By Sierra Fang-Horvath, Feature Editor
//I marched in my first protest on November 9 in Oakland and it was eye-opening. While I was there, no windows were smashed and no riots were incited, although the night took a turn just hours later as police deployed tear gas and made arrests, ultimately dispersing the protesters. At the protest, my feelings of anger regarding Tuesday’s election were matched by over 5,000 fellow marchers.
To those who advise me to be loving of all political ideas and to move forth with the process of healing, the protests in the past week have exemplified that I am not alone. Thousands, if not millions, of people are unhappy with the results and won’t resign themselves to sitting by and embracing the new commander in chief.
I am angry. I am angry because in regards to race, women’s rights, gay marriage, abortion, climate change, health care, immigration, gun control, and all other issues that I hold dear to my heart, the steps forward under President Obama have been negated by this election cycle. The ideologies that have been normalized by Trump’s campaign are worldviews that our nation has deemed illegitimate and hateful for decades.
In the last 50+ years, most bigots have realized that it is unacceptable to express their hateful ideologies in public and that it is equally unacceptable to base political policies on such sentiments. With the rise of Trump, a new flood of hatred has been unleashed in our country, and many believe that such bigoted ideas are now acceptable. They never have been and never will be. Why has this election given a certain group of Americans a free pass to return to the antiquated beliefs of bygone eras?
I have absolutely no obligation to reach across to the other side of the political spectrum. While it may be the “higher” thing to do in some people’s minds, I know that I and many of my peers are not ready for that step.
Right now we are hurting, angry, and undeniably afraid. And to hear conservatives say that it is my duty to support the president and unite with members of all political parties makes me scoff at the hypocrisy. The Right continually blocked all Democratic legislation and overall made no attempts to reach across the divide during Obama’s eight years in office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even said in 2008 that his “number one priority is making sure President Obama is a one-term president.”
I acknowledge the fact that not all Trump supporters are racists, Islamophobes, homophobes, misogynists, or embrace any other despicable ideology there is. Maybe the average Trump supporter is a white, Rust Belt male in Ohio who wants his factory job back. But whether you support Trump because you openly hate immigrants or because you love his tax-policy, you have legitimized a set of beliefs born from hatred and ignorance.
Even worse are those in wealthy communities like Lafayette who don’t have the pretext of desperation to support Trump; most people in Lafayette aren’t supporting Trump because they need their working-class job back.
Many have called Trump’s outrageous statements regarding immigrants, Muslims, disabled citizens, women, veterans, and more as irrelevant manifestations of character flaws. “No one is voting for Trump because of his character or personality,” die-hard Trump supporter and author of Adios America: the Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole Ann Coulter said to Bill Maher, host of an HBO political talk show. “We never have been and never will be.”
But if you can reconcile his hateful preaching of ignorance and bigotry, if you can look past all of the despicable things he has said, if you can disregard them as being character flaws, you are just as much of a chauvinist as any blatant bigot that supports Trump.
And then there are the ironic Trump voters.
If you are a person of color who voted for Trump, were you unaware of his refusal to rent apartments to black people, for which he was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination? You must have not heard about his unwillingness to denounce David Duke and the KKK’s endorsement until weeks after the occurrence. Did you switch the channel when he called Mexicans rapists and drug-dealers? Were you living under a rock when he accused the Chinese of creating global warming as a hoax to damage U.S. industries?
If you are a father of a daughter and you voted for Trump, I question how you ignored the image of your future president or his followers violating your daughter’s body, and how he normalized the objectification of multiple women, any of whom could as well be your daughter.
If you are a member of the queer community and voted for Trump, how did you look past the fact that Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence is a staunch supporter of conversion therapy and opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?
If you are an immigrant or have ancestors or relatives who are immigrants (so every person in this nation unless you are of pure Native American descent), how did you gloss over his calls to ban Muslim immigrants fleeing war-torn countries and to build a border wall? We are a nation founded on immigration, and people forget that the flow of people from one area to another is a natural and consistent pattern of human history and migration.
If you are disabled and voted for Trump, did you just not see the video of him mocking a disabled reporter?
If you are a veteran who voted for Trump, did you hear that Trump said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was a prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War, adding that he prefers his war heroes uncaptured?
If you are a woman who voted for Trump, I ask you how you could possibly disregard his history of alleged sexual assault and open misogyny. Do you recall both him and Pence saying they would disprove all of the allegations? The nation is still waiting.
Did you not hear about the time he mocked Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton’s appearances, a topic completely irrelevant to presidential capability?
I’m guessing you didn’t hear about his favorite pastime of ranking women from one to ten based on appearances. You must not have access to the internet, either, or you would’ve seen his early-morning, hate-fueled rampage against former Miss Venezuela Alicia Machado in which he shamed her for being in a porn film, a myth that was immediately discredited. Also something you missed: he said that sexual assault should be expected in the military, because what sort of genius would put men and women together in that environment, right?
Were you not cognizant of the Access Hollywood with Billy Bush? Yeah, that video. I know you saw it.
You must not have been around when he said that he couldn’t possibly have sexually assaulted one of his accusers because she “wouldn’t have been [his] first choice.” Does none of that ring a bell?
If you are a Muslim and voted for Trump, you probably just missed that small thing where he proposed banning your entire religious group from entering the U.S. According to Trump, you celebrated the 9/11 terror attacks. Guess you didn’t hear about that one.
But you know what, these are just character flaws, right? Minor factual inconveniences that can be ignored because, hey, he’s going to build a beautiful border wall and make Mexico pay for it. He’s had so much success in business that he must make a great political leader, despite legitimately no political experience, right?
Congratulations, there are no flaws at all in your logic. Because there is no logic at all.
Since when is racism simply another run-of-the-mill character flaw? Since when is bragging about grabbing a woman’s genitalia dismissable? Since when is branding an entire religious group as a threat to America permitted? These are not acceptable character flaws. They are horrific traits of a despicable man who does not deserve to be our President.
Many of my peers, liberals and conservatives alike, have shamed me for being so angry at this time. They encourage me to unite with all Americans, regardless of political beliefs, and to aid in the process of healing that is direly needed in this time. They want me to “reach across the divide” and empathize with the Trump supporters. That is not something I see myself being able to do in the near future. I cannot begin to understand the minds of those who believe he is a viable leader, no matter how hard I have tried.
And I finally realized that I am in no way obligated to understand those who either directly or indirectly support a platform of hatred. I would try to see the world from their eyes, but I promise to never have a worldview in which such hateful ideologies are permissible.
I cannot sign a peace treaty with an enemy of such great menace to America, at least not until he does something that he has so far been unable to do: apologize.
If Trump came forward and publicly apologized for the damaging ideas he has spread about Muslims, women, Mexicans, African-Americans, the disabled, prisoners of war, immigrants, and basically every member of our nation other than straight, white, wealthy males, I would certainly be more willing to move forward with him as our leader.
But we all know how good Trump is at apologizing.
Opinion stories reflect the views of the writer and are independent of the Acalanes Blueprint and the school itself. Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org