In America, We Never Give Up
By Sonu Durgappa (Nova High School Student)
I was alone when I found out who became president. My mother, although physically present, was sleeping on the couch while I watched the votes come in. My initial reaction, like many others, was denial. I remember shaking my head in disbelief. At the moment, it seemed surreal, but it hit me when I saw panic on my Twitter feed. The people on my feed seemed to have taken my fears and made them tweets. And then the tears came. My close friends and I exchanged snapchats with swollen, wet faces.
“There is no hope”
This was the only thing I could manage to say to them. This was the only thing I believed at the time.
As I was trying to understand the phrase “President-elect Donald Trump”, I realized the more immediate fear.
Not only was the idea of a thin-skinned Trump being commader-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world terrifying, but also what his rhetoric did. He mobilized the racists, misogynists, and rapists of this country and gave them a space of their own, telling them that their hate is okay. That, somehow, its reasonable to think less of someone if they’re not like them or don’t meet their moral code. He gave them comfort in their beliefs and now, its okay to go as far as violence for their beliefs. As an Indian-American, I felt shackled-down by this realization. I began to feel as if my voice didn’t matter. I felt like no matter what I would accomplish, I would only be seen as a woman of color; a second-class citizen of Trump’s America. All I could think about was how much social progress has been thrown out the window. The last time I was called a terrorist was in seventh grade and now, I probably wouldn’t be surprised if someone was waiting at my door to say that to me in the morning. I felt the liberty this country promised me slipping through my fingers by force. Besides, what is freedom when you’re scared to leave your house?
I also thought of my family. I was grateful for the fact that my grandfather, who is a turban-wearing Sikh, wasn’t currently in the country. I feared for his safety. I told my Muslim aunt, who is currently in Pakistan and planning on returning home, to not come back in spite of missing her terribly. I felt like it would be a safe choice. It pains me to have to be thankful for their absence.
With this weight on my chest, I woke up Wednesday morning without the mental strength to get out of bed. I couldn’t move. I remembered who’s being inaugurated in January and I began to cry again. I was completely hopeless. I didn’t want to leave the house, so I stayed home in bed.
As time went on, I began to find security amongst people who felt the same after the election. I watched how the whole nation was reacting on social media and I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one scared for their well-being and the well-being of others. Messages of hope and love spread quickly during the post-election time. For a solid two days, I found my Twitter feed filled with love to the LGBTQ community, Muslims, people of color, women, and really anyone who was afraid of the election’s results. Tweets told people to never give up, to not be satisfied with what America had just handed us and that we can fight back, we have a voice. This is where I regained hope— Social Media. In the midst of this emotional moment for the whole country, there are people unwilling to give up the fight for equality. I was comforted by the thought that no matter what happened politically in the country there are people here, wanting, wishing and fighting to make sure everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, or race, can have a voice and be heard. In America, we never give up, even when the odds don’t seem to be in our favor.