A letter to America

Because Trump did not “win” his position. He was given this position. The American people gave it to him. And that is what gives me chills.

Dear America,

I am so sorry.

I remember in elementary school, when I held my hand to my heart and pledged my allegiance to the United States of America. You were such an ideal to me then. You seemed so fair, so perfect, an embodiment of open arms and acceptance. But I came to realize that the people that make up our country are not perfect and there are a lot of things I learned in kindergarten that these people sometimes forget. For instance, not everyone abides by the “golden rule” because when I started learning about slavery and the struggles of women’s rights and the struggles of LGBQT and the struggles of “fill in the blank,” I realized that people do not treat others how they want to be treated. I learned that sharing doesn’t always play out in adult life. Even my parents, one of which grew up in the Projects, a government funded housing service, often complain that they don’t want to share their hard-earned money with those in need. I was also taught not to touch others without permission. And yet, stories of rape on the news reveal that the world does not obey these rules, and I am incredibly saddened by that. I think Americans needs to go back to kindergarten. When a talented, qualified, and intelligent woman loses to an unqualified and overconfident man for the presidency of the United States, we need to step back take a contemplative look inside ourselves.

I am sorry, America, that Lady Liberty stands on our shoreline as a beacon of hope, and yet her gender is devalued and her symbolism is losing its relevance. Perhaps America’s symbol of liberty should have been a man. Because people clearly don’t like women in positions of importance. Americans are not ready for a female president. Instead, they chose the man that encourages rape culture, that sees women as objects of beauty, or if not, of ugliness. A man that brags to the world about her daughter’s hotness. My father brags about his daughters. But he does not tell others that my sister and I are hot, that I have a nice body or a pretty face. He tells others that my sister and I are successful intelligent young women. Unfortunately, there are men like my father and there are men like Trump, who believe all women are perpetually forced to live in a beauty pageant and should be constantly judged as such. I will never forget the day my boss told me I was only there because I was a pretty face. The way I felt that day, through the sweat of working a 10-hour shift in the sweltering Texas heat, is how I feel today.

When Hitler said “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think,”I used to believe that he was wrong. People have brains and hearts and they will use them. Now. I am not so sure.

America, I am sorry that I am somehow unsurprised that Clinton lost to Trump. Women always have to work twice as hard as their under qualified male counterparts for less reward. I have seen it in my own life. The wage difference is real. The difference in workplace treatment is real. Women have always been socially stigmatized as sneaky and must go to more lengths than any man to prove themselves worthy. After all, Didn’t Eve trick Adam into eating that apple? No one trusts a woman, especially not with the responsibility of an entire country. This election is a symbolic perpetuation of so much that is wrong with our society.

I am sorry, America, that citizens voted to support rape culture. Rape does not begin in the bedroom. It begins with a look or with a word. A whistle. A “Nice ass,” murmured as you run past. It starts with locker room talk, even if this “locker room talk” is actually uttered at work in a professional environment, as in Trump’s case. As a competitive runner, I often have to head out alone late at night. It’s scary because I never know if I will become the next victim on the morning news, if the drunken man staggering behind me is going to suddenly turn and grab me. Do men know that on these night runs, my heart is always in my throat with anxiety? That when they throw crude comments at me, I worry that the situation will escalate?

I am sorry, America, that the public continues to prove that professional women must tread on eggshells while excuses should be made for the blunders of boys. Because when a man makes a mistake, blow it off. It’s always just locker room talk. Boys will be boys. A man rapes an unconscious woman? Let’s not punish him too harshly because, as Dan Turner wrote, “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” Women are meant to be grabbed by the pussy by successful and overconfident men. Trump’s success is the success of men that have been dehumanizing myself and other women since the dawn of time.

I am sorry, America, that after a history of considering itself an oasis for the “poor and huddled masses,” the people voted to construct a wall. That all immigrants have been tainted as rapists and drug dealers. I am sorry that the American people are hypocrites, and your golden door is soon to be boarded up, replaced by the opposing symbolism of a wall. Let them build that wall so maybe they can keep their ignorance and bigotry contained, their hatred withheld from spilling out into the world.

I am sorry, America, that some emails and a sense of “dishonesty” were enough to allow a bumbling idiot into the White House. I am sorry that those that voted Trump because Clinton seemed “dishonest” don’t realize that they voted for someone with incredibly worse values and judgment.

I am sorry that Americans no longer want to keep moving towards equality and acceptance and prefer a nation that moves backwards, that chases the shadow of the past as an excuse for their hatred. I am sorry, because I know  it took a lot of hard work and hard-fought battles, to forge the nation we live in. It is unfortunate that some prefer to live in the past and tread on their previous footsteps instead of blazing new trails.

I was hoping today would be a day I would recount to my future children as the day that proved women can be presidents, that America still stands for openness, love, and acceptance. But instead of telling them about November 8th, 2016 as a symbol of the triumph of equality and intelligence over xenophobia and ignorance, I will be telling them about the night that the very person symbolizing the opposite of everything America should stand for, was chosen by the people. How will I ever teach my future children to live by the rules of kindergarten if our country praises those that break them? They chose the man who, despite being filthy rich, boasts about not paying his taxes. Who apparently touches women without permission. Who believes banning entire religions from the country is justified. When Hitler said “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think,”I used to believe that he was wrong. People have brains and hearts and they will use them. Now. I am not so sure.

I am sorry, America, because you had to sit back and watch the people cast their votes against everything you symbolize. This idea, more than anything, is keeping me awake at night. Because Trump did not “win” his position. He was given this position. The American people gave it to him. And that is what gives me chills.

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