I Am Scared and Sad, But I Will Not Back Down

By Jensen Soderlund (UT Austin Undergraduate)

I’ve spent the past few days exhausted, physically ill at the thought of what is to come for this country. I am tired of living in a nation that doesn’t respect me or my body, full of people who hate my dear friends and family members based on their sexuality, skin color, religious affiliations, or citizenship status. But I can’t say I’m surprised. At first, this election was a wake-up call for me, although after closer examinations, I realize that it shouldn’t have been. I have no right to feel shocked at the hatred that has won over the nation. It’s not as if it’s come out of nowhere. I see a lot of people, mostly those who are not fearing for their safety and their loved ones, talking about unity. Apparently, this election has been too divisive. I feel compelled to remind these people that since the birth of this nation, the population has been divided between those the country was built for and those it was built on the backs of. I don’t like seeing people equate pure hatred and bigotry with fear. I see people both crying and fighting for their rights as women, queer people, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and trans people. I also see people being attacked for identifying as one or more of the above. For hundreds of years, these people have been oppressed and hated by their country and fellow citizens. Now, their oppressors are more encouraged than ever to express their bigoted beliefs outright. I don’t want to hear one more person tell me to calm down, to stay positive, to have respect for the new administration. I am scared and I am sad, but I am not going to back down.