I have been trying to explain to friends, family, and others why I, a middle-aged, middle-class white woman, am afraid of what the next four years holds now that Donald Trump is our President Elect. I keep reading comments like, “we will have to wait and see what happens,” or “we will all be okay.” Sorry – screw that. I will not sit back and just wait and see what happens. Because of Donald Trump, things are already happening that are dangerous. Things have already been proposed that will impact the quality of life and potentially harm the lives of those that I love.
My fear has nothing to do with his crass language. I’m not afraid for myself. I’m afraid for my children, Tim and The Girl in particular.
What scares me is what he has already said he wants to do his first 100 days in office:
- Cancel every executive order and memorandum made by President Obama. This includes establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors, protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation, improving mental healthcare access for veterans, and increasing funding for mental healthcare for the most ill by $500 million.
- School Choice and Education Opportunity Act: By diverting federal funds to private schools – schools that are not required by law to offer special education – children with IEPs and 504 designations will suffer.
- Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act: Replacing the ACA with health savings accounts (HSAs) means if you are over 18 you won’t be able to stay on your parents’ insurance, and if you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll have to pay cash out of your pocket for your treatment. Oh – if you’re disabled and under or unemployed, try putting your own salary into an HSA when you don’t have a salary. I can’t even begin to explain what a bad idea block grants for Medicaid is.
Then there’s things done in his name, or that are done because of the hateful climate he’s created:
- A gay tourist from Canada was beaten on election night in Santa Monica, California. The assailants beat him unconscious and used Trump as their reasoning.
- A swastika and a black baby doll hanging from a noose found at a college campus in Buffalo, New York.
- A college in Louisiana had “fuck your safe space,” “Trump,” and “Build A Wall” scrawled on the library.
- In North Carolina, the phrase, “Black lives don’t matter and neither does [sic] your votes,” was spray painted on a wall on election day.
- South Philadelphia had several incidents of “Trump” accompanied by swastikas spray painted on businesses and cars owned by blacks.
- A Muslim woman in New Mexico had someone try and pull off her hijab. Another woman at San Jose State University in California had her hijab pulled so violently off her that it choked her as she fell.
- In Pennsylvania, white students chanted, “cotton picker, Heil Hitler, go to Hell,” carving swastikas into bathroom walls, and calling black students n***ers during gym class.
- In Napa, California, a man stopped at a gas station and yelled at an Asian woman, “we won – get the fuck out of my country.”
- In Redding, California, white students at Shasta High School brought deportation letters to school to hand out to Latino students on Wednesday.
- A sign was put on a car in North Carolina that said, “can’t wait for your marriage to be overturned by a real President – Gay families = burn in hell!”
And that’s just a fraction of what’s happened the first 48 hours.
Amanda Taub of the New York Times explains it as White Populism, or the “majoritarian backlash; the rage of those who now are slightly less powerful against the gradual erosion of their privilege.”
People who lack opportunities for achievement-based identity, experts say, tend to become more attached to identities based on innate characteristics like race. But those who turn to white identity now are finding that it no longer offers the status it once did.
Basically, it’s white people who have long enjoyed the privilege that comes from merely being white, straight, Christians. Now that our society is expanding, and we are including those that don’t fit that mold, those that have relied on it for their self-worth are fighting back, both figuratively and literally. Before you comment that you’re a white person who’s had racial slurs yelled at you or been beaten up in a Black neighborhood just for being white, check your privilege, then realize, that’s who Trump played to to get elected. This is the America he has created in order to get elected.
During his speech after he won the election, Trump said, “For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.” Well, Mr. Trump, here’s my advice:
- Remember the 56.7 million disabled Americans that cannot afford to lose the Affordable Care Act, because doing so will return them to the time when they were uninsurable.
- Remember that, of the 182 terrorists that have killed Americans in America since 2001, 165 of them were non-Muslim, American born whites, and zero of them were refugees.
- Remember that gay families make up only 0.4% of all marriages, but adopt 4% of the children waiting for forever families in foster care.
- Remember that while illegal immigration has tripled, violent crime has dropped by 48%, and while 1.6% of foreign born men are in prison, 3.3% of American born men are.
I will keep saying these things, over and over, between now and the end of your first 100 days, Mr. Trump, because I will not – and my family cannot – afford to just wait and see. Vice President Hubert Humphrey once said, “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” You have an opportunity to overcome a campaign bereft of morality by creating an administration of inclusion and support. Do that, and I will be one of your staunchest supporters. I will no longer fear the next four years.