I was angry. I was angry and confused, and quite frankly disappointed in America. I was getting ready to sue the government for making false promises (not really sue but I was really, very inflamed).
"America, the land of opportunity! America the land of freedom! America, the land of diversity!"
Lies. All lies.
After the Trump won the presidency, I was livid. How could people believe that someone who works as hard as I do, who has given so much of my time, my money and my efforts doesn't belong in this country? I believed in a country that doesn't want to believe in me. I chose to direct my hate towards Trump voters, blaming them for everything wrong with this country.
But then I realized that I was only fueling my own anger and grief because I wanted someone to blame for what happened.
The facts are: yes, Trump is a misogynist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobe and he did win the Presidency. Yes, there are those in the United States that do believe that I don't belong in this country. Yes, since Trump's presidency there has been a spike in hate crimes against people of color, the LGBTQA+ community, the Muslim community and women.
But here's the sad truth—Trump has only revealed to the world what has always been known to us minorities: that we are second class citizens and that has to change now.
Of course, a lot of the blame goes to the media whose ethics I quite seriously question. Why weren't his false statement redacted? Why did the media allow him to lie to people? Why was it that they stood by while he was spewing nothing but bigoted statements about Americans and other countries around the world. The media created a narrative: Trump, the bad guy who says it like it is. He's the antagonist and thus deserves the air time for it. Yes, I understand the media needs to keep a modicum of impartiality to keep journalistic integrity, but where was the integrity when he insulted the rights of more than half of the people in the country? Instead, it made for good TV, and that's the way they wanted to keep it... Let's keep the viewers entertained and engaged without considering the consequences. Well, how's feeling unsafe, being dehumanized and stripped from my basic human rights as consequences?
People believed what they saw on TV. People believed that it was okay to bully Americans whose sexual orientation, skin color, religious beliefs, culture, and gender was different. They thought it was okay to throw us under the bus because they believed the insidious things he was saying and thought it was okay to discriminate.
There are people who voted for Trump that yes, are racist, misogynists, homophobic, Islamophobes or all of the above. But, there are those who voted for him for economic reasons or even that "he would bring about change in the political climate". I understand you wanting a change, but at what cost?
The cost of people's basic human rights? If you did vote for him for the "valid" reasons, then I expect you to fight for the rights that you voted against. This is because you thought supporting someone with no respect for basic human rights was okay for your political or economic aspirations. Make it up to half of the Americans who perhaps don't share the color of your skin, sexual orientation, religion, or gender by standing beside us in our fight. We have as much right to be here, and you decided to choose your political or economic views over others.
That's not okay.
I don't want to attack anyone's decision making, but it didn't feel great knowing I was living in a country where it's leader and maybe even half of its population didn't think I mattered or wanted to deport me out of the country... Or put me in a database to keep track of me, not unlike what Hitler did to the Jewish community in 1939.
I know I woke up the next day not feeling safe. I felt as if I was a moving target. I was an unwelcome alien getting ready for slaughter. That same day I went out to protest for human rights with those who needed me to and for myself. I fought with those who I could protect, and with those who accepted my help. I may be an international student, but I am part of the American Community. His policies effect me, just as they effect the whole world. For instance, Trump's plans are to make it harder for me to study here, or even get a job in the United States in the future.
I recently saw Bernie Sanders' political cartoon that correlated so much with what Mahatma Ghadhi once said:" Be the change you want to see in people,"
And the political cartoon goes as follows:
And so I believe in Bernie's words just as much as I believe in Ghandhi's; if we want to see change, we can't sit around waiting for it. We've got to get up and protect our rights, our beliefs, our humanity from those who threaten it... And I hope that in four years, you'll be our shepherd, Bernie.