When it was confirmed that the 45th President of the United States would be Donald Trump, most of the country and the world let out one collective gasp. Not in appreciation, but one of utter shock. Being a US citizen living in Australia at the time of the election, I cringed in disgust that the country my father and grandfather fought wars for could elect a man who did nothing but spew hate filled tirades against women, the LGBT, minorities, legal immigrants, the disabled and more. We let those who fought for our freedom down.
Yet it was the free will of people who voted for him.
Many on the outside of the good ol’ USA don’t quite understand the fear that was immediately felt by each of the communities he ranted on and on about.
My best friend is a wonderful gay man. Honest, caring, and hilarious. He was the first person I checked in on. Words cannot express the fear I heard in his voice. The once bright and laughter filled voice was trembling. He wasn’t naive to the hatred people felt towards his sexual orientation. He has been out of the closet long enough to see the hatred from generations before turning into belief of marriage equality for all. He said to me, “what most people don’t understand is that we now fear we have to go back into the closet to stay safe. I shouldn’t have to hide who I am to feel safe at work, to feel safe on the street, to feel safe in my neighbourhood and my own home.” I honestly had no words to console him. The alt-right fears anything that doesn’t fit in their box of ideals. If you’re a member of the LGBT community, you definitely do not fit in that box. The LGBT community has fought long and hard against hatred and violence towards their community and I can understand their fear of having all the hard work and innocent deaths turning into dust.
Another fear of US citizens is women’s right. Women around the world get the short of the stick. We have to fight for payment for our hard work. We fight for the right to have children and get paid maternity leave. We fight men who believe they have a say over how we should handle our own reproductive organs. We fight for equality and we now have in office a president who has said, “you just grab’em by the pussy.” I’m an open minded person and believe in free speech but even I cringed when I heard that. Most men would never say that out loud especially those men who have daughters. The dangers of being a woman aren’t localized to a specific country or location of course, but having a male chauvinistic pig in the highest office says to the young generation of women is that you are of no value. Of course I should not be shocked that Trump sees no value in women since he’s on his 3rd marriage, trading each “old” wife for a newer updated model. I doubt even his daughter feels safe around him after several comments he’s made about banging his own daughter. Ew. Gross.
Growing up in the South, hearing the “n” word was common as saying “bless you” after someone sneezed. Generations learned it from the generation before, but generations also stopped the use of the word and passed it along to future generations that such derogatory terms were in fact not okay to use. Ever. The fear that Trump has brought to this community that has fought for their rights for over one hundred and fifty years is that he’s putting white supremacist leaders into a high ranking office. He’s giving power to a person that hates minorities. I suppose Trump and group of angry white men didn’t know that the “white man” was a minority group as well until they eradicated the Native Americans. The meme to the right is perfect. Because many in the US are still comparing Trump to Germany’s hate filled dictator.
The fear is legit in America. It’s not some Hollywood created mood. Ask anyone who walks the streets and you know by the look in their eyes if they fear walking the street at night in a neighbourhood where they once felt safe. Male or female. Black or white. Gay or straight. Abled or disabled. No one should have to fear that their life doesn’t matter to the person in the highest office. All lives matter.
What scares me is that the dynamic dummy duo of Trump and Pence are so blinded by their own belief and the lies they tell themselves to sleep at night, they don’t hear the voices of the people. Even if the people didn’t vote for them, the thing about being President of the United States is that you don’t oppress others nor do you send the country into a downward spiral into hell. You inspire and motivate others to be amazing leaders and members of their community. And I suppose in the end, the hate spewing Trump and Pence will still inspire amazing leaders who are kind, caring, and supportive for their communities because these will be the leaders that stand up to their hate and their misogyny.