him address each and every comment he made, and apologize to all of those people he offended and made feel less American. By doing that, he won’t make it okay, but he’ll gain more respect for owning up to his disrespectful tactics to become President-elect.
We can only hope for the best, and that he is surrounded by educated and experienced politicians, both Republican and Democrat, to lead him in the opposite direction of destruction and greed. That lead him to unite all the people he divided, and that lead him to be a strong leader, that instead of isolating America from the rest of the world, can work with other nations to make the United States a stronger country for everyone.
I hope that all protesters stay safe in using their voices and first amendment rights to raise awareness about what we are fighting for. Do not back down. But do not try to fix hatred with violence. By doing that, you are simply creating a bigger divide and doing more damage to our cause than good.
Rage and love,