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Politics and Activism

The U.S. Is In A Pit And Brazil Is On Its Way There

This is not a happy article.

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Vigil

It's truly a very dark time right now. The world is hurting.

All in one week we've had several tragic events happen. A horrifying anti-semitic shooting in Pittsburgh, an anti-black shooting in Kentucky, and over a dozen bombs sent through the mail to politicians and public figures. I am deeply saddened by these events and my heart is broken for the victims and the families.

How is it that we got here? Why is it that this feeling — this intense feeling of sadness and confusion — feels so familiar to me? I have been very fortunate that I haven't suffered any losses from these attacks. And yet, I've felt this way at least a dozen times in the past couple of years. The truth is, every time there is a shooting or some kind of ruthless attack in this country, this feeling returns to me. And in the US, these tragic events are much too common.

I grieve for the victims and I grieve for the families; I cry for them and I pray for them. However, my sadness slowly turns into anger the more I think about it. I ask myself, is it a coincidence that all three terrorists were white supremacists? Is it a coincidence that all three terrorists were Trump supporters? The answer is, of course, no. It is not a coincidence.

We all know the source of these hateful acts. How can the people of this country be accepting and loving if the leader says that it's okay not to be? President Trump incites this kind of violence and hatred that we've seen in the past few years. He breeds bigotry and hatred because he leads by example. He empowers white supremacists and he fails to condemn hate crimes.

Remember the "Unite the Right March," when white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched in North Carolina chanting "Jews will not replace us"? And Trump called them "very fine people"? This poignant moment was a message to all nationalists, supremacists, neo-Nazis, and bigots, saying that it's okay to be hateful.

Looking back at the past two years, I've thought about this many times; but I just tell myself that it's almost over. I just have to wait until he's out of office. And for me, I've always had the option to move back to my home country if things got really bad. As the daughter of Brazilian immigrants, my second nationality is a huge part of my identity. I am a citizen in both the US and Brazil and I've been bilingual since birth. I've lived in Brazil and I've grown up there.

Ever since President Trump was elected, I've always thought in the back of my head that if the situation was absolutely dire, I could move back to Brazil. But now, a new problem has risen. On October 28th, 2018, Brazil elected a new president; and the results have absolutely crushed me. The new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, is literally 10x worse than Trump.

I know — I didn't think it was possible either. Bolsonaro is openly homophobic, misogynistic, racist, and speaks highly about the harsh Brazilian military dictatorship that ended only about 30 years ago. There have already been numerous reports of political violence perpetrated by Bolsonaro supporters (or as some like to call them, "Bolso-minions") after the first round of elections. It is truly scary to think about the future of Brazil under this neo-fascist's rule.

Now, as we enter a dark time in Brazil, I think about my fellow Brazilians and say, "welcome to the club." I know that the situation in Brazil hasn't been decent in quite a while; but it may just become worse. Just like when President Trump was elected, my friends and family have all made Facebook posts saying that they will resist and that they reject Bolsonaro. To them, I must warn: it is not easy. I am constantly angry and sad every time I read the news; and every time I get a news update on my phone, I immediately expect the worst.

My heart hurts for the victims of anti-Semitism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, etc. It is no easy task to carry on my day-to-day life knowing that someone I know (or even I, myself) may be in danger. I try to do everything in my power to resist these forms of hatred and I try to use my privilege as a white woman to stand up for people who do not have the same opportunity. But it is hard.

I'm scared for the US and for Brazil; and I'm having a really hard time with this. Brazil is my home — a place where I have hundreds of beautiful memories. I have family and I have friends there. It pains me to know that the place I once thought could be my escape will now become this dark place where hate crimes are common and bigotry is accepted. All I can do is advise my peers — use your position of privilege to help those who don't have the same platform, continue to resist, don't give up hope, and promote love as much as possible. We will get through this.

Rest in peace to the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the victims of the Louisville, Kentucky shooting. May their memories not be forgotten.

Baruch dayan ha'emet.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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