It’s been a little over two months since the presidential election. Although the acceptance and realization have begun to sink in, the last thing we should feel is apathetic or defeated. As inauguration day comes closer, and with every passing day of Donald Trump’s presidency, we should continue to spread love and acceptance–especially as Trump appoints more and more members of his cabinet. We should never stop fighting for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the helpless.
On November 8th, we all witnessed a shocking illustration of the bigotry and hatred that still exists in this country. And on November 9th, I attended a protest in Union Square to help make sure that everyone who has ever felt threatened by a Trump presidency knows that they are not alone. As a bisexual female of Asian American descent and as a human being, I found myself overcome with immense sadness when Donald Trump was elected as our next president. I thought about what this outcome meant for women, for LGBTQIA+ people, for Muslims, for African Americans, for Asian Americans, and for anyone who does not have the privilege of being a straight, white, cisgender, male.
I think what terrifies me the most is not simply the sheer number of supporters that Trump has but the level of validation they are now feeling. It is exactly this validation that has allowed the oppression against minorities to be exacerbated. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen videos, tweets, and Facebook updates of people witnessing blatant racism, homophobia, and more. One woman even recounted the story of her hijab being torn off by a Trump supporter; other people have tweeted pictures of the phrase “make America white again” spray painted on the sides of buildings and cars. Even here, at NYU, Trump’s name was plastered on the door of the Muslim Student Center the day after the election.
So when I attended the protest in Union Square, I found myself feeling touched, despite everything, by the warmth, the acceptance and the love of the people around me. People were genuinely kind, and you could tell that every person there truly appreciated the presence of every other person there. On November 9th, the city of New York grieved together for minorities, women, immigrants, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community. That sense of togetherness is not something New Yorker’s often feel.
So over the course of the next 4 years, it’s vital that we face and confront the people we know who voted for Trump and engage in a serious discussion with them. Don’t become just as hateful as the man they voted for, but show them how wrong and unnecessary hatred is by rising above it. No one could’ve phrased it better than the First Lady Michelle Obama: “When they go low, we go high”.
But I think what’s important for us millennials to do is to channel this feeling. This feeling of terror, uncertainty, and disappointment is not something we should let go of or forget. Remember this, and in 2018 we elect a new Congress – hopefully, a congress we believe in. In 2020 – we make Trump a one-term president.
Image via CNN.com