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Staton: The Wednesday things changed

November 15, 2016

Wednesday morning should have been, and should have felt like, any regular old Wednesday morning. The sun still rose. The Earth still spun on its axis. The leaves still fell from the trees in the beautiful fashion that is autumn.

 

But for me, and many of us who don’t fit into the perfect little white box that is the majority of the country, Wednesday morning felt a little colder, a little darker, a little sadder and a whole lot more unsafe. Because on Wednesday morning, the minorities of this country — the so-called ‘little people’ whose voices you so rarely hear and rarely receive the attention and respect they deserve — found out, to their dismay, that the next commander-in-chief of this country would be Donald Trump.

 

Wednesday morning — as a disabled female with many black friends, many Arab friends, a black boyfriend and a few transgender and bisexual friends — I woke up and cried. I woke up on this particular Wednesday morning, which should have felt like any other Wednesday morning, to the realization that half of this country didn’t care about me. And that was the single loneliest hour I have felt in my life.

 

I felt lonely because my entire family voted for this man: someone whose entire campaign trail has been ablaze with horrible misogynistic, homophobic and racist commentary; referred to illegal immigrants as rapists; beauty queens as ugly, housekeeping pigs; and flat-chested women as being all the more difficult to find attractive. A man who openly mocked a disabled reporter on national television and who selected a running mate that openly supports conversion therapy for the LGBTQ community, instead of simply respecting and accepting this community for the people that they are.

 

My heart is truly broken by the comments of Mr. Trump and the results of this election, even days after its announcement. I feel as if a part of the faith I held in the genuine benevolence of people as a whole has died. I feel scared for myself and for the people I hold near and dear to me. Most of all, I am genuinely afraid knowing that even if Mr. Trump himself doesn’t specifically act upon the terrible things he has said, he has succeeded in opening up a platform for those to act upon who really do think that immigrants are rapists, that grabbing women by their genitals and physically and verbally degrading them is an acceptable and okay thing to do, that referring to minority groups of people with insulting racial slurs and mocking the handicapped and LGBTQ community is normal.

 

I implore you all who read this to refuse to accept this sort of behavior. Do not become complacent. Do not let your feelings of uneasiness and unwelcomeness be made normal. You deserve to feel safe, respected and appreciated regardless of who or what you are or where you come from. Do not let Mr. Trump, or those who may support him or his commentary, to deprive you of your right to openly be the person that you are in a country that prides itself so much upon the notion of freedom.

But above all, do not allow your hurt, your anger and your bitter feelings to overshadow the one remaining thing that has the ultimate power to bond us all together in the fight for what is right. That remaining thing is love. I know that right now, it is hard to do. But we must strive to treat every human being from every walk of life with the love and respect that they deserve as a person and to love and cherish our country and each other even when both may fall short in doing the same to us.

 

It has been several days now since the most controversial election in United States history and I am still at a loss for words. I’m deeply pained and afraid for this country and those of us in it, and I’m frightened as to what will become of us — all of us as a whole — especially if we can’t learn to truly love one another in spite of our varying degrees of difference. This election has troubled me to the very core of my being. It has made me question many things about our country and about mankind in general.

 

However, there are a few things that I do know. I do know that I truly do hope, for the sake of every human being in this country, that Mr. Trump acts for the benefit and well-being of his citizens. I truly hope he proves me wrong and he can prove himself to be a good and caring leader.

 

I do know that I still love all of mankind and believe in its benevolence and the ability to do and be good. If you cast your vote for Mr. Trump last week, please know and understand that I would still take up arms at your side, to fight in pursuit of what is right. I do know that there is good and decency in this world, and that I have been blessed to see a tiny glimpse of God everywhere I’ve been.

 

I do know that I am so incredibly sorry for those who have ever experienced the sting of racism, sexism, religious prejudice, hate speech, homophobia and any sort of language or action in which they have felt victimized and dehumanized. As a white female who grew up with privilege in many respects, I was fortunate enough not to have to experience any of this directly or on a large scale. Now that I am disabled, and am looked down upon by the president elect, I am able to do more than simply empathize with these struggles that so many have faced; I am now able to understand because I find myself in the same boat. And I promise to stick out that ride with all of you, no matter how bumpy it may prove. Our boat will not sink.

 

Callie Staton is a third-year Law and Social Thought major and one of the IC’s copy editors.

 

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