America, We Need to Talk

As a young queer kid in middle school in New York during George W. Bush's presidency, everyday after 9/11, I felt unsafe. As a young queer kid in high school, when George W. Bush proposed his constitutional ban on marriage equality, I felt personally unprotected.  Over the last eight years, I've taken for granted the safety and security I have felt during the Obama administration. Today I feel like the bottom has fallen out. Today, as a former international affairs student, I am scared that Trump will buck NATO and allow Russian expansion into the Baltic states. Today I am scared that Trump will undermine the international norm of nuclear non-proliferation and encourage our Middle-Eastern and Pacific allies to develop their own nuclear weapons leading to a global nuclear arms race. Today I am scared that Trump will play directly into the hands of ISIS by antagonizing Muslims worldwide. Today I am scared that Trump will escalate US involvement in Syria and embroil the country in a proxy war.

Today, as a trans woman, I am personally heartbroken that my country has elected a president who has pledged to sign a law that would in effect be North Carolina’s HB2 nationwide. Today I am personally heartbroken that President-Elect Donald Trump has the backing of both chambers of congress and therefore has a blank check to pass discriminatory domestic policies. Today I am personally heartbroken that President-Elect Donald Trump will likely get the chance to nominate at least two Supreme Court Justices, plunging the Obergefell v. Hodges decision into doubt, and potentially allowing for the highest court in our land to find anti-LGBTQ laws as constitutional.

America, we need to talk.

We need to talk about systemic racism and casual racism. We need to talk about white resentment stoked by the election of our first black president and how many of those voters saw Donald Trump as their savior; a man who began his political career with racist comments about President Obama, and began his presidential campaign with bigoted comments about Mexicans.

We need to talk about white male ownership and the idea that a good portion of the electorate felt so rattled by the power and rise of minorities in this country.

We need to talk about the manufacturing jobs that have left this country, leaving mostly white blue collar men in the dust with no industry to replace the one that is not coming back thanks to technological advances, and how Democrats have failed to properly address this concern, only showing up once every four years to try to get their votes.

We need to talk about the fear of 'the other' and the bunker mentality that has settled over the electorate in the face of the threat of terrorism, and how a reactionary strongman was viewed as more of an attractive savior than a measured competent politician who understands that to fight terrorism at home and abroad, we need our Muslim allies.

We need to talk about patriarchy, and how perhaps the most unqualified candidate ever to run for president was looked at as a legitimate choice next to the woman who was perhaps our most qualified.

We need to talk about how the electorate found the male candidate who was rated by politifact as the most dishonest politician in modern American history as more trustworthy than his female opponent, rated as the second most honest candidate in this entire election cycle (only bested by Governor John Kasich).

We need to talk about how bragging about sexual assault did nothing to sway the electorate.

We need to talk about how the media cared more about the horse race and false equivalency than actually covering the race.

But most of all, we need to have courage. Liberal white-straight-cis-men, us minorities need you more than ever. We need our allies to step up and in in the days ahead.

In the words of Hillary Rodham Clinton; the First Lady who this young trans kid so admired as an example of a strong fierce woman, the New York senator who calmed me after 9/11, the presidential candidate who inspired me in 2008, the Secretary of State who repaired this country's reputation abroad, and the first female nominee of a major party:

"Fear is always with us but we just don't have time for it. Not now."

America, we need to talk, because we have a lot of work to do.

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