Since Wednesday morning, when most of the world woke up to the shocking news that Donald Trump had secured the highest office in the nation, I’ve been reading and hearing cute little phrases like “It’s time to lay aside our differences,” “No matter if your candidate won or lost, we must respect the office and the president,” “Trust the system our forefathers laid out; it’s going to be fine,” “It’s time to unite behind our new president.”
First of all, let’s talk about who thinks uniting behind our new president is the way to have peace in our country. It’s we white people, and mostly white men. People of privilege are not in imminent danger, and it’s easy for us to sit in safety and “trust our system,” a system that has proven to target minorities again and again. But not since the Civil Rights movement has it been so blatant as this.
In the aftermath of the election, there have been countless stories of Trump supporters vandalizing, harassing, and harming minorities and women. Undoubtedly this would have happened regardless of who won the election, and perhaps the incidents would have been worse and even more frequent had Hillary won the electoral vote. But the true horror here isn’t the heartless people committing these crimes against already-marginalized people. The true horror lies in the condoning, the encouragement even, that comes from the top. Mr. Trump’s platform was built upon hate and fear; his campaign echoed his beliefs, and now we are reaping the consequences of a man of power encouraging violence against minorities.
So I just have one thing to say in response to the flippant requests I’m hearing from people of privilege that Americans come together in support of our new president.
Actually, it’s NOT time to stand together behind Mr. Trump. Luckily, we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship. Just because a man has power does not mean we are required to unite in support of the cruelty and violence he has incited against millions of people.
Here’s who I will be standing behind: people of color, the hispanic community, Muslim Americans, immigrants (both documented and undocumented), refugees, and anyone LGBTQ etc, women, and anyone else who has been marginalized. I will band together with the minorities in this country, the people who are literally scared for their lives right now. I will be donning the safety pin and keeping my eyes and ears open for the chance to defend and protect those who are being targeted, to come to their rescue, to shield them from harm.
It’s not time to stand behind Mr. Trump until he absolutely and unequivocally disavows the violence that has erupted since his win. Until he stops calling protests against him and his hatefulness “very unfair” and stands in front of America and tells his violent supporters that he in no way condones their behavior, that it is criminal and they will be caught and held accountable by the full extent of the law, I refuse to support him.
Mr. Trump, you should know something. If you threaten to abuse your power, the way you have, you should expect the fallout that has happened since your presidency was announced. You have your supporters, but you will never win. Because until you recant almost everything you said during your hateful campaign, Mr. Trump, peaceful and loving American people will be uniting in support of those who are afraid. It’s not unfair at all, and it’s not a rigged system. It’s democracy, and it’s time to embrace it.