Reflections to a Trump Presidency: Griffin Somaratne

Today, I woke up empty. I stared into the ceiling and released breath after breath. I slid out from under the covers and began my daily routine. I showered, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and ate breakfast. Today, I woke up empty to a normal day. But it is not a normal day.

It is not a normal day because our country elected Donald Trump as president last night. Say it aloud to yourself. President Trump. I am aghast at this nation’s morals at the moment. So, what is the point?

There are parents waking up their children, getting them ready for school, getting ready for the future. What are they supposed to say? How are they supposed explain what has happened? How are they going to tell their children that bullying is wrong and mean but it is okay to elect a bully for president? That recognizing the meanness of Donald Trump and the unjust values he represented, we voted for him. We voted for a man who mistreats women and discriminates against minorities and has no intention of giving a voice to the voiceless, those who have fought so hard just to speak.

So no, I can’t read my op-ed on gun control. How can I discuss control measures when the candidate we elected is endorsed by the NRA? How can I encourage background checks when our president and Republican-dominated legislature are adamant for raw Second Amendment rights?

So, I’m sorry that my footnotes are not proper citations and that I stuttered during my history presentation. But why should I care about my future when so many people don’t care?

How I can I analyze Huckleberry Finn’s moral distinctions when the majority of this nation possesses none? How can I not let my vision blur and my face flood with tears? How can I not let this knot in my throat build and build? How can I be tolerant of other people’s beliefs when they are so backwards and wrong and ignorant and unsupported?

I don’t care about your political views. I don’t care about your party. You who voted for Trump are the closeted racists and frightened cowards that plague this nation. You are apathetic and indifferent. You are ignorant and unhelpful. You are selfish and unaware of the struggles minorities face. You willingly voted against women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigrant rights. You elected a xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, small man to the most important office in this United States. Don’t you dare shut out my words because they upset you. They should. Because I am angry. I am angry that you would commit such a heinous crime against the American people. I am angry because half of the population now feels unsafe, anxious, depressed, helpless, and hopeless. I am angry because you are why today is not a normal day, and why I don’t know anything anymore.

Addendum:

Day 3 in Trump’s America

Today, I had my math test second period. I was so focused on the integrals of inverse trig to think about the intense reactions people had to my independent, or the possible negative reactions that could arise. Walking down to assembly, feeling happy about the test, Natalie Osuna asked if I had taken my pieces down. I was confused. I ask which pieces, thinking that my watercolor of women’s breasts could have been in bad taste considering there were tours on Friday. To my surprise, and horror, they were the two paintings of gay couples kissing. I sent out an all school email searching for something that would tell me that it was not a statement, leaving the heterosexual couple, just an accident.

All day, I have received electronic and verbal responses sympathizing and rebuking and hoping that this would be resolved. Thacher Toads do not take this lightly.

I have wanted to give the thief the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they wanted them, maybe they fell. But after a day of hearing from faculty and higher authority, I can no longer deny the fact that this was an act against the message I was expressing. It was shocking to me that even in such a progressive community this kind of bigotry and intolerance can penetrate and influence actions.

And yet, at this juncture, it is not so surprising anymore. Trump’s presidency represents a new era in America. His campaign proved to be a platform for racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and sexist views that have now been validated by the face of our country. Reading Buzzfeed News, I was horrified by an uptick in conflicts sweeping across the nation. Students, CHILDREN, in schools and neighborhoods screaming at blacks and latinos. A woman in a hijab stopped on the subway platform by a man who said, “Your time is up, girlie.” Students greeted by a wall of white classmates preventing them from entering the school, get to their lockers, chanting “build the wall.” People targeting women, LGBTQ+, latinos, and blacks alike. I am horrified. This occurrence at Thacher serves as just another reminder of these hate crimes. But I will not remain passive and take it with a grin. I will no longer wallow in despair and disbelief. There are too many people around the world that understand human dignity and compassion, too many to let the ignorance of these perpetrators to push our world back. Beware bigots because your time is up.