If you are like me, you are overwhelmed by the news and events of the last 48 hours. America, in all its glory, elected a racist, homophobic, sexist, bigot to the White House. A man accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women. A man whose very campaign premises were based in the most anti-American tenants ever run on a major ticket in the history of the United States. Who was described by major economic and global organizations as one of the greatest threats to national and global security, on par with ISIS. Whose campaign promises actually and literally spit in the face of the Constitution of this once great country – the very Constitution that gave him the ability to rise to power to begin with.
America: you had one job.
Just under half of Americans that voted said that those policies and beliefs were OK. Either because they aligned themselves with those anti-American tenants, or because they could tolerate all of that in exchange for something else Trump offered.
To say I am in shock is an understatement.
Now, the aftermath has begun to unfold and – so it seems – we are in turmoil. Our president has asked for a peaceful transfer of power, and in response people are taking to the streets and beating and attacking people under this new mantra that to make America great again we need to get out anyone that isn’t just like us. Trump’s win was validation of the deeply seeded racism and sexism that has plagued our country since the days of Jim Crow, and before. Less than 100 years since women earned the right to vote, and “grab her pussy” is more socially acceptable of a phrase than “she deserves to be treated equally.”
To say I am sickened is also an understatement. A gross understatement.
And through all of this, I have learned a lot.
I have learned that very few people actually have an understanding of the Constitution of the United States. They have a general idea of the things they like about it, like the 2nd Amendment and its whole thing about gun ownership; but they seem to have cherry picked those bits and pieces that are convenient for them, overlooking the other parts equally as important and valid and right and what it is to be American.
I am assuming, based on his campaign rhetoric and behavior during the election; in addition to his unprecedented silence now in the face of the violent election aftermath, our president-elect is one of those people completely unaware of what abilities and protections the Constitution Articles hold within them.
Like the ability to worship whatever the fuck God you want without having to worry about being beaten at your local 7-11 over those beliefs.
Or the ability to live your life without hate crimes and discrimination being enacted against you, especially if you are in kindergarten and just want to get your goddamned lunch without having the taunting of “build a wall, build a wall” shouted in your face because you happen to have brown skin.
The list is seemingly endless of people and classes that Donald Trump doesn’t understand are protected under the Constitution. Not only people of all religions and race, but those with disabilities. Women. People of varied sexual orientation… All of those people are protected under the Constitution and our incoming president doesn’t understand that.
There’s also the whole thing about freedom to protest and freedom of speech, which I get is why all the Trump supporters felt they had a right to enact their hate crimes over the past several months of his campaign. But then to turn around and say that the people protesting the bigoted policies of the most anti-American president elect is “wimpy,” “shameful,” “pointless,” or “wrong,” completely misses the very definition of what it means to be an American.
I was raised to believe, and have degrees in political science and philosophy to back those beliefs up with facts and rational discourse, that America is the place where you can come and be whomever you are and, to put it bluntly, not have to take shit for it.
If you are gay, you get to be gay. If you are a woman, you get to be a woman. If you are black or Hispanic, you get to be a black or Hispanic.
You do not have to be subjected to discrimination or hate crimes. The Constitution guarantees that you are free from those things for just being you.
The Constitution also ensures that you get to voice your opinion, which I understand goes both ways. You get to voice your opinion, for example in a public speech, in a Facebook post, or in a peaceful protest, regardless of whether or not anyone sees it valid or worthy.
You do not get to beat your beliefs into someone until they are so bloodied and bruised that they have to take a trip to the emergency room.
With great sadness, it seems that with the Trump presidency, that all seems to be out the window.
Where this leaves me is with the understanding and acceptance that at least half of America, and America’s next president, is actually not American.
At least half of America, and America’s next president, believes that freedom from discrimination and racism and sexism, and that freedom of religion, is not a thing.
At least half of America, and America’s next president, believes it has the right to beat you if you look different or you love someone of the same gender.
At least half of America, and America’s next president, believes it can tell you what to do with your body just because you are a woman.
If this is America, it is no longer my country.
People keep crying out on Facebook – “get over it!” “This is democracy!” “The Republicans felt like this when Obama was elected!” and “He won, we have to deal with it!”
Actually no. No, we don’t.
And this isn’t an issue of Democrat versus Republican, but rather right and wrong.
That’s the beauty of being an actual American. You get to not accept things that you know are actually, factually, wrong. You get to say “this is not the principle of our country” and you get to call for an action that is both Constitutional and fair.
You get to say that a man who runs to be an anti-American president cannot take office, if this is going to continue to be the Constitutionally abiding America we once prided ourselves on being.
Otherwise, it is no longer America.
No president in history has ever been as anti-American as Donald Trump. Up until 48 hours ago, I would have never considered saying the words “he is not my president,” or “this is not my country.” But it isn’t, and he will never be.