Land of the free, home of the fearful

Rachel Adamson and Katie Bullock

“I was scared,” a transgender student who has asked to remain anonymous said. “My friends were scared.”

He had been watching the election since it began airing on Nov. 8. According to him, it was around 2 a.m. when he began to feel hopeless.

“I was panicking,” he said. “I knew he [Trump] would win and I felt sick to my stomach.”

He was one of millions tuning into live coverage of the election results. Junior Afron Abdi was also watching.

“I was watching it with my family, and Trump was leading but I was like, she [Clinton] is probably going to pull through, so I just fell asleep,” Abdi said. “When I found out Donald Trump won I was disappointed. I didn’t know that so many people would support someone who isn’t the best leader our nation could have.”

Senior Esmeralda DeLeon was also watching as the election results unfolded in front of her on T.V.

“I didn’t understand,” DeLeon said. “I thought this country would choose someone who has the knowledge of how to run a country.”

For Abdi, the election has been terrifying not because of Trump’s presidency but because of the hatred that she has seen unfold around her in the recent months.

“ I’m not necessarily scared of him [Trump], just the mindset he has instilled and encouraged in his supporters,” Abdi said. “He proved that you can say all of these disgusting things and still have people like and support you. That is what [I am]

Katie Bullock
Pictured is junior Afron Abdi

afraid of.”

Abdi claims to have felt this hatred before because she is a Muslim, but the election has only made the feeling worse.

“I am African American. I am female. I am Muslim. I have heard the whole ‘she’s a terrorist,’ thing before. It’s common now. I’m used to it,” Abdi said. “But this is America. This country is built on different cultures and different religions. So how can you say you want to ban Muslims from coming to this country when Muslims are a part of this society?”

According to the anonymous student, not only is it the hate that makes this election frightening but also the proposed infringement upon American rights.

“For so long I wasn’t allowed to be my authentic self and express myself how I wanted to,” he said. “I was put into a box and I wasn’t allowed out because people didn’t approve of me, but I’m finally in a place where I can openly be myself. I don’t have to hide. I can get on the road to transition. I was really looking forward to that but with him [Trump] becoming president I’m afraid. It scares me that I won’t be able to get what I need. The thought of being so close and then going backwards is heartbreaking.”

However, he is not just scared for himself, he is also scared for his friends.

“All of my friends are either people of color or part of the LGBTQ community, [they] are part of marginalized groups,” he said. “Some are terrified of their families being deported.”

One of those people is DeLeon, whose mother came to America illegally from Mexico. Although her mother is safe under current policy, if those policies were to be revoked, then her mother’s future would be uncertain. Since the election, DeLeon has begun to fear for her family’s security.

“My mom came over here illegally. She has her green card now, but that doesn’t mean that she is for sure here because her green card expires every ten years,” DeLeon said. “If something were to ever happen to my dad and she didn’t get it renewed she would just be here illegally so deportation would be possible.”

As a result of growing up watching her working mother contribute to the community, DeLeon feels strongly that immigration is a source of culture and progress in America.

“The more people that come over here the more diverse [America] is, the more you get to see other cultures,” DeLeon said. “I don’t see why everyone is so eager to kick everyone out when without Mexicans, half of the buildings wouldn’t be made. Having that diversity is way better than having just one culture here.”

DeLeon believes that America is leaving its name as the ‘land of opportunity,’ behind with its refusal to allow the integration of other cultures.

“We define the United States as a free country where there are more opportunities,” DeLeon said. “We say this is the American Dream but yet we don’t allow anyone here. We don’t allow culture here. We don’t allow anyone else [but ourselves], and we need to.”

DeLeon believes the only way to bring America together is to accept everybody, including Trump.

“ We have to show respect to him because he’s our President,” DeLeon said. “Be accepting, be open-minded to everybody.”

The anonymous student believes that now is the time to preserve American citizen’s rights and pleads for America to come together aand stand with one another.

Since the election, people feel like there is no hope left. It’s just scary and they’re filled with fear,”  he said. “But this is a call to come together. People should really stand up for one another and be there for one another during this time because bigotry, homophobia and islamophobia should never be normalized.”