Well, the people have spoken! We are all grateful for the peace we prayed for, for Hillary Clinton’s early and gracious concession and for President-Elect Trump’s equally gracious speech last night. I started crying again this morning, like I hadn’t shed enough tears already. My instincts to run, to leave the U.S., or/and to come to terms with this new day are all overpowering. I can’t do the first two obviously, so let me deal with the latter. The cover has been blown. This is the America we always knew existed, but silently wished had been mitigated by modernity, exchange with other cultures, and even the Obamas legacy. The truth for me is that while economy, gender, race, terrorism, the Supreme Court, white working middle class disenfranchisement, and immigration were all on the ballot, the overwhelming sense of America’s rejection of immigrants like me cuts across all the others. Let me explain.
I’m scared of the people that make up half, not 5%, of the voting public. If Trump lives up to his promises for immigrants, Mexicans, women, etc, and, God knows he now has the mandate to do so, welcome to a new old America. Half of the American citizenry have given Trump the mandate to do as he purported and how are we immigrants supposed to feel about this? How do you think we should feel? Our children, friends, and families shared tears, calls, and texts during the night. The grieving continues. Prior to this vote, I had heard Glenn Beck offer that we can’t really be sure who Donald Trump will be as the President and that he may not even live up to his rhetoric on immigration, the Wall, etc. Again, we don’t know who he will really be and what he will really do because he didn’t offer to share his platform . . . except on immigration. That’s the one thing he was clearly outspoken about.
So while I cry and cower as an immigrant citizen who now feels totally estranged and unwelcome in this country, I have had to hold on to the only thing I can hold on to –my faith. That even has been totally challenged [as I have reflected on this blog what with Christians on both sides of the aisle]. I have to not lose faith that God still has a plan. God can and typically uses whomever He chooses for His purposes. Somebody just commented that we should pray that D.J Trump has a change of heart. Sure enough that falls right in line with praying for our leaders and that we will do.
But how do I reckon with fellow Americans who don’t want us here? The silent majority whose votes turned Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan red, who came out as Trump had promised, driven by the fear of immigrants, by the desire to take their country back and to make America great …again. All codes for Keep America as we know it— Majority White and Non-Immigrant. They came out and succeeded in conveying that message. They do not want a colored America, plain and simple. That’s the singular issue that cut across income, race, and gender in the results, capturing White , Black, Latino men and women’s vote. Trump’s winning coalition is hardly monolithic but there’s a common thread. Whether they felt left behind because of job losses, didn’t care for a woman to lead, harbored nationalistic beliefs, a common threat to them was represented by immigrants who have come to take their jobs, entitlements, Obama care.
The same sentiment has been seen the world over. We just believed America would be better at this, being the nation of immigrants. Then there’s the backlash at the Obama legacy. The anti-immigrant position fed and led by Trump’s birtherism may never give President Obama, the son of an immigrant, any credit for the good he’s done in this country. Many of them still believe he was an illegitimate President. That’s painful.
Does it matter how much we SAY we want to heal? No healing will happen, as many years of this build up in anti-immigrant sentiment has proven, without an admission of the truth of who we really are and want to become. Let’s stop with the platitudes. It’s us, not just the Pres-elect. He only rode on the anti-immigration fears and sentiments that have persisted.
My last point: without knowing what Donald Trump will really do when in office, what happens to that sentiment when no mass deportations actually take place and no wall is built? What then? Where and how will those anti-immigrant sentiments be channeled?
Those who feel their jobs are being taken, those who feel immigrants are causing them to be left behind, those who don’t like the color and the changing demographics of the new U.S., those immigrants who also don’t want more immigrants to follow their own footsteps [yes and these are minorities themselves too], are part of Donald Trump’s incoming coalition and they have to be fed.