After spending the past six months studying the Constitution of the United States, there is nothing that scares me more about the upcoming four years than Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s opinions of people like me, their false promises, their claims about the media, and how uncertain his policy may be.
I’m afraid that I’m left to wonder just how much of his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and ableist comments reflect his views, and what was just said to attract his pool of voters.
Even if any of those reading this are Trump supporters, you have to agree that he went back and forth on his views a lot, and he was often untruthful in his statements. He has already turned around on his big promises, like Mexico paying for his infamous border wall–something that was inconceivable to begin with. According to the constitution, this would have to first be passed through congress, and there is no mechanism put into place to allow our country to force another to do anything for the U.S.
This of course doesn’t change the fact that at school shortly after the election, I walked into lunch to find a swastika and “KKK” carved into the table with pen. The worst part was how my friends and I knew that we really could do nothing about it other than layer on black permanent marker until it wasn’t visible. That’s all that anyone in any position of authority would have told us to do, anyway. There was no real way to tell who did it, either. And that, for some reason, made me feel more nervous than I had in a long time at school. I sit there in silence when I hear slurs, not wanting to risk myself. Letting the speakers of the words get away with it makes me cringe. But this was different. For the first time, I had no choice in the matter. No matter what, there was nothing I could do. I’m just glad that none of my friends that saw those symbols were Jewish or African American.
And that is precisely why I am so overjoyed to see so many adults, teens, and children joining together in such large groups–groups impossible to ignore–to fight for our rights and our freedoms. These brave people gather to hold people responsible for their actions, to protect their ability to choose what’s right for themselves and have access to the care and resources that they need.
This is what America is.
Americans have the constitutional right to protest, to the freedom of speech, and to petition the government. When the people aren’t satisfied, they are heard. It happened with Vietnam. It proves that our voices matter.
Although life got in the way and I couldn’t make it to join the thousands who marched, I was amazed as I saw photos and videos from my friends on social media. When I turned on the TV after coming home from work that night, all I saw for at least ten minutes was coverage of the Women’s Marches and interviews of some of the people that went. I have never seen so many people in one place, united under one goal, and I probably won’t again for a while. The protests won’t stop, but one so large that it took months for the word to spread for it to get to the extent that it the Women’s March wound up being probably won’t occur for a while. I just hope that I will get to be apart of one of these historic events soon.
Of course, you don’t need to go marching to protest–this is just something I’d want to do. Since the election, I have already donated to the Human Rights Campaign, and it really is easy to do. Supporting organizations that fight against the bigoted beliefs of the Trump administration is a protest in itself. It allows these places to continue to run. Other amazing causes would be Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter. There are an extremely large number of places that will need help in these next four years, so if you can, donate.
As someone who wants to go on to fight for social justice, I can’t imagine a better time to be coming of age. Yes, it is truly terrifying not to know what the leader of your country truly believes, but it is also comforting to think that my opposition and my identity cannot be erased in all of this.
For the first time since the election’s results, I have felt hope about the future of my country. I hope you have, too.