In the days following the election, I felt like I was watching some kind of crazy TV drama every time I checked the news or walked across campus. I heard about elementary school kids telling their Hispanic, Latinx, and Middle Eastern classmates horrible things, I saw videos of people getting beaten in the streets over who they voted for, I watched protesters take to the streets bearing signs that were aggressive, personal attacks against Melania Trump and others who really had nothing to do with the election or why these people were angry. I saw so much hate and fear that it really started to affect me in a way that I didn’t expect. I was among those who were scared by our country’s choice of a leader. I fear for myself and for those I care about who fall into the groups whose rights our president elect has threatened. But honestly, I’m more scared of the people walking down the street than I am of any upcoming legislation. I’m scared of the person who would rip a hijab off of a woman’s head in a grocery store and tell her to hang herself with it. I’m scared of the parents who teach their children that it’s okay to tell their classmates that Trump will send them back to Mexico. I’m scared of anyone who would physically attack others over a difference in political opinions.
I’ve seen so many people take their fear and anger and use it to justify treating others in horrible ways. It’s a mistake that humanity has made again and again throughout history, and it has never ended well. I get why people are scared, some fear the loss of their rights, others fear the current economic conditions, and others simply fear the uncertainty of the current state of the world. But none of this justifies treating others as less than human. These displays of hatred scare me more than anything else right now – more than the economy, the loss of my rights, or the state of the world. They encourage the same fear and hatred in others; they generate a cycle of choices and behaviors that will not fix anything. It won’t fix any of the sources of fear, and it won’t make the world a better place. It only hurts people.
I know there is a lot more behind these events and in peoples’ lives than what I’ve talked about here, but this is what I’ve seen around me over the course of the last couple weeks. I’m only aiming to understand and express my own feelings about these events.