Dear Donald Trump: I am not the ‘other’

‘We cannot simply turn a blind eye to his words when they are directed at us’

As I sat at a moderately crowded Tallahassee bar and watched the election results unfold while playing a seemingly innocent game of election bingo, I realized the atmosphere in the room quickly changed from hopeful to fearful in the blink of an eye. As 1 a.m. rolled around and we watched state after state turn red for a man who has isolated, offended and lied to an incomprehensible number of people, I could not contain my sadness, anger or discontent.

I am a woman of color. I am a child of immigrants, an ally and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and a friend to Muslim and Mexican- Americans. A Trump presidency affects not only almost every facet of my life, but stands against everything that makes up who I am.

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I genuinely believe Donald Trump is only a small part of the problem we are currently facing within this country. Trump is nothing more than a figurehead — one who used our pre-existing divisions for his own gain and somehow sauntered his way straight into the White House.

The majority of my issues with Trump do not lie just with the man himself, but with the people who have turned a blind eye to half of this nation’s pleas for progress. They lie with those who believe the things he’s said and done are OK —  that it’s OK for him to say he grabs women by the pussy, OK for him to mock people with disabilities, discredit veterans of war and marginalize immigrants and the trans community.

My issue lies with the greater ideologies that stem from his words and actions — with the deep embedding of hate of the “other” that his rhetoric has set ablaze in the last year. In his eyes, my friends and family are the “other.” I am the “other.” We cannot simply turn a blind eye to his words when they are directed at us.

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To those who had the ability to vote for a third party because neither presidency would affect you: I am not angry with you, but I ask something of you now. First, that you recognize your privilege — a good majority of the people in my life cannot simply vote third party for the sake of maintaining “principle.” My black, Muslim, Mexican, gay, lesbian, transgender, and female friends and family do not have that privilege.

The second, that in your privilege, I ask you to stand by us. To denounce uproars of hate. To listen to those who are tired, angry, disappointed, and full of fear. To understand that ideology shapes policy, and we need you as allies now more than ever.

Donald J. Trump is our president elect. We must let that sobering fact sink in and come to terms with it. Whether it takes us a month or a year, we will eventually all have to accept him, and allow ourselves to push forward. We must understand that each and every citizen of this nation has a duty to one another — immigrants, people of color, women, our LGBTQ+ community — and that we cannot let our country move backwards in the face of suppression. The words of our president elect may have helped divide us, but we must come together now, as an integrated nation, and unite ourselves from within.

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Florida State University