We Will be Passionate, We Will be Heard
By Teddy Waszazak (Salem State Undergraduate)
As a historian, and as a political junkie, this election was fascinating to watch; a political upset not seen since the end of World War II elected a man who has neither political nor military experience to the highest office of either field. States which have been in the Democrats pocket since the Reagan Revolution flipped, and the entire electoral map has been rewritten. The national conversation has been rewritten too. Rather than measured conversation and careful debate, commentators will now be justified to interrupt their peers with a charismatic shout of “WRONG!” every time they disagree; why not? The President does it.
What is dangerous about Donald Trump is not his policy. He is a moderate republican at best, and has throughout his life has generally leant liberal in social terms. What is dangerous, and what I began to see immediately, was the rhetoric which Donald Trump is already beginning to resurrect. In an election year which almost yielded the first female President, a man who desires to grab women by their genitals takes the oval office. Phrases, insinuations, and expressions which, even two weeks ago, were unacceptable in a civilized conversation will now be the civilized conversation
I cannot express enough how much the idea of a “Trumpian America” terrifies me. I am not afraid of whatever law he proposes which gets lost in the mire of Washington Committees and fades into the abyss. I’m afraid that the man who launched the birther movement is now going to be sitting in Barack Obama’s seat. I’m afraid that a man who goes on trial next month for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, with sexual assault allegations piling up faster than the national debt, may be a role model for a generation of children. I’m afraid that children from California to Florida will have to go to bed afraid that their parents may be taken away in the middle of the night, for the “crime” of living on the wrong side of an imaginary line without the proper paperwork. I fear for all of my LGBTQ friends, and I sympathize with them, for now they’ll have to hear “Faggot” or “Dyke” even more than they already had to. I fear for Hispanic children in schools, who will now be asked if their Moms and Dads are “Drug-Dealing Rapists”. I fear for all the women who will be “Grabbed”, or be told that they cannot hold a certain job unless they are “beautiful enough”. I have had struggles in my life, and I have worked hard to get where I am. But I am privileged, and I am afraid now that every individual who does not share this privilege will be shunned rather than get the love, support, understanding and assistance they need.
I am afraid. But as fear evolves, it becomes passion. The fear of discrimination against the LGBTQ community is simply a passion for equality. The fear of hate crimes against Muslims demonstrates a passion for love. The fear of a man with no experience being President is a clear and loud cry of passion for activism, involvement, and volunteering. The fear of people having their voting rights restricted shows a passion for civic engagement, and the fear of citizens becoming trapped in a broken criminal justice system dictates a passion for truth. Brothers and Sisters, Friends, Activists, Progressives; That fear you have in your hearts now is the ultimate good. That fear is going to lead us into a future that is full of love, embracement, acceptance and education. We are fearful because we are passionate. We are passionate because we love. And we love because we are human.
I urge you all to unite in this passion, to come together at a time when so many feel alone and helpless. We are a generation that despite all of our faults, despite all of our disadvantages and weaknesses, looks to the future never with pessimistic certainty, but with optimistic hope. While I fear the Trumpian America, I take solace in the fact that the next four years will bring together people of different race, religion, age, and gender to ensure that this is not permanent. We will come together to denounce hateful rhetoric, and raise each other up in love and friendship. We will use our fear of hate to bring love, and our fear of war to bring peace. We will use all of the passions that are surging through our veins to ensure that 50 years from now there will be no more hate crimes. There will be no more war, no more bombs, no more sexual assault. No more brutality, no more hatred. We will love. We will be passionate. We will be heard.
I look forward to the midterm elections in 2018.