Over the past 48 hours, I have seen close friends, family members, and complete strangers absolutely break down in anger, in tears, and in utter defeat. People I know and love are scared simply because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
These are not overreactions.
In his victory speech, Trump talked about unifying the country, about coming together to fix our problems. That is not what Trump ran on. He ran on building a wall. He ran on mass deportation. He ran on banning Muslims. He ran on nominating conservative Supreme Court justices with the intent to reverse decisions on Obamacare, gay marriage, Roe v. Wade, and Massachusetts v. EPA. He ran a divisive campaign built on identity politics and mobilizing the white vote.
A Trump presidency, coupled with a Republican Congress, has the potential to do harm. What will happen to all the young, hopeful people who came here with the understanding of protection under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Trump plans to repeal, or their parents, who are less protected? What will happen to all the underprivileged people who were able to finally receive healthcare if Obamacare is scrapped? What will happen to minority communities when Trump doubles down on “law and order”? It does not take much imagination.
I cannot respect a President-elect who champions policies such as these, and whose comments offend fellow Americans. In some ways, I can see where supporters are coming from, and we should think twice about lumping all Trump voters into the same basket and labeling it "deplorables." Also, as an American, I must respect the Office of the President and the peaceful transition of power; it is the least I can do to try to preserve the fragile republic we have. This is a time for empathy, and for tolerance of our neighbors whose reasons for supporting Trump many times do not include bigotry. I do think the ability to look past the violence of Trumpism reflects privilege, and I do not think we should tolerate it.
The unashamed racism, sexism, xenophobia, and bigotry of Trumpism makes me want to burn things, to smash things, to throw things through windows. But violence is not helpful at all. Neither is moving to Canada, and neither is seceding.
This is not the time to drown our sorrows in alcohol and Netflix. Already I can feel a sense of defeat on campus – a feeling I have shared – that we should just bury our heads in the sand and hold our breath because, hey, he might not be that bad. We can mourn, be terrified, and be angry, but please, do not be silent. Our dissent has to take action.
The best thing we can do – indeed, the only thing we can do – is confront the hate we see and experience with nonviolent action. Whether this means standing up for those in harm’s way, volunteering your time to help those less fortunate than yourself, or participating in civil disobedience, now is the time. This is our power.
We cannot just quit. We have to make our voices heard, because there are people who need us to stand with them. We need to act because if we do not, we are all guilty.