The 2016 election has been an unforgettable one.
I would not accredit that to the remarkability of each candidate, their visionary goals to mobilize the country, nor their truly promising social, political and economic policies that will surge the U.S. further as that is the demand of the people. Rather, the most heated topics of this election is Donald Trump’s 12th cases of accused sexual assault and Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. The real issues that the people of this country face are blurred by, frankly, childish banter between Trump and Clinton at the debates and attempts from politicians and journalists and average citizens alike to prove that Donald Trump is a poor leader.
Many can agree that they are baffled by what this election has turned out to be, but I am primarily baffled by the fact that Donald Trump ever achieved any credible position in this campaign from the start. Although by the time that this article will be published the 2016 election would have come to end (and hopefully the idiotic shenanigans that came with it), all of the abhorrent remarks that left Donald Trump’s mouth will continue to haunt me and this nation, as it poses a reminder that racism, misogyny and bigotry are alive and well throughout this country.
Trump’s incompetence has been evident throughout the entire campaign from his constantly changing political stances to his calling Cara Fiorina ugly (which was not funny whatsoever, sorry misogynists). Some may argue that Trump’s “candidness” is an asset rather than a sign of fault in his character, suggesting he is a candidate that will not lie to you. This quality was also applied to former democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, but he did not have to degrade women and blame Hillary Clinton for the formation ISIS to get credit for speaking his mind. Trump has not shown any sign of integrity; he solely promises he has it while endeavoring to belittle every person that challenges his rhetoric and qualifications.
In addition to that, he consistently flip flops between social, political and economic stances and denies 100% of the allegations against him - even those with solid proof. Trump’s conflicting views are hardly even appalling in comparison to his comments about women. Let’s not even discuss his bragging off assaulting women and writing it off as “locker room talk,” which in itself is misogynistic as it boosts rape culture. Is it a requirement to call women fat for a politician to assert their candor? This was simply a conjured up excuse for Trump’s ignorant chauvinism, which he seemingly wears proudly on his sleeve.
Despite the myriad antics and immaturity Trump has displayed, he still has fervent supporters.
A lot of people are roused by his economic plans which are pitched to those who have lost hope in the “American dream,” but the dream Trump has outlined is hardly geared to those who are part of the “inner city”, those who are “bad hombres”, or those who are “radical islamic terrorists.” These are the titles he has given to people of color who he sees as threats to charity cases, from when he stated that “a lot of” the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world have a vendetta against the United States and that black voters have nothing to lose in voting for him as he said that black people were “all living in poverty, [their] schools are no good and [they] have no good jobs.” These generalizations are as condescending as they are detrimental as it serves to propagandize rather than educate and blames sizable populations of people for stereotypes that wrongly associated with each individual. Next to his frequent bigoted comments, Trump is also notoriously celebrated by fellow white supremacists, including former KKK leader David Duke (who Trump elusively and slowly disavowed) and Rocky Sudhaya, who is currently the chairman of the American Nazi Party. This is no anomaly or peculiar coincidence; Trump’s convictions must align with those of supremacists otherwise they would have no reason to ungrudgingly endorse him. Although he has voters who are people of color, who are women, who are LGBTQ+, that does not mean that Trump’s outlook does not favor the dominance of white people. Much of his views are nationalist and nativist, which facts that are only denied by those who share the same discriminatory vision.
It seems that his stances on immigration in particular are the most controversial and most popular among his supporters. Although his opinions on such topics seem to always be wavering, his current standpoint on immigrants has remained consistent -- highly arbitrary and are fundamentally suppressive toward millions of current and future American citizens. No one can try to deny that Trump is extremely anti-semitic and islamophobic, regardless of how much leverage Trump has over his supporters. There are several policies that highlight his plans of persecution, from his idea to raid mosques to seek extremists (with the aid of racial profiling) and his ban of all Muslim immigrants who want to enter the country, whether they are refugees or not. Trump’s racial profiling sadly does not stop there as he has referred to Mexican immigrants as well as other Latin Americans as “criminals”, “rapists” and “drug traffickers.” I can not even begin to express how saddening it is to me that the current GOP leader has publicly made these comments to the American public, truly believing in the fabrications he incessantly spews and that these words render no consequence. This is not a matter of disagreeing with the beliefs of different political party than my own. To me, jabs at Trump are no longer political discourse as even members of the party Trump leads have expressed disdain and condemnation toward his behavior. It seems that those who are truly against prejudice and oppression rally against Trump, whether you are conservative or liberal.
I was never a Clinton supporter myself and was only by urgency, not choice. Trump is trying to portray her as the scapegoat of all of the country’s problems while arguably most of the inequality and inequity in our country are perpetuated by people like Trump. Some examples can be found in his stance against black issues. At the debate, when asked about his views on the Black Lives Matter movement and combating police brutality toward black people in particular, his answer was strengthening the country’s “law and order” which roughly translates to a continuation of racial profiling and unlawful treatment of citizens by police. Enforcement of stricter law and order is hardly necessary in the first place and is not the root of the issue of U.S. crime, but that is a separate topic that I will not digress on. Trump’s approval of bringing back stop and frisk, which has historically been ineffective and has even been ruled unconstitutional, is another harrowing example of his irrational prejudice toward “inner city people.” Yes, I quoted him on that again because it was such an insensitive statement.
Trump’s running mate, Michael Pence, is also a major perpetrator of the social discrimination in this country. His anti-LGBTQ+ stances are absolutely vile as he supported an amendment that banned same sex marriage and would rather spend government money on conversion therapy (which is known to be extremely traumatic as it is fruitless) than HIV prevention. Pence’s homophobia also reflects that the Trump campaign will not only support the civil rights of citizens of color and women, but LGBTQ+ citizens as well.
My opinion on Donald Trump has been made pretty clear. I don’t like him. As an activist, as a person of color, as a human being, I could never like a man like Trump. When this election is long gone, I will still remember that people favored someone whose social, political and economic views were doused in bigotry, xenophobia, sexism, and utter stupidity. I will remember his deplorable ideas and comments toward people like me and people I know. Much of this country’s cultural achievements and assets were born of our diversity, and without it this country would lose its vibrancy.
Our country was founded on profound principles that promote liberty and justice for all. We can work toward the greatness that visionaries have been dreaming of, advocating for and even dying for throughout centuries. Promotion of Trump and those like him will reverse the progress we have worked so hard to create in this nation and strip opportunities from citizens that have fought for them.
The United States will be great when we all matter, when we are all represented and when we are all truly equal. It is vital to focus on the future, but we can not forget the mistakes of the past so they are not repeated.
That’s why we can’t forget Trump, and we certainly can never forgive him.