Election day has come and gone, and if your social circle is anything like mine, a lot of people you know are less than happy with the results. Donald Trump, a man who has been blasted in the media for months now for his racist, sexist, and xenophobic comments towards latin people, black people, Muslims, and especially women, is our President-elect and will be our 45th President come January.
I stayed up to watch the end of the election despite having a paper due that night and having work at 8AM the next morning. I didn’t think I could stand waking up and hearing first thing in the morning that Donald Trump was going to be my next president. Upon hearing the news, I immediately thought about my close friends who are immigrants and how it may pour salt on their wounds and those of their families.
Although America’s decision really toyed with my emotions, I quickly reminded myself that there is nothing we can do about it now. We all (hopefully) voted, and although the choice was clear to us, other parts of America spoke louder. Despite his hate speech, unprofessionalism, a “successful” company with a foundation of bailouts and rip-offs, and a track record free of any political experience that can qualify him to hold office, the majority of this country thought he was our best option as leader. But as much as it hurts to say that out loud, we have to live with it and we will.
Accepting this truth made me remember something else: America really hasn’t changed that much. Sure we’ve had a ton of legislature in the past 60 years that has opened doors for African Americans, but this election proved that there are so many Americans have not changed their hearts over the generations and still believe irrational hate towards people for their beliefs, values, or color of their skin is a political stance. We fought to elect the first black president back in 2008, yet still, during his presidency, there was reason to start a movement called “Black Lives Matter.”
Since the election, the more left-wing news outlets and tabloids have been covered in reports of hate crimes and hate speech from Trump supporters, ranging from anti-muslim vandalism to even spray painted swastikas in playgrounds. And this is all scary of course, but newsflash: racism is a thing in America. It didn’t start with Trump’s presidency, or Obama’s for that matter. Racism has been here for hundreds of years. The only difference now is we can put an orange-tinted face to it. Racism and other bigoted actions have always been an issue in this country and surely cannot be solved in 4 or 8 years.
So, why the clickbait-y title you ask? Well, like I said, racism isn’t something new, yet we pretend it is as soon as someone with power says something racist. There is a constant need to organize and protest for equality of people of color, not just when Trump tells a supporter to punch a black man in the face, or even when a teenager gets shot by police. For as long as I’ve been following the modern day fight for equality, we’ve been going through a pattern: cop shoots unarmed black man, protests arise, property gets damaged & someone might get killed, protests die down, period of silence, cop shoots an unarmed black man again, and so on. People who practice racist behavior understand this cycle and anticipate it. Perhaps what we need now is a constant fuel for the fire, and as much as I hate to say it, Donald Trump might be that fuel. Maybe having a bigot like Trump as the leader of our country will help us organize for the long term. Maybe we need a constant stimulus to fight against. Maybe 4-8 years of seeing a reason to be fed up can help us all to see how messed up this country can be and feel the need to do something about it.
I work in a physical therapy office right now. One of the most important things I’ve learned is the best way to progress in your therapy is to be consistent. We’ve been going through a cycle of very intense exercises of our will for short bouts of time, but after a while, we stop hitting the gym, until the next wave of motivation hits us to get back at it. If we’re serious, we need to be gym rats about this. Staying informed, sparking conversations, talking to our officials, organizing, whatever it takes.
Of course there are people who are taking these steps and I have 100% respect for them because I know I myself am not living that lifestyle, but I’m talking to the masses right now. We’re in a terrible situation, I get it. Trump is definitely not planning on doing us any favors, but we can definitely do something big as a community that has been pleading for help for so long. It’s gonna be yuge.