This morning at around three I came downstairs to my father with his head in his hands, visibly distraught about the results of the presidential election. He was murmuring to himself about how he could realistically move our family to Canada to keep us safe. A little over four hours later, when walking through the hallways of my school, I saw a fellow student holding a Trump and Pence lawn sign and chanting “Trump. Trump. Trump,” while other students cheered. This led me to wonder what caused such a divide in America and what the results of a President Trump will mean to me as a young, gay woman with a hispanic immigrant as a mother. For the first time the United States Presidential election was decided not on the political views of the candidates and the reforms they planned to make, but on which candidate could more successfully rally a crowd and dodge allegations of crimes they may or may not have committed.
Because of the frequent dodging of actual political views by Trump, there are not many things I know about his stances. The few things I do know don’t paint a good future for me. I know that Donald Trump is against immigration, especially of hispanic people, like my mother. I worry that, although she has been an American citizen for upwards of 10 years, Trump will try to tear our family apart. I worry that Trump will try to deport my mother, even though the only citizenship she has is an American one. I worry about all of the Muslim-Americans and the trouble they will be facing for the next four years. I worry that the citizenship of one of my best friends will be annulled simply because his parents weren’t American citizens when he was born. I worry that, because of the racist and xenophobic views of Trump and his followers, that the lives and well beings of my friends and family will be at stake. I understand that people in our country are frightened, but I also know that fear leads people to do unspeakable things.
I also know that Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence are almost totally against reproductive rights and want to shut down women’s health facilities like Planned Parenthood. As a woman, this terrifies me. I -- as well as every woman-- deserve access to facilities like Planned Parenthood which, seemingly unknown to the Republican Party, offer services that include birth control, STD tests and treatment, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. As a young woman with friends who have been victims of sexual assault, I am also disheartened by the fact that a man on trial for the statutory rape of a 13 year old can run to be our next president -- and win. A man who has said about sexual harassment and assault that, “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” should not be allowed to run for president in 2016, let alone win. I don’t understand why the people of the United States have lost their respect for women as well as victims of sexual assault and their well being.
Thirdly, I know that Trump and especially his vice president, are terrible news for the LGBT community, which I am passionate about, as it very directly affects my life. Pence is supportive of conversion therapy, which is therapy designed to make gay kids straight and trans kids cisgender. The tagline of conversion therapy might as well be “50% of our patients are straight before they kill themselves!” because of the detrimental effects it has on the psyche of patients. According to the Human Rights Campaign, a patient of conversion therapy is eight times more likely to try to commit suicide. As a LGBT youth with friends who are LGBT youth in less liberal states, I am worried about the well being of myself, but especially my friends. I am worried about how Trump wants to annul same sex marriages and the bathroom bill passed by Obama. After the Brexit vote in the UK, the amount of hate crimes increased by about 60% after the initial vote. After seeing the parallels between Brexit and our presidential election, I worry for my neighbors, Michelle and Denise, who got married on their 20th anniversary, when gay marriage finally became legal in all 50 states last year. I also worry for my friend, Evan, who recently came out as trans and started testosterone about a year ago.
It’s appalling to me that the American people have cast their vote and have decided upon a bigoted racist for our president. It is perhaps even more appalling to me that droves of my peers are opening up about their support for Donald Trump. Today in my sociology class, we took an anonymous poll on how we felt about the election. Eleven individuals voted that they were happy with the results. Thirteen unhappy. Five unsure. Not only that, but today in my sociology class, I defended why my and my friend’s and family’s basic human rights should be more important to them than a man’s business skills. How does this make him qualified to lead our country?
Of course, it’s too late for high school debates to affect who is the 45th president of the United States. But I hope that the arguments I make help change people’s views on the people so often despised and villainized by Trump and his followers. By just showing people these demographics in a human way, I hope I can prevent history from repeating itself yet again after these four years are over.
If somehow just getting so worked up about this election that I cry in front of a classroom full of my peers is what it takes to change people’s minds, I will go to every classroom in the United States of America and cry. More realistically though, I am going to devote my time to helping those who are going to be negatively affected by the Trump presidency. For the next four years expect to see me in soup kitchens helping those who can no longer afford food because all of their money is going to their health. Expect to see me helping LGBT people in any way I can, fighting for their basic human rights, even though we have progressed so far since Stonewall. And expect to see me in four years canvassing for a candidate who is not openly bigoted, racist, xenophobic, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, or misogynistic.