The scariest part of Trump’s election is his supporters

The real-life danger of Donald Trump’s rhetoric walks the streets with us.

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by Katie Gregory, Scheduling Editor of Web

This column is one in a series of pieces written in reaction to the 2016 presidential election.

First, let me say that I am utterly horrified. When I woke up on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the election, I had almost forgotten that I would be finding out the next President of the United States that day. In my half-asleep, 6 a.m. state, I did not fully register that the simple act of checking my phone may be a moment that changed my life. When I read the headlines declaring business mogul Donald Trump, the man who has threatened my rights as a woman and LGBTQ+ individual, as our 45th president-elect, my reaction was an instant and visceral one. My breath caught, my stomach dropped and my head spun. I asked myself, “How could we allow this to happen?”

To many, this reaction may seem over-the-top. To those who think I am being overdramatic, I ask you to look at this decision from my point of view. When President Obama was first elected, I was in the second grade. I remember nothing of George W. Bush’s two terms. Frankly, I’ve been a little spoiled. Because I am only 15, I haven’t had to deal with the bigotry that many older women and LGBTQ+ individuals have spent their lives fighting. To hear homophobic and sexist statements like “[Ariana Huffington] is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision,” and, while referring to a woman who accused him of sexual assault, “Believe me, she would not be my first choice. That I can tell you. You don’t know. That would not be my first choice,” is something that I have never before experienced – at least not by someone in such a nationally visible position of exposure and power.

Don’t get me wrong – I know that it is extremely unlikely that during Trump’s presidency, he will somehow reverse marriage equality or ban all Muslims from entering the United States. What many of his supporters don’t realize, however, is that they will not be the ones paying the consequences of his election. Let’s face it: most of Trump’s supporters are white, straight, cis-gendered non-disabled men. Trump has not threatened their rights; he has threatened those of people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, disabled individuals and other marginalized groups. The completely real, close-to-home affect his rhetoric and success has had is what terrifies me most. The support he has racked up, along with his being elected, has essentially given a thumbs-up to the people of this country that sexism, racism, homophobia or any other type of bigotry is A-OK. That is not a message that I want to stand behind. That is not a message I want to send, to other countries or to the children of the United States.

Already, I have seen my friends and acquaintances question their safety when out in public following the Trump election. I have seen Muslim mothers asking their children not to wear hijab because they may become a target. I have seen my friends of color joke about “going back to their country.” And I have seen fellow LGBTQ+ individuals seriously question their future in this country.

Trump’s rhetoric and election have already had troubling effects. A Twitter user reported hearing a man say he could do whatever he wanted to women if Trump won. On the San Diego State University campus, a Muslim woman allegedly had her belongings stolen while her assailants made comments about Trump and Muslims. In North Carolina, a gay couple reported having a note placed on their car stating “Can’t wait until your ‘marriage’ is overturned by a real president. Gay families = burn in hell. Trump 2016.” While Trump isn’t directly responsible for these attacks, this is the kind of real-life backlash marginalized groups in the United States will face for the next four years, only to be reignited every time Trump does anything noteworthy.

My hope for the coming days, weeks, months and years is that peacefulness, respect and democracy will win over hate and chaos. We all must respect each other as people and as Americans. Despite the horror this election has brought me, I continue to have faith in the people and in the democratic process. I hope to see this from all political mindsets. I hope that people will use their right to protest effectively and peacefully. Most of all, I hope to exemplify this with my own actions and words. I wish for my parting words of this piece to be this simple, yet powerful phrase: Love Trumps Hate.