What America said

Matt Firpo

Opinion Editor

Last week I watched America speak its mind, and a dialogue has erupted as the upset of President-elect Donald Trump overcame the efforts of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016.

As I’ve grown up, I have watched elections come and go, and I have always remembered how I watched my parents follow elections. As I grew older, they taught me to consider what I admired in each candidate and to vote for whom I believed in.

I feel that when a vote is cast, a statement is made. You believe that that candidate is an individual who is suited for the office of the presidency and can lead in the executive office of our democracy.

Such an office is devoted to serving the people because it was chosen by the people.

Last week I saw what people wanted, and I became scared.

Never have I been scared after an election. Never have I been afraid of an election where emotions on both sides have been stoked into raging fires, and hundreds upon hundreds of fearmongering articles  around the internet spreading woe and terror.

Never did I feel afraid that I was not welcome in my own country.

I know that our government is based on the representation of the people and that a diversity of opinions and thoughts can help guide our government toward creating law and order that benefits all people in this nation.

In this current state, I do not feel that this current government is fighting for my representation. I fear that rather, it is working against me.

That fear may seem irrational. Politicians say whatever they can to get elected.

It’s pretty obvious that’s exactly what Donald Trump did to get into office. He’s already begun backpedaling on issues that he made bold statements on during the election, such as the infamous border wall.

The problem is that this rhetoric was based on good, old-fashioned hatred that isn’t healthy or acceptable.

I do not in any way want to make the assertion that voting for Trump means that his supporters are all racist, homophobic, xenophobic or misogynistic.

I know many Trump supporters who are friends and family who are understanding, hardworking and intelligent people who want a better future for America just like I do.

My fear is the doubt that such a future is open to all Americans.

My fear is that in the cry for a new kind of leadership, a demand for radical change, that there is no room for women, people of color, people of other religions or nationalities, the disabled or the LGBTQ+ community.

When Trump was elected, the silent majority spoke out. They were tired.

The majority was supportive of a system that has historically supported the middle and wealthy classes but also excluded many individuals from that narrative. They were tired because it has changed during the current administration, instead focusing its efforts on being inclusive and benefiting every member of this country.

At what point did it become acceptable to put individual success before the needs of minorities that are actively discriminated against?

I honestly am not scared that Trump himself will be a terrible leader. I believe our government is responsible and will support him in efforts to better the country as a whole.

I am terrified of the people that have been emboldened in their prejudices who think that their good, old-fashioned hate is an acceptable way to treat fellow citizens in this day and age.

My fear also comes from everyone offended by this. Because when it comes to the point where I’m discriminated against based on my sexuality, how can I trust that the silent majority will even care?

It seems awfully insensitive to say that these fears don’t matter when these fears don’t even apply to the silent majority.

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