In the wake of the most recent election, there has been serious backlash and hatred that I have seen from both sides. I would like to address a notion I have heard coming from some of my friends and loved ones. This statement is, “Stop telling me that I hate minorities. Just because I voted for Trump doesn’t mean I don’t support minorities.” That could very well be true, however, there are some things I would like to address within that statement.
It is a fact that Donald J. Trump plans to fuel his policies with his own prejudices against minoritized groups. He goes from talking about building ‘the wall’ to making lewd comments about women and their bodies; he calls Mexicans criminals and demands punishment for those who seek abortions.
Banning Muslim people from entering the country is fundamentally unamerican, as the separation of church and state is one of the pillars on which our country stands. Also unamerican? Wanting to take away marriage equality, along with other LGBTQIA rights– and there are so many more instances of hatred for and mockery of disenfranchised groups.
There is no voting for him without, at the very least a subconscious and uninformed level, okaying what he is doing and saying. I know that this is a painful and reactive statement but I believe it to be true. Trump’s identity (and all of our identities) intersect to create us and what we believe in. It is such a great opportunity to understand intersecting identities and to see how each one of us is uniquely made. His political and personal philosophies are not able to be divided so clearly and easily, and it is abundantly clear within his campaign.
I have heard other remarks along the lines of, “I’m not voting for a role model, I’m voting for a president who can change this country.” Here are my issues with that statement: if this were Obama, or any other Democratic candidate who had the track record and opinions of Trump, more people would have taken issue. The person we select to represent our country has to be a role model for our citizens. This person needs to know how to conduct themself professionally. How can we tell the younger generations how to act and treat each other when the chosen representative of our country is behaving like a bully. It is contradictory, plain and simple. We do need someone who can run a country well, but just as much, we need someone who can inspire and encourage our citizens to treat each other with compassion. Our president needs to have a zero-tolerance attitude on discrimination and I, unfortunately, do not see that in the way our president-elect has acted.
I do not think Trump is the worst person to exist ever. I think he is an incredibly poor choice for a leader, and I think his election will make a safe space for even more hatred and hate crimes in a nation that is already struggling to attain social justice. I do not think the people who voted for Trump are the worst of the worst, I think they were clearly misguided. I say this from the perspective of a Christian as well.
This piece is not all gloom and doom, there is hope in this. There is the chance for the entire nation to come together to say no to hate and discrimination. It is clear that our nation is divided, but there is the chance to learn from and love each other when it is the most challenging to do so. To my Christian community who voted for Trump, hear the others out. Try and listen to why there are fear and broken hearts. I see this as an incredible learning opportunity for us all and a chance to truly make this country great by supporting the rights of all.
I understand this is difficult to read and that there is a lot of fear suffocating this country. Take time to think and digest. Have conversations with people. Do breathing exercises. Never stop having hope. Never stop believing in the good of people. Never stop fighting for justice and what is right in the face of hardship.