I have an uncle who, on Facebook, essentially asked (I have to believe in earnest) why so many people are saying that they are “afraid” or “terrified” right now. I responded with the following, though I know it is not a comprehensive list. I’m scared about a lot of things that didn’t make it onto this list, and I’m sure, a great number of things I haven’t yet thought of. These are…just a few of the ones that I felt I could reach him with. So that’s where I have to start, I guess.
“A lot of people are very scared right now (myself included) because they are uncertain of their futures under a Trump presidency. We are worried about our security and safety, and about our friends’ security and safety. We knew that many of these injustices existed already and we were hopeful that our next president would put us on a trajectory to correct them, not make them worse. We are terrified, justifiably so, because racial, religious, and gender divides are already getting worse. People who used to keep their blatant racism hidden have emerged from the shadows with new fervor: “Our president ran a successful campaign on a racist platform, why can’t I say those things too?” Many people have already experienced a number of violent backlashes from people who supported Trump and his platform which began with an assertion that Mexicans are rapists and devolved into a call to ban Muslims from entering our nation and register the ones who are already here into a national database so that they may be monitored more closely than any other citizen. Trump was a candidate endorsed by the KKK and did not denounce is endorsement. Neo-Nazi groups rallied behind him. He did not condemn the platforms of these groups. Instead, he amplified their message–he shared their media with his supporters and encouraged them to share it too. In the last few hours, I have seen many pictures of racially-charged graffiti: by this, I mean people have painted swastikas on windows of businesses, written “Go back to Africa, N*****! Trump!” on bathroom walls inside schools, told black children they should sit in the back of the bus now that Trump’s in charge, shouted at a Latina NYT reporter talking to her daughter that she should “speak English.” In Champaign last night, a Muslim woman was threatened with a knife by a man in a Trump hat. We are terrified because even if we understand that we might not be targets of violence, we might not be able to protect our friends who will be.
We are, very literally, worried about how we will stay alive. I have a friend who is essentially uninsurable. He will die without reliable access to healthcare, and he cannot afford that access without the Affordable Care Act.
We are, like you, concerned about freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We are worried even more than we were before because a man who has campaigned on a promise to open up libel laws to sue journalists and threatened to jail his political opponents has just been elected to the highest office in the nation.
We are horrified that a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, then threatened to sue women who confirmed that what he had bragged about was indeed something he’d actually done, was not widely condemned by our country, but rather, emboldened. And for the record, 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. There is a good chance this has happened to women you know, women who might even be part of your family, and they just watched a known perpetrator become president-elect of our nation. Just for a moment, try to imagine how that feels.
We are worried about our economic future. We know the last 8 years was a slow climb, but it was a climb nonetheless. We were adding jobs to the economy for the last 71 straight months. And most experts agree that we’re about to lose a bunch of them again. And that middle-class wages are going to remain stagnant as we add another $5 trillion to our national debt under Trump’s tax plan. We were facing more debt with Clinton, too, but not anywhere near that amount.
We are terrified because the Islamic State (ISIS) is celebrating Trump’s victory. Because Russia is pleased with the outcome of this election. Terrorism is absolutely real, and I don’t know why they’d be celebrating a Trump victory if it wasn’t also a victory for them. We are a divided nation, and we are sincerely frightened that we’ll never be whole again.
We are scared because this was supposed to be our country, too. And now we’re not exactly sure we can trust our neighbors, because what if they don’t really care about us as much as we thought/hoped they did? Don’t for a second let anyone make you believe that we don’t love this country just as much as you do, or that we don’t care about the things you care about.”