If This was the Progressive America We Knew...

By Angie Zhang (Writer, Musician, Activist, Aspiring Politician)

When I woke up on November 9th, my dad told me that Donald Trump had been elected president; the first time I heard this, I wasn’t fully awake enough to digest it. I merely groaned, and continued brushing my teeth over the sink, as if it was just another ordinary morning. As the day went on, however, I kept seeing political post after post of people’s opinions regarding the outcome of this election on my Facebook feed; I started to realize that this was the reality of our country. America had come so close to electing its first female president, only to have a man like Donald Trump win the presidency. 

I do not hate all Trump supporters, and I do not hate Republicans, but I will say that I hate Trump himself for many reasons. As a feminist, I am deeply disappointed that we have elected someone who endorses rape culture by openly bragging about sexually assaulting women; it boggles my mind how we, as a nation, have elected someone who mocks people with disabilities, wants to prevent Muslims from entering the United States and “build a wall” from Mexico. Many people have demonstrated resistance to the outcome of this election by joining protests all over the country, while others say that Donald Trump is “not their president.” For a lot of us, especially people my age, this is true; Donald Trump does not represent the America we grew up in.

As a sixteen year old, I grew up under a very progressive Obama presidency. Same sex marriage was legalized. Feminism made a huge comeback into the mainstream. People became more aware of social injustices regarding race/police brutality and started the Black Lives Matter movement. The Supreme Court ruled that transgender people could use whichever bathroom identifies with their gender. However, the very fact that Trump was elected makes me rethink the future significance of all these accomplishments. Obviously, if the people didn’t want him to be president, he wouldn’t have won the position. If this was the progressive America we knew, Trump would have never even made it so far as to become the Republican nominee during the primaries— and that’s the scary part— not just Trump himself, but the groups of racist, homophobic, sexist people he empowered by campaigning for and becoming president. Trump’s decision to run for president and his success in winning serves as a wake up call to America; we are not the liberal, open-minded nation that many of us thought we were. Of course, there was always racism, homophobia, and sexism in America; however, Trump’s presidential campaign has maximized these issues and given confidence to people who believe in all the things that go against the values of the America that I grew up in, and it pains me to realize that. There were already tensions in our society regarding social and economic issues to begin with, but the outcome of this election has escalated them. People everywhere are talking about trying to stick together and resist being torn apart by political views, but the reality is that it’s already too late. Certain people are supporting the protests because they don’t condone Trump’s reactionary policies. Others are criticizing the protests against Trump, saying that they look bad for our country— but has it ever occurred to them that the very fact that Trump has been elected president in the first place looks even worse? 

With each passing day, I continue to reflect on the outcome of the election and how the rest of these four years will play out. Trump now states that he will not repeal Obamacare or marriage equality, but I, along with others, will be watching him closely; after all, this is the same man who claimed to be a Democrat and pro-choice back up until 2008 and is now known as a raging Republican homophobic sexist bigot— how much can we really trust him? Hopefully, Trump will get his act together, at the very least. Many people are angry and terrified right now because of his being elected, and they have every right to be; after all, no one wants to have their rights taken away. If people thought I was an obnoxious crazy feminist before, I hope they’re ready to witness me at my peak during these next four years. And most importantly, if anything remotely positive comes out of this presidency, I hope it will be the most vocal, organized, and widespread group of strong women and social justice activists this nation has ever seen.