A Brave Face (Thoughts on Day One of Trump’s America)

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This morning I put on a brave face for my students. I turned on a live stream of the Inauguration of Donald Trump. There were mixed emotions. Some were excited, some didn’t want any part of it, and some were indifferent as preteens often are when it comes to government. I explained to them that this is a historic event that they shouldn’t miss. This is the first inauguration they are old enough to watch and understand.
What happened next caused my heart to ache. I had to explain checks and balances to one frightened group who were genuinely concerned about what could happen. I had to reassure to one student that Trump will most likely not actually be able to build a wall against Mexico. The student was afraid of no longer being able to see family in Mexico again. I had to listen to another student who was angered that Trump doesn’t have unlimited power because more likely than anything parents have been saying that same thing at home. I had to listen to one who was so angered about Trump because of fear that his/her skin tone would cause problems in the future. The list goes on and on.
Yes, I put on a brave face today, but I am not feeling so brave.

I am scared because I don’t want to arrive to school one day and one of my beautiful, wonderful students is suddenly not there anymore because his or her parents were deported.

I am scared because I don’t want to open Facebook one day and beautiful couple I have long looked up to for their love for each other no longer have custody of their two beautiful children because the government has decided that same sex couples do not have the same rights are heterosexual ones.

 

I am scared of seeing people that I grew up respecting openly spreading hate and even confidently saying that other human beings aren’t worthy because they are in some way different than them. We are living in a time in a time in America that somehow people are no longer  ashamed of hate. Suddenly is is okay and all the dirty little parts of society should come out and do a little tap dance.

 

I am scared because I am a woman who is not interested in having children yet because she is on a mission to make the world a better place by devoting time to education and equality and that I could no longer have access to birth control that I can afford.

 

I am scared that in a Nation that the president brags about “grabbing women by the pussy” I am going to not be treated as an equal even though some of those men who wish to treat me like an object haven’t worked half as hard or possess half the intelligence as I.

 

I am scared that one day I cannot openly say what I think because others will physically attack me for having an opinion that is not that of their own.

 

I am scared to get an email one day that one of my diverse and beautiful sorority sisters has been raped, beaten, or killed because some assholes tried “make her straight,” because of the hate that is cultivating now in our nation.

 

I am scared that one day I, myself, the strong capable woman that I am, will be harmed because I am a woman and our leaders comments have made it seem as though that makes me less of a human being, a glorified blow up doll, if you will.

 

I am scared the of the same thing for my own mother, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, nieces, aunts, cousins, and students.

 

I am scared because a person I love was raped just over a year ago because some guy thought she was just a plaything and that rhetoric is spreading like wildfire.

 

I am scared because I have read countless articles about people of minority being threatened ,beaten, or worse because “this is Trump’s America now!”
I am scared because people aren’t saying anything about what’s going on and this is precisely how the Holocaust happened. Adolf Hitler was elected because he promised to fix all the nations problems and he too had scapegoats. People I have long admired are sitting around not angry or fearful, but calm, as if they’ve taken their daily dose of soma, right out of an Aldous Huxley novel.
Yes, I am actually very scared indeed.

For not one minute do I think it is acceptable for people to be rioting like they have been. It is never okay to harm someone or destroy their property because you don’t feel the same as they do. But I will simply lose my mind if one more person tells me that people should not be protesting,”He’s our president now. Deal with it.” That same sentiment was not spoken by these people 8 years ago when our first African-American president was elected. I remember clearly because being a young and impressionable 16 year-old I was caught up in the fear of the conservative community around me.

But now I am older and I understand much more. These riots that are now taking place are very similar to the same ones 8 years ago. Outspoken people who didn’t agree with the outcome did those same things years ago, but on the side of the conservatives and not the liberals. See the following news articles:

2008- http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27738018/ns/us_news-life/t/obama-election-spurs-race-threats-crimes/#.WIKixvkrLIV

2016-https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/us/trump-election-protests.html?_r=0

The common denominator is fear and hate, but the causes and outcomes are vastly different. In 2008, the protests concerned hate towards a black man in power. Many privileged, and extremely racist, citizens were afraid their life would change. The words and actions were violent and centered almost entirely around the race of the President elect. Now the majority of protests are non-violent and entirely legal. This time around things are not inspired by fear that some are going to lose their privilege, but that they are going to lose basic human dignity and civil rights. Today the hate isn’t coming from those protesting, but from the very presidency they are protesting.

To those who are saying, “He’s president, get over it.” Yes. I am over it. I am not over the tumor of hate that is growing on our nation  and making us all sick. I ask of you to not tell me to shut up when you were shouting this loudly not but 8 years ago, “He’s not my president,” for reasons that had nothing to do with  the people’s rights and everything to do with skin tone.

I am so disheartened that people are burning things in the street and smashing windows. This is not the way to push our cause forward. This is a travesty because it only further divides us as Americans and gives fuel to the fire. This makes those who care about equality and human dignity look like babies crying in the street. Yes, protest, by all means protest! It’s your 1st amendment right to speak out! I want you to do so! I am doing so right now. Just don’t impede on anyone else’s rights when fighting for your own.

And please know, despite all this, that I am hopeful. Things didn’t turn out as I hoped, but I am by no means giving up all together. While we didn’t break that final glass ceiling, it is my earnest wish that both President Trump and his administration are extremely successful. While I am afraid that in “Make America Great Again,” “Great” is just code for “white,” in my heart I hope that I am misunderstanding and Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence see a more inclusive future for America with universal healthcare, better immigration laws, less violence, and quality education for all. I hope they devise ways to get the homeless off the streets and make sure that veterans are treated with dignity.

 

Remember, we are all in this together. If the president sinks America, then we’re all going down with the ship.

Best wishes. Do not give up hope.

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2 thoughts on “A Brave Face (Thoughts on Day One of Trump’s America)

  1. You dear girl have said what I can’t. Not because I don’t have the words, but because people don’t want to hear it. They shut me down. I had hopes all the fake news, jokes, and vulgar comments would stop. They haven’t and the very people that claim to be Christians are spreading it. That is not how I was raised. I pray for our country every day, and yes I too am scared.

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