So, Trump is our next president-elect and it is safe to say that many people have lost their %$#@. Responses from Americans have ranged from confusion, anger, sadness to numbness. Many were shocked that he won, but the fact of the matter is that many of the prediction polls were wrong. They predicted Hillary winning by a landslide and that clearly didn’t happen. As an American, I share some of the same attitudes many people have towards Trump. I reject all of the hateful and nasty things he has said about immigrants, women and minorities. As a child of immigrant parents, I am offended by the countless insults he has hurled at latinos. I’m not sure what kind of president he’ll be, but his comments and plans for what he’ll do in office don’t lead me to believe he’ll be a positive influence. So what are Americans who voted for Hillary doing now? Well, they’re calling up people in government, writing letters to the electoral college to get them to vote for Hillary since she won the popular vote by 1 million, and protesting all over the US to make a statement. I don’t know what outcome this will have, but I respect everyone’s efforts. Many have expressed their frustration in not being able to do much or protest from another country, but plenty of Fulbrighters around the world are writing letters. An open letter signed by hundreds of them was published two days ago (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/582b14aee4b02b1f5257a91b?timestamp=1479243480031).
Was I surprised that Trump won? Maybe a bit, but over the course of election night, it was clear he was winning and I didn’t put it past America to choose him. With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, I began to pay more attention to race relations in my country and soon felt quite disillusioned with my fellow Americans. The “All Lives Matter” and the “Blue Lives Matter” responses were jarring next to video after video of black men being killed at the hands of police officers. I lost sleep over those videos to the point where I just couldn’t watch anymore of them even as they kept getting published. I had trouble focusing at work. I lost sleep. I watched as BLM protests took place in my city and I shed so many tears as chants filled the streets. I felt a truly profound sense of sadness and hurt at the state of race relations, and every time I’d post something or express my feelings to fellow people of color, I felt like I was talking in a vaccuum. Where was the change I wanted to see? I wanted more white allies to stand for us. I wanted minorities to look within their communities and confront the self hate and/or racism (I can speak from the experiences I’ve encountered being a black Latina). So many feelings came about during that time. Once Trump was elected, I said wow for a moment, but I knew that the US had a lot of work to do and I soon saw this outcome as an extension of that. I wondered, where were all of these people who are angry now when BLM was happening? Where was this outrage when video after video came out? Why are people so damn shocked that people would vote for Trump? It wasn’t until after the release of that Billy Bush video that people said they wouldn’t vote from him in large numbers- a long time after he had said all of those things about other groups of people.
Ultimately, it’s safe to say that you’ll find many point of views amongst Americans right now. Some just want us to get together and accept this man as our President, some want to protest as much as possible, some still feel hopeless and so on and so on. I think about all of these things in this blog post when students, teachers or even taxistas here in Colombia ask me about what I think about Trump. Most of the time, I don’t go into the full details of how I feel because of lack of time or because I just don’t feel comfortable, but I do try to share what the current climate is like, what my fellow Fulbrighters are saying and doing, and what I predict will happen. Time will only tell, and I do hope that our future gets brighter.
To provide a quick update on other things…ConCuerpos and I will present “Juntos En Este Espacio” once more on December 9th at 6pm in the Parque Bicentenario! We are super excited to show this piece to the public again and we are ecstatic to do it in this new beautiful park in central Bogota. The main classes at my university have wrapped up, and my fellow assistants and I will now hold conversation clubs for teachers and administrators! In mid-December, I’ll be able to start my vacation and enjoy the holidays. I just can’t wait for Christmas and New Year’s, which happen to be my favorite!