When I found out Donald Trump was running for president, I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctors office with my mom and brother. Everyone in the office was suddenly glued to the television; everyone was in disbelief—my brother and I thought it was a joke at first ourselves.
The vulgarity of his message, his demeaning vocabulary and his claims that a certain group of people are to blame for every little thing that is "wrong with America," made me want to gouge out my eyeballs. I would never have believed that a little over a year later he would win the election. I still cannot believe it. Why? Because this man is disrespectful, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, xenophobic and frankly, just not experienced enough to run this country.
After election night, my literature instructor actually scrapped her lesson plan for the next class. Instead, she spoke to us about how we felt and showed us a visual representation of Langston Hughes' poem "Theme for English B." The one quote from that poem I want Americans to listen to is this:
"You are white—
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that’s true!"
How can a poem from 1951 relate so well to what is happening now? The United States boasts about being a "melting pot" of diversity—we don't even have a national, official language. What makes this country so diverse is "the American Dream." When that term started floating around, it was non-exclusive. Anyone can seek the American Dream—as citizens it is our right to be able to pursue our happiness. So, why are we trying to take that dream away from people now? Why are we letting the two-party system tear us apart as a country?
Now, more than ever, we need to be united. We need to be able to stand up and preserve that dream—the dream of being successful one day. We have to look at ourselves and realize that even through all the violence and anger that is going on throughout the country, we are all the same. Regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status and disability, we are all American.
We need to stand up for each other and recognize that everyone who lives in this country should feel safe no matter what they do. This means that you need to get over your white privilege and realize that the people you are "so terrified" of, are actually scared of you and are no threat to you. As citizens, we need to stop using race and religion as something negative to sway the public opinion. We cannot take the actions of some and attribute those traits to the whole community of people. As humans, we need to embrace one another and realize that we all just want to be equal. We all deserve to be equal. You may not like that, but it's true. That's American.