[OP-ED]: Latin@ Trump Voters Have Failed Me, Us, and Themselves
If you have dared to peek into the overflowing spew of panic and protest on your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, or Instagram feeds as of late, you may have noticed multiple headlines that espouse pointing fingers at the White Man or White Woman who is predominantly Protestant, Anglo-Saxon, and Working Class. We’ve been shown the voter turnout demographics that continue backing the claim that the Democratic Party has pushed these folks that once were aligned with our beliefs to the edge. Some of these think-pieces and retrospective reports that have emerged since this past Tuesday have either attributed these triumphant middle-finger to liberalism and progressivism to: White Supremacy and Nationalism, to liberal smugness perpetuated by memes and The Daily Show, to the appointment of Hillary Clinton as the DNC’s candidate, or to widespread fear of ISIS.
We have not been taught much by any of these rants circulating the Internet thanks to The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, ABC News, or The Guardian, among others. They have only served to validate what we had already noted or presumed about Trump’s outspoken supporters.
But, most media sources have remained mute on a silent minority, and these are the men and the women that I would like to address today. For those of you who are more about figures, and less about words, here’s a clear reality check from The BBC and The Washington Post, respectively:
According to The United States Census Bureau, documented and registered Hispanics constitute about 17 percent of our nation’s total population, making us the largest ethnic or racial minority group in the country at a whopping 55 million (and counting). Of those of you who decided to head to the polls or stick a stamp on your absentee ballots, 29% of you are currently celebrating a victory for President-Elect Donald Trump.
You, señora y señor chiming “Make America Great Again,” are the statistic that has left me perplexed and aghast with fear and worry for the Latin@s of my generation and the generations to come.
I have tried to understand you, and have attempted to grasp at the rationale behind what may have driven you to vote for a man who has unabashedly disrespected nuestra gente, and who has made multiple promises to impede our progress and the safety of our livelihoods in a Yankee nation we have all grown to love.
We have adopted America’s quirky gringo eccentricities, we have aided in Her prosperity, and we have strived to bring forth to Her 50 States positive change and compassion towards the new Mexicans, Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Costa Ricans, Brazilians, and Venezuelans on Her blocks.
Our accents are usually silly and exaggerated when we speak English, and our melodrama is often too much to bear for our new neighbors who do not have the depth of our emotional range (it’s true!), but we pride ourselves in being able to marry our two homes through language, food, and customs to bring forth an alluring cultural partnership within ourselves and within our families.
From what I have gathered, most of you voted for Donald Trump because you were upset about political elitism and the Clinton dynasty, because you were wary of the parallels between the growth of The United States government with what you had faced on your islas or your patrias, because you fear Islam, because your internalized or externalized machismo has led you to think that no woman is fit to become Commander-in-Chief, because you became a legal citizen and therefore look down upon those who have immigrated and have not become naturalized, because you were tired of “la misma mierda de los Obamas”, because you’ve worked hard and cannot afford higher taxes to support those who you claim are abusing their “immigrant” or “race” card to get away with receiving benefits for no work, because you are Católicos and therefore vehemently opposed to abortion, because you do not think that The President of The United States really has that much power in the first place, because you are tired of “los maricones and los judíos” controlling and “rigging” the media…
Whatever your reasons for casting that ballot, you have failed us, you have failed me, and most of all, you have failed yourselves as Latin@s in a (now unashamedly) White America, the land of the free and home of the brave, now exclusively for the White American.
Have you heard or witnessed the emboldened cry of hate squeaked out of school children towards those who share a classroom or a cafeteria with them every Monday through Friday, simply because they are- or appear -to be Latin@s? Multiple news sources have corroborated on these ongoing updates on the overt White rage that has loudly lashed out towards not only Latin@s, but also anybody who is a Muslim, Jewish, Queer, Woman, Disabled, Trans, Disordered, Black, or essentially, anybody who does not fit the 1950s cookie-cutter Stepford khaki-and-pastel blonde American family.
Your President-Elect has inspired skinheads and Klanners to crawl out of their unconscionable dens, and begin to ooze their desire to remove anybody who does not reflect or physically embody the beliefs spat by Donald Trump throughout his entire campaign trail.
If you are reading this, and you are a light-skinned Latin@ (or even borderline translucent!) that voted for Trump, you are probably smirking with contempt. Oh, the jokes on you! I am neither Black nor Brown, I have no reason to fear these few wackos the media chooses to focus on! And I’m not one of those wackos, they don't represent me! I have another reality check for you:
You are not White in America, you NEVER have been, and you certainly are not White in Trump’s America. Even if you “act White,” or “look White,” you will never be White.
I am sorry that you will, undoubtedly, have to learn this the hard way.
Prepare yourselves to binge for the next four-years on the worst and most escandalosa telenovela yet, where the plot twist is that 29% of its audience has secretly been rooting for the antagonist the whole damn time.
That is, if you allow the show to go on.
Do not sit idly and let the next villainous chapters unfold and cave-in on you and your loved ones. Do not watch in denial. Do not allow yourselves to be swayed any longer by the seductive words and promises that have left you enthralled. Do not allow evil to triumph, do not allow love to be trumped by hate.
I hope some of you will tune-into the attempts of thousands to organize, to form coalitions, to protest, to actively combat the rampant racism, xenophobia, sexism, ableism, anti-semitism, and supremacism weaved into the script of the harrowed antagonist and most of his infamous followers. I hope some of you will do it for the wellbeing of Latin@s, who like you, came to America because it was the land of opportunity, because they felt America was already great, because they wanted to give their children a better life than the one they left behind.
I know that not all of you are hateful. I know that not every registered Republican is hateful. I know that not every conservative thinker is hateful. I know that not every White person is hateful. However, those of you who supported Trump all became enablers of hate.
But, you can rectify this. We are stronger together, and stronger in numbers. This fight for our respect does not have to be violent or destructive. This fight can be battled in part by educating others, by listening to others, by standing up for others. We cannot lose hope. We cannot give up on our culture. We owe it to our parents and our grandparents who left their own lands in search of the freedoms we are at risk of losing.
And, I hope some of my disgruntled family members and friends, who identify as Latin@ and who contributed to putting the President-Elect in The Oval Office tune-into me, and do not write me off as another young Latin@ millennial sucked into the black-hole of “whiny” political correctness and entitlement.
I am enraged, but I still love you all fiercely, because I have hope that you are all good at heart, and only want what you had believed was best for yourselves and for our family. I believe that not all of you are overt racists, xenophobes, sexists, ableists, anti-semites, or supremacists. I even believe that not all of you blatantly do not care for me.
Politics are thicker than water, but politics are not as thick as blood.
Nevertheless, know that you have personally failed me (and thousands of others who find common ground within the span of my background and experience). Let it sink in:
I am a woman, I am a Latina, I am a first-generation Cuban-American. Donald Trump called me a thief, a Miss Housekeeping, a rapist, a bad hombre.
I am educated, I have hopes to enter the workforce upon graduating, I would like to shatter the glass ceiling. Donald Trump called me a nasty woman, Miss Piggy, and wrong, wrong, wrong.
I take birth control, I take Zoloft, I take Concerta. Donald Trump is challenging my reproductive rights. Donald Trump has made fun of me for being disabled.
I have a restraining order against a young man in The State of Pennsylvania and within my own college grounds who sexually harassed me for over six months with much of that normalized “locker room” talk. Donald Trump invalidated my experience by grabbing me by the pussy.
Donald Trump does not think that I am worthy of my place in The United States. He and many of his followers do not think that you are worthy to call yourselves Americans, either.