Trump, The President Elect: Thoughts From A Latino Student
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Trump, The President Elect: Thoughts From A Latino Student

My thoughts on the election results and my advice on how to move forward.

Trump, The President Elect: Thoughts From A Latino Student
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Feelings of anger, sadness, perplexity, and frustration were what consumed me the days following the elections. I didn’t understand how this country could have elected someone like Trump. Trump—a misogynist, a racist, a bigot, a sexist— is the man that will now hold one of the most powerful positions in the world.

The results made me feel small, voiceless, and hopeless. Don’t get me wrong, being Latinx, first-gen, and low-income, I have had my own fair share of feeling marginalized. But, just seeing the outcome of these elections made me feel like things will never get better. It showed me that a big portion of this country’s population is willing to look past the racism, the hatred, the misogynistic acts, the sexism, and all the bad things that Trump stood for—they disregarded all these things and voted for him. I remember not feeling motivated to go to class and just overthinking the implications of a Trump presidency. The thought of having my parents, two undocumented immigrants, stripped from me was a thought that I kept at the back of my mind as I tried to write my college papers, code for my programming class, and finish my math p-sets.

I was angry. I channeled my anger by going on a rampage on my Facebook page. I used vulgar language to express my opinions and was only met with more hatred from people that opposed my opinions. I wanted to make them understand that I was hurt, that I was angry. They needed to understand that their vote was a vote against my parents, against my friends, against my community, and against me. However, in midst of all this I realized that when I engaged in conversations that took a rough turn and involved vulgarity and hatred, then I lost a part of myself. Ironically, I began doing the same things I condemned in Trump and his supporters.

I realized that spending time trying to make others (Trump supporters) understand was not worth my time. There is this notion arising after this election that dialogue is vital and that because dialogue was never present in this campaign, then a Trump presidency was the outcome. I beg to differ; dialogue is vital but not after the fact. What I mean by this is that no one can tell us (the individuals who would be affected by a Trump presidency) that we must hear them out or must hear out their reasoning of voting for Trump when our communities are vulnerable and threatened under Trump’s presidency. Therefore, when I share something on my Facebook page and have a Trump supporter try to discredit the article or make his/her stance on the best interests of my community or other communities that could potentially be negatively affected by Trump, I don’t bother to engage in dialogue. I don’t do it with the intent of not hearing them out or to live in an echo chamber, I do it because in times like these I am not interested in hearing conversations involving how Trump will do something good for my community or other marginalized communities. Especially individuals that don’t reside in my community, they have no right to tell me what they think is best for my community. Conversations like these aren’t worth my time when my community, the Latinx community, is facing issues that still need to be resolved—issues that may just be exacerbated simply because of Trump’s presidency. I must focus on how I can help my community and provide my support to build a safety net for youth that reside in my community.

I think what I find most hypocritical of this election is this arising debate of the American working class having voted for Trump simply because they have been “marginalized”. The unemployment rates, the lack of quality education, and other issues due to the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs is what pushed these people to seek a President that will address their issues. I read that these communities felt many of their struggles go unnoticed by the left-wing. Ironically, they elected a President that was silver-spooned since birth. A president that doesn’t have the slightest clue of what it is to be unemployed, to be poor, to not have an adequate education, or any of the struggles that these American workers claim they face.

Hypocritically, these articles that try to justify the vote of these individuals by labeling them “marginalized” neglect that minorities and other underrepresented groups in this country have been marginalized since their existence. The difference is that the American workers tried to invoke change by helping elect an inexperienced, underqualified individual to one of the most important positions in the world. People of color and other marginalized groups didn’t always have the luxury of voting or of having their vote have such a monumental impact (due to institutional policies that discriminated against POC), so we have had to carry out protests—MLK Jr’s Civil Rights Movement, Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta’s National Farm Workers Association Movement, BLM—that invoked change. What I am trying to say is that this election’s results were partially the American working class calling for help—they bet all their money on this guy to fix their communities—of course, at the expense of our communities. That’s the difference, we found ways to bring change or have our struggles heard, granted that we are marginalized and discriminated against, without the expense of others. We never bet it all on one guy to fix our communities, we found ways to have our voices heard, to be part of the change in our communities—our ancestors fought for our communities and many died fighting for our communities. The American working class, granted that the only way they are truly marginalized is economically, used their vote to elect a man that threatened our communities, communities that are marginalized economically, racially, and institutionally. Therefore, we won’t buy into this justification because I truly believe there could have been an alternative to voting Trump in to address issues in the American working class communities.

I think what gets to me the most is that the American working class is facing issues that marginalized communities around the country have been facing since their existence. High unemployment rates, lack of adequate education, and other issues are not foreign to our communities. The American working class is facing their struggles because the greedy corporations have enough legislative influence to implement policies that allow them to put profits over the lives of American workers. The struggles we face are not only because of American corporations’ greediness, it’s also because of the institutional and systemic racism that exists in this country. If you don’t agree, I invite you to Southside Chicago, my birth place, to show you the conditions that people of color face. The American working-class does not deserve us hearing them out or our empathy because they voted at the expense of our communities. They voted to get rid of the circumstances they face only to leave historically oppressed communities with the struggles they have faced since their existence and on top of that with a new threat—Trump and the hatred he has sparked across the country.

But, it is important for me to say that we aren’t passive victims. This is the prime time for people of color and other oppressed groups to rise and take control. This election is just testimony of how our communities’ interests will never be represented in our government unless we have people from our communities take on roles in our government or roles that have influential power over decisions that affect our communities. These legislators—White, rich men—are not representative of our country because even if it hurts for many to accept this, we make up this country too—Muslim, LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, undocumented, and other individuals that don’t identify as White. They will never put our interests forward because they don’t have a clue of the struggles we face daily. They will always put us last.

I urge people of color and underrepresented groups to make their voices heard. Continue to protest—peacefully—to show the world that our communities will not be silent, to show Latinx, Black, LGBTQ+, Muslim, and undocumented children that we will not be silent—that we will fight for them. However, it is important for me to say that in the long run the real change will only be implemented if we take control. I have constantly told students that knowledge is power. An education is power. While education is very subjective simply because of the disparities that exist in it based on factors like race and socioeconomic status, an education is a way in which we can take control. To get an education allows you to have a platform to voice your opinions, to have the influence to partake in important conversations that people like us tend to be forsaken from. People tend to shift to listen to you if they understand that you’re educated—a degree in of itself is like a microphone, it allows you to be able to voice your opinions or amplify them. I can personally attest to this. After being admitted into Stanford, I saw how people would pay attention to me. I gained a voice simply because I was earning a higher education at a top institution— I felt like people cared about what I said. Nevertheless, earning a degree is the best way in which I can implement change and continue to have a platform to speak out and advocate for my community. An education is what will give us the platforms for others to listen to what we must say and to gain the influential power to implement change.

So, instead of using this election to feel hopeless, sad, frustrated, and/or angry, I will use it to empower myself and those around me. I won’t let Trump nor his supporters get to me. I have always had a passion for bringing change to my community. This passion has increased since the election and I have come to see how vital it is for me to partake in being the voice of not only my community but other communities that are oppressed. This election made me realize my passion for fighting injustices that exist in our society. This election made me remind myself that my ancestors fought for me to be here, for me to speak out and not be silent. This election made me realize that it is now or never; I need to act now. Ultimately, I have come to see my role as a Latino, first-gen, son of undocumented parents, and low-income individual to be one that invokes a change in this country. We—the Latinx, the Black, the Undocumented, the Muslim, the LGBTQ+, the oppressed, the marginalized, the forsaken—are not passive victims; We are catalyst for change, we are the future of this country. Never forget that.

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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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