Chants of “this is what democracy looks like” echoed across 5th Avenue from strained throats on the night of 11/8/16 as thousands gathered in front of Donald Trump’s residence to show their disapproval of the president-elect. Standing directly in front of the tower which was, so fittingly, guarded by a line of NYC sanitation trucks, two temporary fences, and a shoulder-to-shoulder line of police officers, I couldn’t help but feel proud and disgusted, content and angry, love and hate all at once.
The crowd at my back was Hispanic. They were Caucasian. They were Black. Transgender. Gay. Female. More importantly, American. The police line was also a rainbow of gender and race; and as I stared into the eyes of the officer directly in front of me and mouthed “I’m sorry,” I could see that, while doing her job to keep the community safe and unruly, she too was sorry. Sorry that she was now protecting the man that many of those wearing blue voted against. Sorry that she had to stand in the freezing cold and pretend to care about someone who had insulted her as a woman, a Latina, and quite possibly on many more fronts.
Confusion set in as “love trumps hate” chants began to ring out with “New York hates Trump.” The dichotomy of love and hate residing in one space forced me to remain silent, yet present. The gatherers in the street were there to bring love and peace to the forefront, to release fear, to help people who don’t fit in. Yet one man, one very dark cloud of hate, began to rain down on them and love for the world quickly became hate for him. True, genuine, hate from so many who love so much.
Donald Trump is but one man, and “lite” supporters of him will be the first to tell you that the “little man with a loud mouth” is all talk and will simply shake politics up. While this may very well be the case, it terrifies me to think that the loud mouth of this little man is being echoed throughout elementary schools in the South, reminding children that bullying is okay, in bathroom stalls where transgender americans have to watch their backs for constant fear of assault, and in the hearts and minds of the people who never felt welcome in the land of the free in the first place. The words of the founders that once united us are now being used as a weapon to begin a four-year witch hunt of anyone who doesn’t fit the qualifications laid out by Hitler himself.
Welcome to the once great land of the United States of America.
Donald Trump will never be my president because he doesn’t believe people like me should have equality. This country, however, will always be mine. I will stand with the many like-minded, loving, peaceful people as I must to ensure that we are heard. We will not let hatred and fear separate us, and we are not afraid.