Dear Trump Supporters: No, We Don’t Have To Be Friends On Facebook
Like millions of people across the country, and undoubtedly the world, I have spent the last 24-plus hours feeling afraid, then angry, and then afraid again. That Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States does not surprise me, per se. It probably doesn't surprise much of the LGBTQIA community, or POC, Muslims, Latinos, or women, either. These are individuals who've long felt the consequences of an America (and an American people) that's never quite cared about them as much as it's proclaimed.
Nonetheless, the predictability of a Trump America hasn't helped quell my anxieties or fury. The fact that the first black president of the United States will pass his title to a president endorsed by the KKK remains heartbreaking. The fact that — in this allegedly post-racial America of ours — so many white men and white women across the country flocked to a candidate whose views on minorities have been rooted in fear-mongering and divisiveness for decades is no less horrifying.
Amid it all, I've found myself in the social media company of the "well-meaning" Trump supporters. The ones who, as a dear friend of mine put on Facebook, "'don't see color' — the ones who respect all religions and have gay friends and see their half-black cousin every holiday get-together — the ones who judge based solely on character — the ones who feel that America has become weak — the ones who think that the media pits us against each other on issues that would otherwise not exist." To these Trump supporters (as to, quite frankly, all Trump supporters), I have but one request as a Latina and as a pansexual woman: Please, unless you're truly willing to dissect, discuss, and reflect on your choices on Nov. 8, delete me from your Facebook, your Twitter, and your Instagram.
Here's the thing: You may not consider yourself a raging sexist, racist, xenophobe, misogynist, Islamophobe, or homophobe. You may have voted for Trump based on some desire to be "anti-establishment" and fight back against a political system that you feel has failed you (to which I can only ask, where were you when Bernie Sanders needed you most?). But after 24 hours, on top of 16 months, of trying to engage with and help educate you, I am tired. I am even more tired than I become after engaging with the Trump supporters who openly embrace their prejudicial tendencies. At least they are transparent. At least they are honest.
I understand that you may not have voted deliberately out of prejudices towards all of the above communities. I get that you live your life operating under a moral compass that makes sense to you, one that you can feel proud of. But at the end of the day, you have supported a candidate who makes me not only afraid for the future of America — and subsequently, the future of the world — but one who makes me afraid for the people I love most. And for myself.
You see, your choices will directly challenge and place into danger facets of my identity as a Hispanic woman who has loved people of all genders.
Your choices will directly challenge and place into danger the lives of my less privileged Colombian relatives: the undocumented ones with U.S.-born children; the ones who've been fighting for citizenship to no avail for decades; the ones whose faces are brown or black, whose identities are more obvious as per Eurocentric ideas of what a Hispanic person looks like.
Your choices will only help incite violent rhetoric, if not violent acts, towards the queer community, particularly individuals whose sexualities or gender presentations are rawly unapologetic and visible and who are already in so much danger.
Your choices will mean that come 2017, women like me (and maybe, let's face it, you) will be facing a bleak future of reduced reproductive care, in which our bodily autonomy is stripped and, once again, governed by lawmakers — most of whom are men.
Your choices will mean that victims of sexual assault will continue to be belittled and disbelieved, the definitions of rape and sexual assault reduced to only violent acts conducted by strangers in dark alleyways, involving penile to vaginal penetration and nothing more.
Your choices will mean that all the folks who have no qualms with calling Hillary Clinton a "dirty whore" while wearing "Trump that bitch" hats feel justified in their sexism.
Your choices will mean that all those folks who nod to Trump's words about Mexican immigrants being "criminals" and "rapists," who cheer him on when he talks about building the goddamn wall, who show rampant distaste for all Middle Eastern people, who support his desire to murder the families of terrorists — will feel justified in their racism and xenophobia.
Your choices will mean that all those Americans begging Trump to ban one of the world's largest religions, once and for all, from entering a country allegedly built on freedom of religion, will feel justified in their Islamophobia.
Your choices will mean that those who bow down to the future vice president — the same one who once suggested that utilizing HIV funding on conversion therapy would mean a dollar better spent — will feel justified in their homophobia.
Your choices will mean that all of these people now have the justification they needed to dismiss every fight for equality, tolerance, and inclusivity. Because if their president can get away with so much, why shouldn't they be able to as well?
Maybe you think it's all melodrama over locker room talk. Maybe you don't believe that Trump will be allowed to build his wall, ban the Muslims, or royally screw over women in more ways than one. After all, he can't just snap his fingers and make his wishes come true. That's why we have government, Congress, and a system for law-making.
If I can't convince you that these dangers and threats are real to many Americans, I implore you to take a look at some of the violent actions happening only one day after Trump's win. Twenty-four hours after our president-elect celebrated his victory, Medium.com has reported that people have begun spray painting swastikas and "Make America White Again" signs for public consumption; pulling off the hijabs of Muslim women while telling them, "This is not allowed anymore"; burning rainbow flags; leaving notes on the car doors of gay couples that read, "Can't wait until your 'marriage' is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell. Trump 2016"; and tying rope around the necks of black baby dolls.
And if you still don't care, then I beg you to save us both the time and press the delete or block button. I know some people would tell me that engaging with you is a better use of my time and energy. I should keep fighting, keep talking, keep explaining, keep framing the events of the preceding days as the horror show that they actually were. That's how we move forward; that's how we grow stronger. In my own ways, I will do just that. But I can no longer engage with you directly on social media. I can no longer give my time to tolerating those who've chosen intolerance — even if they didn't think that's what they were doing. Now, more than ever, these are spaces that need to remain safe for me and those closest to me.