Firstly, to be clear, I am not a US citizen. I have no affiliation to the USA except that I want to move there in some indiscernible future. But this election was (always) bigger than the USA. This election was about basic human decency and how we as a people failed ourselves.
I’ll tell you why I am so affected by this result; why should it matter to me anyway who the President of the USA is?
Today’s newspaper called Trump “The leader of the free world.” His foreign policies are looking to clamp down on trade and immigration. He is looking to make it incredibly difficult for foreigners to get jobs / green cards in the USA.
I am a third culture kid – born in India, brought up in Kuwait, working in Singapore. I have never really felt a sense of belonging to any country really, never felt completely and utterly accepted wherever I was.
As was always drilled into our heads in an Indian family, America was the place to be. I dreamt of a place where I could perhaps finally be accepted – a place where I could live me dream of working at Disney. Now suddenly, my dreams are crumbling. Now imagine hundreds of thousands of people feel this way, inside the US and out. Imagine all those American dreams being destroyed.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
To be fair, I can understand why people voted for Trump; he was calling for real change (not very good change, but change nevertheless) Hillary had little to offer; her biggest selling point was that she wasn’t going to be as drastic as Trump. This didn’t sit well with white supremacists- people marinating in a conservative environment who didn’t approve of the change Obama brought to the table.
Donald Trump echoed with the conservative minds – the group of people who for 8 years felt alienated and unheard. He used their frustration as his stepping stone to rise in the ranks and gain support. He then took it further. He singled out people of particular races and religions – people who have already fought so hard for their rights – and said openly what some extremists were thinking. He catered to the patriarchy. He let the fears fester in a population reeling from terrorist attacks – people who don’t know that ISIS represents only a group of people and not an entire religion (just like how misogynists were only a group of people and not all men). He used this rhetoric for a year and a half until it became common place to hear it from him. Hence, he wasn’t reprimanded for it.
My point is that this isn’t just about politics. Its about morality.
I’m not saying that moral decay was never gonna happen had he not stood. I also don’t say that it would have stopped had Hillary won. This moral decay was always present but it was never condoned by a person of high power. And that is where the giant difference lies.
His campaign has emboldened the latent hatred bubbling under the surface – his speech and rhetoric has legitimised this bigotry. People are thinking – hey, if the President can call Mexicans rapists, why cant I? My concern is that this man who has already done damage in coaxing the hate rhetoric out of the minds of the common (albeit some uneducated) Americans, will have the power to affect real change.
Hate crimes are happening all over America – people are terrified of leaving their homes. If you’ve never once been fearful from your life because of the way you look/act, well great I’m genuinely happy for you. But as a woman whose family has always been afraid of letting me out after dark, as a woman whose professors told me I couldn’t cope because I was Indian, as a woman who was afraid of middle-eastern boys, as a queer depressed brown woman in this world, I say it’s exhausting. It is exhausting for people with PTSD from sexual abuse that a man with double digit accusers has been named president. It is exhausting for people of color with their turbulent history that in one swift blow, they are being called words not heard of since the colonial period. It is bloody exhausting for an entire population of muslims that they are being held accountable for the actions of a few (need I remind you that the people most affected by ISIS activity are other muslims?). It is exhausting for LGBTQ people that they are scared (again) to hold their partners hands in public. It is exhausting for women everywhere that you can still have so much experience and education and still lose to an inexperienced man – it is EXHAUSTING.
It isn’t about politics anymore – it is about basic human decency. I was brought up in a conservative environment too, but I was taught a fundamental tenet of humanity – kindness. And who am I to discriminate this kindness and give it only to a few?
Maybe trump’s economic policies would bring about positive change ( although to be honest I don’t see where he’s planning on getting the money to do all that and decrease taxes), who knows, he might surprise everyone – he is a businessman after all.
But this hate now is very real and very tangible and it is terrifying.