A Vote for Donald Trump: The Wrong Reasons
y Eric Allen Ramsey (Undergraduate student from Dallas, TX)
To me, the worst thing is not Donald Trump winning the presidency. To me, a gay man, the worst thing is not even that Mike Pence is his vice-president. No, to me, the worst thing is the fact that so many voted for Donald Trump for the wrong reasons.
As a naturally positive person, I strive to see the inherent good in everyone, but throughout Donald Trump’s campaign I found it increasingly difficult to see any sort of decency in him or his message. I do not necessarily believe that he meant every single thing he said upon the campaign trail but I do think that, as a show man, his biggest priority was finding and keeping an audience, which he did. But at what cost? Over the course of his campaign, we watched him continuously stigmatize minorities by calling Mexicans “rapists,” by spreading the lie that Muslim-Americans openly celebrated 9/11, and by continuously making disparaging remarks against women, all of which brought no real consequence. And for whatever reason, despite his many, many misgivings, his message resonated with millions of Americans. I desperately wish I could make myself believe that they all truly believe that Trump will indeed “make America great again,” but I can’t.
Over the course of the last couple of days, I’ve seen people I grew up with, who I thought I knew, openly call for “throwing Mexicans over the wall,” and to “finally bomb the hell out of those Muslims.” And it breaks my heart because this only serves to prove to me what I feared all along: a great majority of Americans did not vote for Trump because they believe he will change anything but rather because he does not condemn their words or actions and instead encourages and even partakes in them himself. The bigots, racists, misogynists, homophobes, islamophobes and xenophobes of this country have found a man who they can rally to without fear of consequence. He is their president. We are expected to fall in line with this man and hope for the best. We are expected to believe that all of the things he said upon the campaign trail were just empty words. But the problem is, to millions of Americans, they are far more than just empty words. Those words cut and they damage and they instill fear and help to foster a sense of alienation.
Are we to truly believe that this man and his rhetoric will unite us? What about the upswing in racially motivated attacks of late? Like the students who wrote “Trump” the door to a prayer room for Muslims at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. Or the group of white middle school students in Michigan who cornered a group of latino students chanting “build a wall.” Are we expected to unite in the face of these disgusting acts of hate? Bullying in schools is on the rise, and though it has always been a problem, Trump has done nothing to condemn these senseless and depraved acts. Therefore, he enables it and that is just as bad.
We are now more divided than ever and without proper, JUST leadership, that divide will only deepen. But to those people that are genuinely terrified, to those people who are hurt by the man we allowed to become elected, I can only offer four words: I am with you. In the coming days, in the coming months, and over the course of these next four years, I will be with you.
We may be scared, we may be angry, but now is the time that we allow our compassion and our love to shine through. We stand, we unite, and we refuse to back down. We will stare down hate and we will overcome. It is time to tell this country, and the rest of the world, that hatred does not stand a chance. When push comes to shove, we shove back harder than they ever thought we were capable of. If you see hate happening, take a stand. Do not be afraid. Be strong, be courageous, be compassionate.
In solidarity, I am with you all.