By EMMA BOWEN
Nov. 8, 2016 will forever be remembered in the minds of many Americans as the day we lost our true American values. It will go down as the day in history where hatred won and our true deep seated prejudices were brought to light.
Not everyone voted for Donald Trump. In fact, a majority of the nation didn’t. Yet he will still be put in office on Jan. 20, 2017, because he represents all the cracks in our system that we have been trying to cover up for years.
America is supposed to be a country where we support each other and lift each other up. We have been through incredibly difficult times together, from wars to recessions to cultural upheavals—which should’ve brought us closer. The immense spotlight on Trump’s presidential campaign provided him an opportunity to spew the racist, homophobic, misogynistic and classist words to the masses that reopened the scars that America has been trying to heal from since its founding. He gave ignorance a platform, and the most disturbing part about it is how deeply that ignorance and oppression resonated within our nation.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum—maybe you consider yourself a racist or a homophobe or whatever other oppressive stance Trump has taken against a minority group; or maybe you supported Trump but don’t consider yourself to be any of these things—the support of Trump is intrinsically tied to the support of these ideologies. You can date however many black people you want, have as many gay friends as you choose, have as many Latino relatives as possible; but if you supported Trump, you advocated for the oppression of minority groups at a systemic level.
Trump supporters shouldn’t get a free pass just because they care about an individual who happens to be a minority. The blatant disregard of Trump’s racist, sexist, homophobic policies makes his supporters cogs in the oppressive machine of this country, showing a disregard of minority groups as a whole. Even if you do not personally support a ban on Muslims or people who are of Middle Eastern descent or the mass deportation of Latino immigrants, support of Trump is indirect support of these racist policies because they are so intrinsically tied to his campaign.
Aside from Trump’s oppressive rhetoric which appeals to the ignorance that has fed our systemic issues for centuries, the support Trump has gained in this country shows how incapable Americans are of getting over our own personal prejudices. I have yet to hear a single Trump supporter give me a valid policy (meaning one that wasn’t based on racism) that they support.
When you approach many student Trump supporters, they will either say something degrading towards you in an act of petulant defiance or they will revert back to the response of “Hillary was a crook. Anyone but Hillary!”
This means they literally could care less about the future of our nation socially, diplomatically, or economically. If this was your reason for supporting Trump, you were tricked by his fear-mongering. Clinton was cleared of any email misconduct—TWICE. Refusal to acknowledge and accept this just further shows that qualification, merit and the future of this country had little to do with the electoral college choosing the best candidate. It just further proves that progress in this country means close to nothing.
In addition, this election truly sent a message to American women, letting them know that no matter how much more qualified they are or how much more they give to something, it’s still not enough. The message to basically every minority was: you can believe you are a part of our system and you have power, but tradition and oppression still reign supreme.
But that message doesn’t have to and will not be accepted anymore. This is abundantly clear in the protests and riots across the nation. The people are angry, and for good reason. America’s voice was ignored. The unpopular candidate will be president. But the people are making it clear: he can’t steal our America that easily.
Our voices will be heard and no matter how much fear and hatred he tries to instill in the heart of Americans and how hard times will get (not just for those who don’t support Trump but also those who do—since we are still all in this together).
It is our responsibility to channel our anger into something productive. It would be so easy for me and the other girls in this school who are bombarded with statements like “I would let Trump grab you by the p****” to lash out. It would be even easier for us to give up on the school—which is being flooded with phone calls about incidents like this—but not doing anything to make our hallways and parking lots safer. But all that does is leave a broken system that the future generations will still have to deal with.
We need to stand up and hold people accountable for their actions. If we are truly Americans, our values should be rooted in love, acceptance and equality—not hatred, fear and ignorance. We need to keep fighting through our darkest times in order to remind everyone that no matter how hard they try to tear us apart, love ALWAYS trumps hate.
Great Article and gutsy truth-telling. Emma Bowen should be commended for her courage and articulate writing. Thank you for publishing her excellent work.