Donald Trump is the new president of the United States of America. Rather than the celebratory unity experienced by the majority in 2012 after the last re-election of Obama, most people I know are upset and angry- and with good reason- our country was supposed to be the greatest melting pot of progress serving as the most powerful example to the rest of the world, and all of a sudden we have been set back many decades in progress as a nation…probably what the Germans felt like when Hitler rose to power. But all I felt was shock, followed by deep disappointment. Not just because our leader is now someone who I morally and ethically disagree with on nearly every ideology (thankfully, the president yields only a limited amount of power), but in the people, in US. Not only does this show that we have more ignorant, uneducated, intolerant, small-minded people who live in fear of anything that is different from themselves than I ever expected possible, but because our reactions are not pulling us together, but pulling us farther apart and tearing up our nation without Trump even lifting a finger.
We the people, have elected a misogynist, white supremacist who has no political experience whatsoever, several pending charges, including those for sexual assault about which he publicly brags, no manners or respect in his way of speaking, no course of action for any of the issues our country is facing, and has no understanding or remorse for the public statements he has repeatedly made to criticize, downplay, and disrespect women, people of color, immigrants, disabled people, the entire LGBTQ population, and basically anyone who is not a straight white Christian republican male like himself. We have chosen the candidate who embodies hate, whose false and discriminatory rhetoric has somehow overpowered any discussion on economic, domestic, or foreign policy. He’s a reality star, for God’s sake! He knows how to make a living off getting the people’s attention, he feeds on the natural human fear of the unknown by striking fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, he has targeted the uneducated population and promised them a better America with the reasoning that it can’t get any worse. The entire nation is in shambles and every other country is looking at us, laughing at us, some genuinely scared for us and the impact this decision will have on their own countries. And we are proving them right- we’ve provided clearly proof that you can be whatever you want to be, no matter how unrealistic it seems!
Whether this electoral result was due to liberal media bias, polling issues, or under-voting (which I have drowned in guilt of every single day since voter registration ended that I will never allow to happen again), the fact of the matter is that it happened, and now here we are. The first step is to recognize that white supremacist privilege is very real; but also, that it will NOT make me any less proud of my Muslim American female self. Now our responsibility is to continue to stand proud of who we are and work towards the country we want to build, truly stand as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. As I have been preaching for years, the point is not to just vote; it is to immerse yourself into the current political atmosphere and make an educated vote. If there is any hope of finding solutions to the problems this country is facing, now is the time to self-reflect in order to correctly identify the issues and explore the factors that contributed to their inception. Only then can we improve as a nation and prevent history from reoccurring.
The answer is NOT to run away to Canada or anywhere else; in fact, this is the time we need to stay more than ever before, stay and love, fight back with love. This is the time to come together and combat authoritarianism and stand up for the American ideals we believe in. We need to NOT spread anger and hatred, because freedom of speech is part of our nation’s ideals and each individual has to act upon the changes they are wanting to see. In this dark time, it is up to us to create light in love. Love for yourself, love for everyone, because one man does not determine who we are as a united nation, so we have to be the citizens of the country we want to create. Love for people of all genders, races, nationalities, religions, abilities and finances, and even their personal beliefs. We must open our minds and our hearts, love without fear, learn what we can, and hope for a better tomorrow. In the grace filled words of the role-model of girls around the world, and Trump’s inspirational opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump is our president and we owe him an open mind to see what road he takes. More importantly, we must come together and continue to fight it relentlessly, with Love, because the American dream is big enough for everyone and the fight for what is right is always worth it.
Oh, and one last thing, and I apologize in advance to all those whom this may offend: All the white people who are untouched by the results of this life-changing election who continually post statements that everyone needs to “grow up”, “move on”, and “get over it” are showing your white privilege loud and clear, because the defining characteristic of white privilege is the lack of its recognition since the consequences of its discrimination will never affect you. I feel this statement requires clarification that I am most certainly not implying that everyone who voted for Trump is a straight, white, racist, sexist ignorant POS. I am not. What I am intending to provide, however, is a different viewpoint that perhaps, if democrats had voted differently earlier on (i.e. Bernie Sanders), participated in discussions instead of assuming we had it in the bag since we’ve appeared to have won the cultural war, indulged in debates that would create greater change than that offered by Hilary Clinton, and stopped insulting those who voted differently than us, then maybe the current situation would have turned out a little bit differently, a little bit better.
All I have to say at the end of this rant is to please remember that no matter who is ever elected to be President, WE are still the American population, the diverse, loving, progressive, strong-willed, American people, and there is power in numbers. Come fight the good fight with me and let’s show the world how love will always trump hate.