Article by Maariya Mahmood.
In the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016, Donald J. Trump won America’s presidential election.
After a year and a half of the candidates’ campaigning, we cast our ballots and hoped that the odds would be in our candidate’s favor. As Trump began to pick up state after state, my heart shattered. Despite Secretary Hillary Clinton’s extensive experience and in-depth policy proposals, she lost to a man whose campaign strategy was to subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) use xenophobia and bigotry to his advantage.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said of Mexicans while announcing his candidacy in June 2015.
“I just start kissing them. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said on a leaked Access Hollywood tape in 2005.
“They’re not coming to this country if I’m president. And if Obama has brought some to this country they are leaving, they’re going, they’re gone,” he said of Syrian refugees during a debate.
These are just a few of the horrible things Trump has said. As a Muslim American, I cannot stand by someone who is openly racist. I cannot look into the eyes of my future children and say, “I was complacent with the results of this election. What happened, happened.” I cannot be happy knowing that 60,049,440 people chose to ignore his intolerance of difference in the American populace.
If you voted for Trump, I don’t hate you and I don’t wish malice upon you. What I do wish is that you had talked to a LGBTQ+ person, a Muslim, a survivor of sexual assault, a Latino person, a black person or anyone else with a legitimate reason to fear a Trump presidency. Maybe you could have understood what this election meant to us on a personal level, past partisanship and soundbites. Accept that the fear that is present in millions of people is real and will not go away now that the votes are in.
After the Brexit vote, hate crimes in Britain rose at an overall rate of 16%. The end of our own election season marks a rise in hate crimes as well, though we don’t know how widespread they might become. There have been reports of racist graffiti, on college campuses and in high school bathrooms. Some Muslim women feel afraid to wear their hijab in public. Latino schoolchildren fear their parents might be deported, despite many being citizens.
I am a Muslim woman with friends of all backgrounds, creeds, and sexual orientations. I acknowledge the results of the system; I acknowledge that Trump awakened a deep emotional response in tens of millions of people. But I do not pardon Trump’s past words and actions now that he is President-Elect. I hope that Trump’s presidency will be different from his candidacy and I support all in the House and Senate who will work across party lines to do what is best for the country and ensure all Americans have equality in what they choose to do.
I want to end with this, a quote from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” There is so much I could say to this point, but I think Dumbledore’s words speak for themselves.