[Editor’s note: The original version of this article mentioned a case of church arson in Mississippi that was originally reported as being carried out by a Trump supporter. A member of the congregation has been arrested for the crime and the article has been edited retracting that mention.]
Early on Wednesday morning, the American public was informed that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States. The news came as a shock to many and is being touted as one of the largest upsets in American political history. Despite the amount of horrors that every president is accountable for, Barack Obama had been steadily driving our country in a positive social direction. American voters have now allowed Donald Trump to grab the wheel and set our path for the edge of a cliff.
After a campaign fueled by unabashed racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and ableism, a Trump presidency looks to be a nightmarish one for anyone living in America who is not a straight white person.
His long-running call for a border wall between the United States and Mexico has done nothing to help our relations with the country. Early on he called people crossing the border “rapists” and more recently “bad hombres.” A report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center has stated that Trump’s campaign had been “producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”
As recently as the first week of November, a black church in Mississippi was set on fire with “Vote Trump” written on the side. David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, has stated that Trump winning made for “one of the most exciting nights of [his] life.” If these things are taking place now, imagine what will happen as Trump takes office and begins to approve legislation.
Considering that many did not take to the polls on Election Day, Americans — especially those with the privilege of not being Trump’s targets — must now take direct action in combatting the poisonous side effects of his presidency.
The responsibility now falls on you. If a friend of yours is scared to wear a hijab out of their house, stand by them. If they are afraid of walking down the street with their partner, stand by them. If they fear that could be deported, stand by them. Now more than ever, Americans must have each others’ backs and fend off white supremacy, sexual assault apologism and the onslaught of other issues that Trump and his supporters have shown they do not care about.