I would like to preface this post with the fact that this election will go down in history as one of the craziest political spectacles that has ever occurred in this country. Both sides viciously abhorred the other and it actively separated families and friends. This was a destructive election and I do not condone the actions (past and present) of either candidate.
This is simply why I believe that as we move forward we must bridge these divides regardless of whoever sits in the Oval Office. This is America, where we as a people will always have a voice and we must never stop using that right to fight for the marginalized, voiceless, and silenced. We cannot stop fighting for the ideals and virtues that make America a great, free, and beautiful nation.
I am a woman who believes that words hold immense power. Words and rhetoric determine how we view and explain the world around us. We should never assume that harmful and hateful speech are “just words”. That does not nullify their potential for drastic change, both negative and positive. Please Donald Trump, you are president now, you won fair and square, but now it is imperative you change your ways. You aren’t addressing your Twitter followers or your rally participants anymore, you are addressing the nation, and now you actually have power to effect global audiences.
I am not a parent, I watched you use your influence to generate disunity and hatemongering and I fear that this will continue throughout your presidency. I see young girls who listen to you and idealize you. They see you as a potential role model while you objectify and degrade girls not that much older than they are. The past is the past, and though I can’t ever pretend to support or stand behind the hateful rhetoric you have used throughout this campaign, I can pray that you take this win as a sobering moment. I don’t agree with any of your politics, but the most dangerous thing you have ever done was convince people that words are harmless, and for that I am calling you out.
I look at my beautiful little cousins, two beautiful girls, who amaze me everyday. I am thankful they are too young to understand the misogyny their president has conveyed throughout his career. I want them to grow in a world that doesn’t rate them in a contrived and irrelevant numerical system. I want them to enter a world that praises their intelligence and ambition and not their body mass index. I don’t want them to live in a world where 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted. I don’t want them to live in a world where they are afraid of reporting sexual assault because they will be victim-blamed. I don’t want them so look up to a man who belittles them, who preys upon them, and who makes them feel any lesser than anyone else.
I want them to look at the most powerful position in America and see a man or woman of integrity who believes in the social and personal rights of all people. I want them to know that being a bully, throwing tantrums, and belittling their peers to get what they want isn’t the way to rise in this world. Putting others down isn’t how you raise yourself up and creating divisions and building walls is not what the American ideal should be. Everyone deserves respect regardless of religion, race, or sexual orientation. We are all human beings and America is a place filled with beautiful and diverse cultures that deserve to be celebrated, not targeted.
My two beautiful cousins, one of whom has only just entered this world, for the next four years I pray that you find true role models in brilliant and powerful women who have come before you. This was not our time to see the presidency, but if anyone thinks a woman will never sit in the Oval Office they are sadly mistaken. Maybe it will even be one of you one day. We women have never stopped working towards equality, and we have made incredible strides. It is only the beginning. Glass ceilings still have yet to be smashed. I pray when you enter the workforce you make as much as your male coworkers. I hope anything you want to do is available to you. Let no one tell you a dream is too big or too much for you to handle. Do not let a man, whether he is the president or not, objectify you. You are strong, brilliant, and will do amazing things. You come from a long genealogy of powerful women, and I have amazing aspirations for the both of you.
Please, can we all remember that our goal should not be to “Make America Great Again”, it should be to make America better. There is such a powerful distinction between such simple phrases. Regression is not the answer, progression is. This nation needs to constantly evolve and the first step is to recognize where we have fallen in the past. Learning the history, real history of this nation, is the best way to avoid making the same mistakes.
The life force of this nation is the power that radiates from its people. We demand reform and we have power to get it done. A Trump presidency is scary to a large group of Americans and has created incredibly diverse reactions all over the nation. But we are Americans and we cannot let this divide us; we must fight back. We must be ever vigilant and call our leaders out for anything that we deem as unconstitutional. We must never stop working to form a more perfect union and insure domestic tranquility. Trust me, we have a lot of work to do. United we stand and divided we fall and we have a lot of work to do to bring this fractured and broken community together again. It starts with ending racist, hateful, and emotionally charged language from out leaders and focusing now on bridging this caustic divide. Mr. Trump, please focus now on undoing the damage you have done in the past. We the people are watching and listening, please do not let us down. You have a lot of ground to cover and lot to make up for.
Amy Aline Cardoza