My mom always told me to be proud that I was born in the United States. Yes, this country has its issues, she said, but there is no other country with this many options for a girl, for a person of color.
Nov. 8, as we listened to the results of the 2016 presidential election, was the first time I have ever heard her say otherwise. The radio blasts yet another state gone red, another state for Trump. I see tears brimming in her eyes as she begins to yell about the stupification of the American public by popular TV and media. “This country isn’t ready for a female president,” she tells me.
I scroll back through Facebook and see post after post of pictures captioned #imwithher and #grabhimbytheballot. I see girls, my friends, of all races — Asian, Latina, Black, Caucasian, mixtures, blends — carrying “Let’s Make History” signs and pointing to the “I Voted” stickers on their chests.
We were supposed to see the first woman president. We didn’t. I remember their proud smiles earlier in the day and hope they won’t fade. I hope that the next generation of women still continues to believe we deserve to be represented in government alongside white heterosexual men.
I can’t help feeling glad that I can pass for Caucasian. Is this the country we live in now?
Fortunately, eight years ago we were able to see the first African-American president and at least fathom the possibility of a female president. I hold faith that this will lead us in the right direction. But, I wonder, what will happen to the generation growing up during Trump’s presidency? Will they ever be able to see a person of color in the White House, a woman in the White House?
Not when the majority of this country votes otherwise.
Tonight is the first time I myself have really felt ashamed to say I was born in the United States. Trump’s victory is a middle finger in my face telling me to go back to where my parents came from, a Star of David on my shirt telling everyone around me to spit in my face, a groping by a man on the bus abusing his power over my small, female form.
I turn on the news and see yet another assault on a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, yet another slew of racist attacks on minorities captioned #TrumpsAmerica.
I feel a surge of relief that I live in California, where the anti-Trump protests outweigh the instances of hate violence. But, still, I can’t help feeling glad that I can pass for Caucasian. Is this the country we live in now?
It’s hard not to feel that half of this country hates me because my parents are immigrants, that half of this country wants me deported, that half of this country wants me sexually assaulted on the street. Did they know what they were voting for? That they were voting for a wall of heterosexual white male Christian privilege?
I understand that the other side, the Trump supporters, feel like they are already living behind a wall of a different sort, like their voices are not being heard under the Obama administration. I understand why the blue collar working classes of this country want to “make America great again” and see Trump as an answer to their problems.
Trump’s victory is a a Star of David on my shirt telling everyone around me to spit in my face.
But it pains me that the only way they know how to “make America great again” is by targeting anyone who fails to fit the mold. By trampling on the beautiful rainbow of diversity in our country. By silencing the voices of millions of individuals who came to this country to find freedom and acceptance. By allowing hate to trump love.
I think of my friends, a gorgeous array of individuals of varying genders, sexual orientations, religions, races, and abilities. Each one of them brings something unique to this country, something inspiring, something that will advance our nation. It saddens me that half of this country chooses not to see that.
I honestly want to believe there is somewhere else I can go, somewhere else we minorities can go. I want to believe that Trump will be impeached before he yells “screw this” and tears our Constitution to shreds. I want to believe that our other government leaders are sane enough to constrain him before he pushes the button and unleashes a nuclear war.
But I am beginning to lose faith in this country. I ask myself over and over again: “Where else can I succeed but in the United States?” To this, I have no answer.