As I was bemoaning the current state of affairs with my husband yet again, I began to feel sick to my stomach―as I often do―when speaking about our new POTUS and the executive actions he has signed since he took office only fifteen days ago today. According to headlines everywhere you look, the president had signed two proclamations, seven presidential memoranda, and seven execute orders. I hesitate to write that in fear it will be wrong by the time I publish this piece (that alone is a sign of of the times).
But this is not about me, this is about those who voted for Donald Trump.
I wondered how those voters might be feeling right now. I wondered if there are things that myself and a Trump supporter might have in common—do we both get sick to our stomachs when discussing this President? I wondered if any of them are feeling regretful. Or, I contemplated, is this exactly what his supporters hoped he would do? Did they expect him to blatantly stop following expected protocol while running the United States of America? To dismiss climate change by pulling out of the Paris Agreement? Did they want their children’s education to rest upon the least qualified candidate selected as Secretary of Education? They want a Muslim ban? A wall? Do all of his supporters own homes so none of them want anyone else to be able to afford one? Are all of them healthy and/or insured and therefore are not in need of the healthcare provided by the Affordable Care Act? Is this really what they wanted?
No matter how I try to spin this in my head, there is no denying that there are some people who did and do want this, of course there are. People who want me and all other immigrants, people of color, and Muslims to retreat in fear of white supremacists. People who want to use the law to make us quiet. People who want to persecute and erase entire communities. People who want to strip us of any wealth we might have. People who want to take away our legally obtained green cards and send us back to wherever we came from. People who want to perpetuate institutional racism and negative narratives about anyone who might be considered “an other” in order to make us feel powerless, unwanted, and invisible.
But I am just as certain that there are some who do not want this and voted for this president in earnest hopes he would be able to serve this country and all those who live in it, or that at least, he would serve your interests in some capacity. Perhaps you are slowly realizing that this is not the president you had hoped for.
It will be difficult to acknowledge that you may have been wrong, but it is better to take ownership of that now and begin to take action. En otras palabras, se que es difícil aceptar cuando cometimos un error, pero es la única manera en la cual crecemos. We will be able to grow and not leave the rest of the world to fix our problems, but join the rest of the world as we attempt to stop what is happening. It is the only way en la que podriamos seguir adelante más fuertes que antes. We will be stronger as a nation if all voices contribute.
In the aftermath of the election, it was important for me to come to terms that this country voted for this new president, and you perhaps you were one of them. Gente de todos lados; people from different races, gender, socio-economic status, and religions voted for Trump. Y me puse a pensar, ¿puede ser que todas estas personas sean malas? Seguramente no. Surely, all of the people who voted for him can’t be that evil. Pero no importaba cuantos artículos leía acerca de sentir empatía por las personas que lo eligieron a Trump―I could not do it.
Until now, I could not find the time to empathize.
Regardless of where you are from, if you are living in this country with the right to vote, you are likely standing on the shoulders of ancestors who fought to give you that right. You exercised that right and I commend you for that. Thank you. One day, I hope to do the same. You also have that right because there were laws put in place to protect you, laws that allow you to exercise that right freely. But in a world where news are fake-news, and facts considered alternative to the truth, I hesitate to say whether these laws will continue to be upheld, or for how long. Perhaps you voted for him but do not feel you are affected by the current issues; you might be brown, black, or white. Know that headlines are filled with those who are suffering and if you have time to research on your own, you will know these stories are not alternative facts, but real life situations many are experiencing as a direct result of Trump’s policies.
So I ask you, Trump Voter and perhaps closeted former supporter, to show empathy. I invite you, a person who voted for Trump, to join the side of the oppressed because there is still time. Because it may not affect you yet but perhaps it affected your co-worker, your friend, or even a family member. See them. Show them empathy and challenge them to do the same for you. Stand in solidarity and make noise next to those who are hurting. Porque todavía tenemos tiempo, yes. There is still time.
Así que desde mi corazón te digo, si te estas sintiendo mal, there is still time to make it right.
Perhaps you voted for someone you thought was really invested in your interests; someone who would make America great again by better distributing wealth and allowing people from all races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic status to get a piece of the pie without making yours smaller. He made you feel like you mattered and that he understood you. He forgave you for not being politically correct, and you liked that because you always thought it was too much work. Perhaps you believed that as a successful business man he would run this country like the capitalist machine that it is and squeeze even more profit out of our current resources and therefore create more jobs. You believed this would provide more capital for you and your loved ones without any unwanted side effects. He would let you have as many guns as you wanted and make it easy for you to obtain them for hunting purposes, which is all you ever use then for anyway. Whatever the reason you voted for him, I might oppose it but I will never stop trying to understand it. I can no longer live in polarizing ends of the spectrum.
I want to speak candidly to his supporters; perhaps you are not evil, you never thought you were racist and still do not consider yourself to be racist, even if you voted for Trump. But now, you are seeing a side of this man that you never anticipated and you are ashamed to go back on your word; ashamed to say that you made a mistake, that you didn’t foresee this side we are all now privy to. This is okay. We are not blessed with a sixth sense that helps us see the future; we make mistakes. Often times, we take action and hope for the best. But now that we are in the thick of it, perhaps you are slowly realizing that this problem is bigger than you. If this is you, I invite you to join the millions being affected by his policies in the past two weeks alone and express your concerns immediately.
Speak up against the actions that no longer represent your understanding of humanity.
A citizen’s job is not done at the voting booth. I urge you to voice your concerns now. This will not get easier. And we need you. You may still like him in some aspects, whatever they may be, but please come forward to speak about those policies that no longer represent you. I know an angry letter doesn’t help but encouragement to put yourself on the right side of history has the potential to go a long way. There is room for you. This movement needs you.
There is still time.
If you are young and this is the first chance you got to vote and you used that voice to vote for this current president, it is no shame to admit that you made a mistake. If you have had the privilege to vote in many elections, know that we all make mistakes and this is not the time to coddle your ego. Instead, challenge yourself to see the blind spots that made you vote for him in the first place. It is okay that you had them, but as you move forward make sure to look both ways. Look at the cabinet that he is assembling. Look at the policies he is championing as president of the Free World and ask yourself if these things still continue to represent your interests. Look at the issues and whatever ones you do not agree with, and voice them. Whatever beliefs you had about the Republican Party, see if your vote is going to someone who still upholds those ideals. If he isn’t the kind of POTUS you thought he would be, identify in which way. Then talk about it. Call your representatives, talk to other people who voted for him and ask them if they feel the same as you do.
You may find that you are not alone.
Si sos Latinx y pensaste que el iva a sacar de este país solo a los delincuentes, por favor piensa otra vez. El viene a agarrarnos a todos. Lo más rápido que nos demos cuenta de eso, lo mejor. There is no law that is out of bound, no community that he will support unless it comes with capital gains. Puede ser que estos cambios todavía no te afectan, pero este Presidente cambia el cuento cuando menos te das cuenta. He will eventually come for all of us in one way or another. There is room for you in this fight and we need you to speak up; whoever you are, wherever you are or from. Please do not think that you have run out of time to change your mind. People are not up in arms over nothing―attempt to see us and the issues we are opposing, break them down one by one. I cannot say this enough, it is not too late.
Millions of people young and old, Democrats and Republicans alike, are becoming activists for the first time.
If you have regrets about voting for this man, you have the opportunity to make it right. Join the conversation and become part of the solution, mi gente.