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State of the union: road to disunion?

Mary Ammon, Guest Contributer

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In light of the results of the recent election, the hatred in the United States of America has reached an almost all-time high. President-elect Donald Trump ran his campaign purely on a supremacist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and ultimately racist ticket. Now, even though he definitely lost the popular vote, the American people must deal with the hatred to come in the next four years.

According to USAToday, the spike in hate crimes after the election surpasses the number of Islamophobic crimes after 9/11. They also state that crimes against black Americans resemble those from the Jim Crow era. A country that just came off eight years of the first black president is reverting to the days of the Jim Crow era.

As if the hostility among adults were not bad enough, now, children are regurgitating what they hear from their parents. Black children are being told to go to the back of the bus, and Latino children experience others tormenting them of the “wall.” Is this what children need to hear: that they don’t matter to others because of their ethnicity or race? Is this the world that they will inherit?

My brother has autism and, although I am a pacifist through and through, I would seriously take someone down if they so much as gave him a judgy look. So, you can only imagine my reaction to Trump’s “impression” of a reporter with a disability. Furious does not even begin to describe my reaction. Somehow, I forgot about it, as I was convinced that this nation would somehow leave it’s ableism behind.

When commercial ads began to air closer to the election, I realized that the possibility of a world where people found it acceptable to mock him. My heart was broken when a pro-Hillary commercial played. It depicted a mother of a child with autism, explaining how repulsive she found Trump flailing his arms to be, which is a typical movement for people on the autism spectrum. I immediately turned to a loved one, and asked what she thought of this commercial. She had no words, and her silence, and later her vote, expressed to me that this was not a big deal to her.

My biggest fear for the next four years, until my brother is 12, is that people will mock him, and then justify it by using the words of the president. Imagine a world where your loved ones are mocked for something that already challenges them, then it’s justified by your leader.

Perhaps one of the most jarring of Trump’s remarks to many is his “grab her by the pu—” statement. Before the release of these tapes, the child and marital rape, sexual assault allegations weren’t really brought into the limelight. Although he had said horrific things about women previously to his admittance of sexual assault, his dismissive attitude caused many to realize that this was the world in which they were living. A man who admitted to sexual assault not only got away with it, but encouraged a culture of rape, and later was elected president of the most powerful country.

A dear friend of mine is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant. Throughout the election, we would joke about all of the hateful things Trump said. Admittedly, I thought it was pretty funny, because I didn’t believe that someone who was running for president could be that heinous. But, once it got closer to election day, I began to realize how truly hurtful the hate he spewed was. Trump didn’t care if what he said hurt anyone, or what his followers did in his name.

One day at lunch, she started to cry, asking why her people didn’t deserve the same rights and respect as everyone else does. I was shook to the bone. This was my best friend, and we had been for five years. We did everything together, and to me, she and her family we just like mine: Americans who deserved everything this country had to offer. I couldn’t believe that our peer and fellow citizens view her as less of a human, simply because of her skin and culture.

This country was built upon a group of people who stood up for what they knew was right, even though they knew it could cost them their lives. With the majority of the country in uproar, we need to remember that our disunity will get us nowhere. Only as one, united people, can we bring love and acceptance back to this country. Let’s make America love again.

 

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The student news site of Geneva Community High School in Geneva, Illinois
State of the union: road to disunion?