I Thought I Would Be Proud to Be an American Today

By Daria Samway

On this day in history, I thought I was going to be able to say that I had met the first Woman president of the United States of America. I thought that today was going to be the next step we take as a country… The next step that moves us beyond our racist and sexist roots. I thought that I would be proud to be an American today… But sadly, those thoughts are not the truth. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me because I grew up in the US, but I cannot deny that today we take a step backwards in history as our country elected Donald Trump to be our 45th president. Today we take a step backwards because not only did our country elect a racist man to represent our nation, but our country also elected a man who represents xenophobia, sexism, elitism, homophobia, narcissism, arrogance, ignorance, and embarrassment, a bully, a danger, and a pathological liar. I understand the fear and frustration that is running through the minds of all Americans who did not support Donald Trump. And yes, I know that I am not specifically a target of Trump’s hatred and ignorance, but I do understand the fear. Having grown up with a grandmother and aunts and uncles who are immigrants from a typically Muslim country, Iran, I understand. Having family and friends who are proud people of color with diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, I understand. Having family and friends who are Hispanic/Latino, I understand. Being a woman, I understand. I am a girl who not even two days ago was subject to the objectification of women. A man yelled, “I want to grab you by the pussy” at me as I rode my bike home from school on Monday. In that moment, I understood the true effect of sexism in our society; sexism that can be attributed to many different factors, but magnified by our new bigot of a leader who thinks it is okay to call women nasty, thinks that women are inferior, thinks that women should be judged based on looks, thinks that women should not have the right to choose what happens to their own body. Because of the society that I am growing up in, I am afraid to walk by myself at night. I am growing up in a society that tells me that my femininity makes me weak, a society that tells me that a strong woman is a threat to an overwhelmingly male dominated world, a society that tells me that my human rights are subject to the decisions of men. 

So I say to myself, to my family, to my friends, to those of you whom I don’t know, but take the time to read this, I say feel the sadness and disgust that is burning through your minds, but do not let it divide us even more. Acknowledge that our country, a country that is lucky enough to have a democratic system, voted, and unfortunately voted for Donald Trump. I find it very hard to find a rational justification for anyone voting for this bully of a man, but to all of us who do not support him, we have to come together because we are stronger together. We have to be kind. We have to PEACEFULLY protest anything that he says or does that violates the basic human rights of anyone on this earth. We need to have faith in the American people and remember that Trump did not in fact win the majority vote, he only won the electoral vote, so most Americans do not stand behind him. We have to stand with a united front. We have to work to make sure that this man does not ruin any legislation that has helped a minority group gain rights in our country. We have to move forward and acknowledge that what happened happened and it is in the past, but the future is still in our hands. We need to listen to our youth because they are the future of our country. We need to show empathy and compassion towards everyone because unfortunately our country elected a man who has not demonstrated the capability of doing so. We need to stop playing the blame game and start taking action. We have to trust that a democracy is not a democracy without the will of the people, so we need to understand and inform those who blindly voted for Trump. We need to remember that we cannot just ignore and hate the people who voted for Donald Trump, but instead try to work with them to help them realize why his beliefs are doing more harm than good. We need to make sure that every individual’s voice is heard through all peaceful means possible. We need to trust that love trumps hate. We need to live by the mantra that Michelle Obama stated because “WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO HIGH.”