I can understand why half of our country voted for Trump. Sincerely, I do. I understand the feeling of being ignored by our government. I understand we need a change and I hope to God that something good comes out of a Trump presidency. What is not okay, is the mentality that Trump is only good, or that his entire platform wasn’t based on knocking down the people who make up a large portion of this country. It is not okay to tell us we should “relax” and “see what happens”. I don’t hate you if you voted for Trump. I empathize with you. I understand why you think that Trump is the dynamite to get our country and government unstuck.
What is not acceptable, is continuing to turn a blind eye to the heinous rhetoric and intentions coming from Trump. It’s not okay to pick and choose which of Trump’s goals and words work for you while ignoring the bad parts. It’s okay to vote for him for change. It’s not okay to turn a blind eye to Trump’s plans for marginalized and vulnerable people. Just because you might not understand me when I say I am afraid, doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to be concerned. Just because you’ve never faced the type of fear coursing through the veins of your fellow Americans, friends, and family members, doesn’t mean it isn’t your responsibility to try and understand—and if you can’t, at least realize that people around you need your support right now. I urge you to do your best to understand, rather than ignore. Just because you’ve never struggled, doesn’t mean others around you haven’t. It is every one of our jobs to reach across the aisle to people who are different from us, to understand them, to do our best to empathize with them.
As I sit here typing this, I’m not just fearing for the reality of a Trump presidency and how his policies, if enacted, will directly affect me, the environment, education, or international relations. I’m grieving because I don’t know whether my family, or friends, or neighbors see me as a human worthy of respect. That isn’t being a sore loser. That isn’t being sad my candidate lost—I didn’t vote for Hillary because I loved everything about her. I don’t care that she lost. I don’t understand how so many people seem to have not taken Trump literally when he made his promises to America. I understand you like that Trump speaks his mind and doesn’t hold back, but you still need to actually listen to what he is saying. I have, and that’s why I’m afraid.
I am not a hysterical mess of irrationality—any of you who have spoken with me should know this—but I am terrified. I make a conscious effort of being informed and remaining respectful to those I disagree with because I think logic and critical thinking is vital to survival. I’m frightened because there is a real possibility that I (among many others) am not safe. Even if you think I’m delusional, even if you think this is being blown out of proportion, you need to understand that I’m fearful because I have family members and friends who refuse to validate me as a fellow human. I’m concerned because if people who have been with me my whole life won’t or can’t acknowledge the real potential consequences of a Trump presidency on minorities and women, I question whether I’ll have support and safety in the future.
I’m afraid because, in the unlikely scenario of my rights being stripped from me, or any other American, I don’t know if I can count on the people in my life to stand up for me and my safety—for my life, if necessary. I don’t sit here crying because I’m afraid my rights will be stripped from me in an instant; I know many changes come slowly in this country, but the fact that some things are even a possibility, is what horrifies me. I’m not delusional, but even if you think I am, I’m telling you right now that I need to know you’ll help protect me, no matter how unlikely you think it is that I’ll need your protection.
I’m afraid because I don’t know if in the worst case scenario, you would stand up for me, or turn the other way to protect your own sensibilities. Inaction is action. Willful ignorance is not an acceptable excuse for complacency. If you voted for Trump because you think he’s the answer to disrupting a faulty system, great, but you do not get to sit back and pretend the bad stuff Trump has also promised, doesn’t exist.
We all need compassion right now. We need reassurance that we will be okay. We have an uphill climb for social progress in this country, but we can do it together. For those of you who are just as worried as I am, I am here for you. I hear you. I see you. I am with you. I love you. If Trump unites this country, it will not be because of his policies, but in spite of them.