It has not even been twenty-four hours since Donald Trump has been elected president, yet the impact has already been absorbed by the country and felt by many. Online communities, the press, and social media platforms have not stopped buzzing about the election. I’ve witnessed countless people pour out their feelings of anxiety on the internet. The tremendous amount of hate that is freely given in response to those people is absolutely disgusting. Minorities are being told that they are overreacting, being overdramatic, and that they should just calm down and respect their new president.
I am only 17 years old, yet I am both smart and empathetic enough to know that it is verging on an entirely new level of inhumanity for privileged people to tell minorities and oppressed groups that they are being dramatic because of how anxious and terrified they are. Women, people of color, sexual assault survivors, victims of abuse/violence, immigrants, Muslims, the poor, physically and mentally ill/disabled people, refugees, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community all have more than enough reasons to feel scared for their future, for their rights, for their happiness, and even for their lives. Hell, even the earth itself has reason to be scared for its own future (environmental issues, global warming, etc.). If you don’t understand these feelings of true anxiety, then you are most certainly privileged and therefore have no place speaking over these people. You may not be affected, but there are thousands of people whose lives are affected in the worst way. This matter extends far beyond political beliefs and a presidential election.
There are many things that are inherently wrong about a Donald Trump presidency, yet the culture of hate that he breeds in the American people is by far one of the worst parts. This culture of hate can be seen through the violent attacks made in his name or at his political rallies. It can also be seen in the way Trump supporters talk about and treat others.
Trump’s platform is not limited to him being a “bad” presidential leader; his ideology paves the way for people to be able to rationalize and excuse their own racism, homophobia, sexism, abuse, murder, crimes, and overall hate.
When the president, who is arguably supposed to be a role model, makes known that sexual assault, racism, homophobia, and inequality is okay, then that message is further formulated deep into the minds of the people. Just imagine the colossal effect Trump’s words and actions have on the minds of our youth. Don’t even get me started on Mike Pence, who could actually even be regarded as worse than Trump. When there are so many people, in addition to a person of highest authority, who are telling these groups of oppressed people that their lives and their rights don’t matter, of course they are going to be upset and terrified.
Oppressed people are sad, angry, anxious, and scared, yet they will not fall under this regime of hate. These next four years will be tough for many, but they will not be a loss. Their voices will not be silenced any longer. Privileged people will try to use their power to speak over them, but that will not stand. I am not saying that it will be easy. It will be very difficult for people to fight against their oppressors, as it has always been that way. It will not be impossible. They will not want to listen to you because you are young, or because you are a woman, or because you are any of the countless minorities being discounted in this country.
Just remember that you are not alone. There are thousands of people who are feeling the same way and experiencing the same fight. We must gather our strength and support the communities who need help. We must actively work to change the culture of hate that is thriving in our society. We must vote, petition, hashtag, write, tweet, converse, protest, and above all – stick up for ourselves and others. We must do all of this without violence or hate in our hearts, for if we don’t, then we are no better than them. Be angry, be outspoken, be loud, be fearless in the face of opposition, and do it all with compassion as your motive.
While your government may not be on your side, there are others who are. There are plenty of organizations, hotlines, people, and movements who are open to support you if you are feeling scared or if you are being victimized. As these next four years unfold, your values, your rights, your safety, and your life could be at risk. You may have to deal with harassment, unjust laws, discrimination, and more unimaginable threats. It will be dark, but you are a light.
You are not weak. You are not inferior. You are not ugly. You are not unloved. You are not stupid. You are not an object. You are not any of the things they will tell you that you are. Anyone who needs a person to talk to, to cry to, or to rant to – can find that person in me. You are not alone. I hope this message is comforting to women, people of color, sexual assault survivors, victims of abuse/violence, immigrants, muslims, the poor, physically and mentally ill/disabled people, refugees, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is for you.