Open Letter From a Citizen Under Trump

Amanda Newby

Opinions Editor

Dear Self,

For you it is November 9, 2016. Despite all odds, Donald Trump is president. Mike Pence, governor of your home state of Indiana, is his VP.

You are 17 right now. You were born into a world run by George W. Bush. You spent your whole childhood hearing your parents yelling at the TV, angry at the Texas governor in the White House. You grew up in Obamanation. You saw months of “YES WE CAN” and “CHANGE” stickers going up, and a magnet your family still has put onto your refrigerator. You heard your mother’s sigh of relief when Barack Obama was announced the 44th president. That was half your lifetime ago.

You spent the last year following the campaigns. You were not surprised by Hillary Clinton running again. You “felt the Bern” of the somewhat radical independent candidate previously unknown to you, Bernie Sanders. You laughed off the wild reality TV star Donald Trump’s campaign.

Months went by. Bernie and Hillary were fighting hard leading up to the primaries. Republicans slowly started to drop out. Big names like Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie left the race. Bernie didn’t do good enough in the primaries, which was upsetting to most of your friends, your older brother, and your mom, who all voted for him. Ted Cruz fell off, defeated, in May. It was down to Hillary and Trump.

You followed the comments made at their rallies. On their social media. You heard a lecture about the election from Josh Gillin of Politifact at Indiana University over the summer. You won an award for an opinion piece you wrote on Trump. As the election day grew closer, you watched every presidential debate. You analyzed them in class.

On election night, you stayed up until 4 a.m. to see the results of this election. You sat through excruciatingly slow interviews, political analysis, and different predictions. You couldn’t turn away from the blue and red maps, the aggressively American backgrounds, the anxious masses. The tired tv hosts were right, it was a nail-biter.

As Trump gave his victory speech, you wept. You wept for the months you spent wishing this wouldn’t happen. You wept for the 1920’s suffragettes, for the descendents of MLK and Cesar Chavez, for the Orlando victims. You wept for me.

I am walking around with a knife in my back.

I have learned that homophobes look like normal people. They are not all rednecks with beer guts wearing ten-gallon hats. They are more elusive than that. They can be dressed smart. They can have friendly voices. Familiar names and faces.

Friends of friends betrayed you. People you live next to. You have passed them in cars. In the mall. In the school hallways.

You fell hopeless in a city that VP-Elect Mike Pence had once stood in.

Everywhere you went, you looked for daggers under cloaks. Hate hidden under indifference. “He’s gonna make us great again” as an excuse.

The “greatness” was not meant for you.

You wondered when the greater of two evils would catch up to you. When you would have to storm Washington with a pitchfork just to keep your rights. When you would have to hold every person at arm’s length until you knew they regarded you as human. When you would have to flinch at every shadow, fearing for your safety.

Not an if, but a when.

I hope the when is never.

All my love- to you and everyone else,

Yourself

 

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