I don’t know if I have the words in me right now to write about this thoughtfully and coherently, but I’ll try.
Staying up and watching the election returns Tuesday night into Wednesday morning was difficult. It was difficult for me, as a political leftist and radical, as a believer in social justice movements, as someone who cares deeply about issues of poverty and climate change (two topics barely touched upon in the media coverage of this campaign). In some ways, it hearkened back to the 2000 election, and feelings of outrage and disappointment I experienced then and thereafter during the Bush presidency.
But, although there are some comparisons to be made, in many ways this election result was much worse, at a whole new level. What has made it more difficult for me is thinking of my students, the hatred they see directed at them, and the fear they must feel. From words and actions of Trump himself, and also from the words and actions of his supporters at rallies. My black students, faced with a president-elect who courted and did not reject the support of the KKK and other white supremacist groups. My Latino students, called rapists and murderers by our president-elect. My Muslim students, who are told by Mr. Trump that their entire religion should be banned from entering the United States. My immigrant and refugee students, who feel unwelcome and fear deportation, due to many things said over the course of the campaign. My girls, who now face a president-elect who has evinced zero respect for women throughout the campaign and his career, and is famous for talking on tape about how he would/could sexually assault women.
Although I can imagine how it might feel for them, I do not actually know what it is like living in fear for one’s life or liberty or home that many of my students are probably feeling. Nor do I know the day-by-day degradation of being told your life doesn’t matter, that your rights don’t matter, that your body doesn’t have any rights that others are bound to respect. The fact that Trump has not only said all the horrible things he has said, but that he has encouraged violence from his supporters directed at non-supporters, and that he has normalized this kind of language, hatred, disrespect, and violent actions: this is what scares me most.
The Baltimore Sun interviewed students at my school on Wednesday, including one I teach, for an article on the election: “Immigrant communities fear deportation after election of Trump”