I grew up in a minority-majority enclave in the Bay Area. My elementary school was made up of 800 students whose demographics were made up of roughly fifty-percent East Asian and fifty-percent South Asian. There, at school, you could probably count the number of white kids on one hand. Almost everyone had immigrant parents and spoke at least two languages. There, you would see not just Christians but Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Atheists, just to name a few, playing together during recess. There, you would find classrooms of red-blooded AMERICAN children learning about our nation’s founding fathers, singing “America the Beautiful”, and dutifully reciting the pledge of allegiance every single day before class. And it was there where I sat criss-cross applesauce, along with 800 other colored children, in a stuffy auditorium to witness the broadcast of the inauguration of our first Black president Barack Obama.
For the first eleven years of my life, before I moved away to a “Whiter” town, this was my version of America. A starkly different America than most’s or the one revealed to us on by the election results on Tuesday, albeit, but a view of America nonetheless. In the eight years since I moved away from my sheltered hometown of Fremont, Calif., my perspective of “America” and what it means to be “American” have shifted quite many a times. Once after moving to a new town just 20 minutes away, several times while in middle school and high school, and once again after coming to college here on the East Coast. And just when I had thought I had come close to untangling the complexities of American-ism, I have yet again been challenged. To think, that in 2016, that my country would have elected a racist, sexist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, and homophobic bigot, leaves me disappointed. How can a man who stands for so many of the malicious -isms, whose platform runs on hatred and fear-mongering, rise to not only an ELECTED position but THE highest elected position of power in the United States of America?
For the first eleven years of my life, before I moved away to a “Whiter” town, this was my version of America. A starkly different America than most’s or the one revealed to us on by the election results on Tuesday, albeit, but a view of America nonetheless.
Will this man, Donald J. Trump, be a representative for the people of my hometown and the communities like it around the nation? Will he listen to the needs of ALL Americans and be the man to “Make America Great Again” as he so aptly puts? Of this I am skeptical. And what will happen to those groups he’s outwardly lashed at? What will happen to those who oppose him?
Trump stands for a rebirth of a patriarchal WASP-y America. This can be the only way to explain his rise to power. To all those that do not check all of the following boxes of “White”, “Christian”, and “Male,” you should be concerned. And, even if you do, you should still be concerned. Even if you were to put his personality, actions and beliefs aside, this man has no merit to lead. Oh, but he’s a successful businessman. Perhaps. But would you want a “successful businessman” who blatantly lies and doubles back on his word — Do we really even know what his political stances are? — and suppresses opposition, engaging in lawsuits with all those that wrong him and even threatening to “lock up” Hillary Clinton on the condition that he wins (which, spoiler alert, he did), to lead this country? Sounds awfully authoritarian to me, and yet we still elect him as President of our Republic.
His actions, demeanor and outright discrimination against almost every single ethnic, racial, religious and sexual group remind me at once of a haunting quote I encountered in a history book:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
– Martin Niemöller on the Nazi Party
Mr. Trump, half the country may be cheering, but half of it is also vehemently upset. I hope you realize this; that as the President of the United States, you do not represent only those who voted for you, but every single American living in this “one nation under God.” You — as much as I am reluctant to say this — you will represent me. I personally I am just a little unnerved by the fact that you will be the man running this country, MY country for the next four years, but nevertheless, you are the “hero” my country has chosen to lead and there’s no changing that. Mr. Trump, I hope behind those beady eyes and underneath that stupid haircut there is some heart, with which you can feel with. With which you will listen and heed to every American and make this place a safer and better place for all. And do it so, not with hatred nor fear, but respect and compassion. Like it or not, I’m stuck with you. So, let’s see it Mr. Trump, can you prove this one American wrong and Make America Great Again?