After last night’s election results, a lot of Americans are feeling disturbed, disappointed, and some even frightened. As a privileged, white citizen, many of Trump’s words, and possibly soon to be actions, do not affect me; however, as a woman, many of them do.
But I want to try to look at this situation in a different light.
Among feelings of racism, sexism, and other horrible misconceptions, parts of this election have looked these wrongs in the eye and replied a confident, “I don’t think so.”
Aspects of this election have been a huge win concerning race and gender. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to ever top a major party’s presidential ticket. Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to be elected in the US House of Representatives. Kamala Harris became the first black Senator in two decades (Cosmopolitan). Kellyanne Conway is now the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign. So how could we say that this election was a complete loss for all minorities?
There were many historical breakthroughs that resulted from this election, and Trump’s win cannot stop that.
Yes, Trump has proven to promote racist, sexist, homophobic ideas, but that does not mean that the rest of America does, or that we ever will. Saying that all Trump supporters are clearly racist, sexist, and a bigot is completely inaccurate. Many people who voted for trump are simply ignorant to some of the main threats he poses to America, which we have to force ourselves to understand, because they are not going to be affected by any of these threats. Many people have grown up privileged, uninformed, and comfortable. We simply cannot expect them to understand the reality of racism and other harmful ideas. Yes, this is a problem, but it can much more easily be changed because these are not stone cold individuals with no heart. They have the ability to change, and we must help initiate that change by showing them love and grace.
There are many other examples of people who voted for trump that are not bigots, but simply confused individuals who had to choose the lesser of two evils in this election. We have to refrain from unfair judgement on all Trump supporters.
I am not, however, ignoring the fact that there are definitely intolerant, racist, sexist, homophobic Americans in this country. There are. And it is horrible. But that is not the majority of Americans, and I firmly believe it never will be.
I think we can use this election to make minority communities stronger than ever before. Women, blacks, hispanics, Muslims, and other groups can use this election as a fuel to strive toward a better future. Instead of taking this election as a loss, we can use it as a reason why we need to keep fighting, even harder than before, because we are so close to breakthrough in so many ways. I believe that this election may very well be the driving factor for minority groups to stand up and say, “No, I will not sit by and watch. I will participate. I will fight for my rights. And I will succeed.”
The thoughts and actions of one man, even if he is the President of the United States, cannot and will not change the hearts of the millions of hopeful Americans who so badly long for change. This time can be seen as one of unity, strength, and determination.
We, as a country, must continue in love, grace, acceptance, and understanding. We must love our neighbors as well as our enemies, because our enemies can never become our neighbors if we do not love them first.
I hope that Americans realize soon that it is often what feels like a huge defeat that ends up being the driving factor for radical, positive change.
If you’re feeling forgotten, unloved, unrepresented, and cheated, look to the future, because we can make it greater than we could even hope. The American people are stronger together than they are divided, and I hope we can all learn to love radically. And we are stronger as a collective than Trump is as one man.
Let us live up to our name as the home of the brave as we challenge the system and demand equality.