After the heart-breaking news this past Tuesday that the American people chose Donald Trump as our newest president, my heart broke in half.
I'll be the first to admit, I lost my cool in the early morning hours on Wednesday, but who didn't? For most people in my generation, this wasn't a battle of politics like elections were for our parents and grandparents, it was never about politics. It was about human rights. The election confirmed our worst fears: the general population would rather see a man who's been used as a megaphone for hate become president than a woman who dedicated 30 years of her life to public service. Yes, Secretary Clinton wasn't the shiniest apple on the tree and wasn't our first choice, but compared to Donald Trump she was the silver lining in a bad election cycle.
I understand that this election, no matter who won, was one of firsts. If it was Secretary Clinton, we would have our first female president. Women could finally say that they've shattered the highest glass ceiling. However, since Donald Trump won, he's now the first person to become president who's never held a government office before.
All of this aside, I go back to my first statement. At the core of my generations fear, at the core of these protests, aren't whiny babies who are upset because their candidate didn't win, but instead are people who are scared for their lives . Members of the LGBT+ community are scared they're going to lose their right to marry. Muslims are scared they're going to be kicked out of the country for believing in their faith (something, I might add, our forefathers fled England for). Latino-Americans are scared that they're going to be told to leave the country or investigated by the immigration offices, even if they're documented citizens. African-Americans, who have already faced years of underlying racism, are even more aware and scared of what's going to happen to them when they need to interact with police and law enforcement. Women, across the board, are scared of men "jokingly" grabbing them inappropriately, because of everything the Trump has said about women and how he belittles them.
None of this is okay. No one, especially the people in these groups, deserves to fear for their lives living in the country of the free.
I've seen a lot of posts in the last few days about how we need to stop whining and buck up and all of these things, that frankly, sound extremely patronizing coming from our friends and family. Our feelings and fears are valid, and no one gets to tell us to get over it and move on. I'm really sick of seeing posts that degrade the opinions and views of people in my generation. We aren't a group of dumb, uneducated, and "fragile" people like you may think we are. We are smart and strong, and we know what we're talking about.
Our fears are real. Already there's been an outbreak of violence and harassment. The night of the election, on the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, vandals in South Philadelphia destroyed shop windows and wrote anti-Semitic slurs. The day after the election, a black baby doll was found in the freshmen elevator of Canisius College was found with a rope around its neck. Thursday night, a woman's sign of love to all of the minorities and women who feel threatened by Trump was vandalized. And if that isn't enough to make you go "whoa what?" here are articles from CNN, NBC, and UPI reporting on various other crimes across the nation that have broken out since Tuesday. Let's also not forget that Trump's VP, Mike Pence, wants conversion therapy for LGBT+ youth.
Again, none of this is okay. Our fears are real. Trump himself may not be our greatest threat, but his leadership is going to threaten everything this country has worked so hard to overcome. He's giving hate a powerful voice and making it seem okay to do these things. If you can't see the problem here, you're probably a part of the problem. If you can't understand why we are so scared, you're probably a part of the problem.
So no, Trump is not our president. He is not what we stand for, and he puts to shame everything this country stands for. I am not proud to call myself American after this election, and I'm sorry if that offends you, but our next leader offends me and stands for everything I stand against. Until equality is fully reached, we will not be quiet.