There is Enough Hate in this Country
By Maria Stanica
I am a Romanian-American. My parents came to America in their early twenties, starting with nothing and working themselves to the bone in order to obtain the life that they have now. I have always been immensely proud to be the daughter of two such incredible people. When I say that I am proud of being Romanian, I don’t see it so much as an allegiance to a country, but more so as an appreciation for my ancestry. My feelings towards being American are a different story.
I was born in Buffalo, New York, then moved to Montgomery, Alabama when I was one-year-old, and finally to Monterey, California when I was eight, where I have lived ever since. I have strongly felt that America has always and will always be my home, no matter what happens. Though I have no ancestors involved in shaping America into the country that it is today, the blood that runs in my veins is red, white, and blue. I love my country, and I feel a tremendous duty to do what I can to make sure that it stays intact.
When Trump announced that he was running, I was shocked. I paid no mind to him – surely he would not make it very far. I look back on this now, as he is our president-elect, and shake my head at how naïve I was. He continued to spew outrageous, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic nonsense, and I was certain at the time that no one would choose him as the Republican candidate. Again, I was wrong. The choice was presented: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I did not love Clinton, but I definitely felt more animosity towards Trump. It seemed like a simple choice for me, though I now realize that it was not so for others.
I have carelessly allowed myself to exist in a bubble. Living in California for the past eleven years has warped my view of our country. I assumed that everyone understands that all people should be equal, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, etc. I assumed that most people preach love and not hate. I assumed that our country was more united than it really was.
I currently attend UC Berkeley, which is notorious for being a mostly liberal school. Though I do not associate myself with any particular party, in this election I was swept up by the opinions of my strictly liberal classmates, and I believed that most people in the country felt the way that they did. When Trump was elected, everything went to hell. People were screaming out of dorm windows, others were sobbing, mobs and protestors paraded through the streets. I was deeply upset and frustrated by the news, but I was no longer shocked, as I had been when he was chosen as the Republican candidate. If Trump had made it this far, there had to be a lot of silent people supporting him, ashamed to speak out about their presidential choice.
I resent what Trump stands for. As a woman, I could never support him. As a daughter of immigrants, I could never support him. As an advocate for equality of all kinds, I could never support him. He has demoralized me, and I cannot stand to think what him being elected has done to the children of this country. They have woken up to see that a bully, a hatemonger, has been elected as America’s president. He has no prior experience and no good behavior, to put it mildly, but he still won. I guess it goes to show how unrealistic fairy tales are: sometimes, the villain wins. Despite my anger and frustration, I refuse to resort to hate at this point in time.
We cannot let hate win. I have seen posts about assassinating Trump, impeaching him, etc. By saying things like this, we are letting him win something even greater than the presidency; we are letting him succeed in making our country hateful in its very core. Instead of screaming at Trump supporters, genuinely ask them why they voted the way they did. This election is a wakeup call, informing us that a big part of our country is extremely unhappy. Unfortunately, this is the way that they felt that their voices could be heard. Whether or not that was right, it is done. Instead of using my fear and frustration in a hostile way, I am determined to channel my feelings into peaceful methods of making changes and keeping those around me safe. Let yourself feel the despair, anger, and grief and his presidency has brought on, but don’t let yourself perpetuate the cycle of hate.
I am deeply saddened that many of my friends now fear for their lives and the changes to come because of Trump and what he represents. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. are all spurred by fear turned into hatred, and those principles will never be acceptable. I will never tolerate them, and I am determined to use the privilege that I have to help the people around me in whatever way I can.
There is enough hate in this country, as we have seen from these results. People are more racist and xenophobic and sexist than we thought; either that, or those issues don’t matter as much to them compared to their other frustrations. This needs to be addressed. We do not need more animosity. We cannot let this election shatter our country. We are the United States of America, and by resorting to hate, we are letting Trump disunite us.