Dear Editorial Board,
On the morning of Nov. 9, I watched as Donald J. Trump was elected the president of the United States. To say the least, I went through a series of emotions: shock. Denial. More Shock. Deeper denial. Anger. Fear. And finally, deep sadness.
As your editorial noted, this has been quite a divisive election. No one has felt it more than people of color, women and Muslims. However, for most of us, we still had hope that America would rise to the occasion and choose love of one over fear of the other.
That didn’t happen, so on that Wednesday morning, many people, myself included, felt as if half the nation had disowned them.
That night, when I began to read about protests breaking out, when I saw images of hundreds of students out in the streets, when I looked through my social media and saw people I’d never have expected to see marching in the streets protesting, for the first time since I saw the election results, I had hope.
These protests (I speak specifically of the protests, not the riots) aren’t meant to undermine the democracy you claim to be sacred. (Although, let’s be honest, your so-called sacred democracy is screwed up in other ways, including but not limited to forces such as the Electoral College.)
These protests are a way for people to show that they do not accept the vile rhetoric of Donald Trump. It is a way for those Trump has made feel unsafe to stand in solidarity and say that they will not take his hatred lying down. That not all of America is willing to bargain the lives and value of its minorities for “policy.” It is a necessary catharsis for those who need to shout. Who need to cry. Who need to be with other people who care enough to march through the streets on cold November days as a reminder that love can trump hate. For some of us, these protests show more unity than if people had simply accepted the results and stayed at home.
I am a woman. I am black. I am an immigrant. I am a liberal. I cannot sit here and write with conviction that I don’t believe that racism and sexism didn’t play a role in this election. At the same time, I do not think that all or even most of Trump’s supporters are racists or misogynists or intentionally bigoted, but the truth is, some of them are.
Those that are not, supported a man that has said racist, sexist and xenophobic things over and over again during the course of the past two years. That says something to the people of color, to the Muslim population, to the women of the nation who his rhetoric has made fearful. I and the other people of color and Muslim friends I have grieved with cannot overlook their support, especially not days after suffering such a blow.
I agree, there needs to come a time when we sit and listen to one another, but the reality of the matter is that half of the nation is grieving. Grief goes through stages and right now a lot of people seem to be in the anger stage.
Eventually, people will have to accept that Trump is president. I agree that they will need to have dialogues with his supporters to understand why they felt Trump was the best option. His supporters will also need to listen to the fear and anxiety of the minority population.
These dialogues will dictate how the nation moves forward.
You say that Trump’s election is not the end of the world, you are correct. You say that it isn’t some sort of legitimate reason to further widen the gap between fellow Americans, I envy that you have such privilege to believe that, because for some of us, only time will tell.
Eunice Maya Kamami