On November 9th, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of possibly the most powerful and influential countries. At twenty-five to 7, I wept alongside the millions of people across the globe who were affected. We wept for our friends who live in America, we wept for our friends that wanted to visit there. We wept for each and every person of colour that felt affected, we wept for each queer person that was aware of the problems that may arise. We wept for disabled people, women, immigrants, Muslims – we wept for each and every marginalised group as many people are aware of how much of a blow this was on every person who is not a white, able-bodied, Christian cis, heterosexual male. Economically but especially socially, what the US says and does can have a major effect on communities and countries. After all, many equal rights movements – from LGBTQ rights to POC (people of colour) rights – originated in the states. Whether that be because their society is progressive or because marginalised voices are fighting for their voices to be heard, depending on what view you have on this matter. Regardless of what view you have, however, it cannot be denied that this was devastation for many people. I had the chance to ask various people about their thoughts on the potential issues that may arise due to Trump’s policies that he listed as his main concerns that will affect under-represented groups in negative ways.
“After I woke up on Wednesday morning, I checked my phone and could not believe what I was seeing. It previously made me very sad to see how many supporters Donald Trump had and I knew the election would be a close race but like most people, I honestly did not believe that Trump was actually going to be President. Realising that he won made me feel devastated. Since Wednesday I have this uneasy feeling in my stomach like something bad is going to happen but you cannot tell what it is.
As a German, I think that I am sensitised to things like that. Some of my great-grand-parents voted Hitler to be their “Führer” in the last century and World War II is probably the most discussed topic in history lessons in German schools. It is still a very sensitive topic to Germans and most of us are still ashamed of our history. I know that Donald Trump is not Adolf Hitler, but I still see a lot of awful parallels (e.g. use of media for spreading lies and hate campaigns, setting up parts of society against each other, reinforcing fear of foreigners, accusation of minorities). As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have honestly never felt more humiliated and invalidated in my life. I don’t even want to imagine what my fellow queers in the US must feel like. Not forgetting women, POC, disabled people, and Muslims.
The thing that shocked me the most is that half of the Americans voted for a racist, sexist, homophobic man. Half of the voters confirmed him in his crimes. The whole world is in shock about what just happened in America. Unfortunately there are similar trends in Europe, only to mention a few: populist governments in Poland, Finland and the Ukraine, the Austrian presidential election, the AfD in Germany, Front National in France, and Brexit which happened in June. This tells us a lot about the societies we live in: One half of the people live in fear – they are afraid of losing their jobs and living in poverty, they are left behind and the right-wing parties are the ones that catch them and take advantage of their fear. The other half thinks that they are unethical, selfish and hateful people. There’s no ultimate way to make things better, but I know that we shouldn’t keep quiet. We should talk about what happened and about our fears and go out and demonstrate and be good to people. Don’t forget who the real enemy is!”
– Leonie Slz, Pride Society’s International Officer
It is here where I want to state that while female-presidency is still a taboo subject, a variety of sources claim that 55% of America is made up of females. I believe that it is due to systematic sexism that we all have been exposed too in a variety of different ways that led to Clinton’s loss. At least, in part. During the lead up to the election, many news outlets touched on the fact that ‘females are too sensitive’ and the likes of those oppressive thoughts. However, when we look at Scotland and compare that to this idea, it is simply incorrect.
“Coming from a country with a female first minister and 3/5 female party leaders (as well as being a woman myself), it’s extremely disheartening and disappointing to see an election swung by misogynistic views. Personally, I was devastated by the fact that so many people seem to accept and support the endless examples of discrimination that Trump displays every day, creating a defined split between not only communities and states, but the human race as a whole.
To think that many of my American friends are fearing for their lives due to aspects of their persona such as their sexuality or race fills me with a deep sense of sadness, as these are things that they shouldn’t have to be hide away or be ashamed of. It saddens me to think that we seem to be going backwards rather than progressing forwards in relation to equality and inclusion, and our acceptance of other opinions and beliefs that differ from our own seems to be fading, if it was ever really there in the first place.”
– Nikki Thomson, Scotland
Lastly, I’d like to address what Enda Kenny said on behalf of the Irish population. In essence, Enda endorsed Trump. I could not be more outraged with his words. In that one, simple statement Enda Kenny condemned himself in many people’s eyes. There is already a petition to block Pence and Trump from ever making it to our shores in the hope that Kenny understands that we do not wish to congratulate Trump in any sense. While I am sure that this petition will get nowhere, it is clear that this endorsement is not wanted by many people as this would go against so many of our own values.
Remember when we were the first country to allow same-sex marriage through referendum? I am sure Kenny is very aware of the movement of Repeal the 8th too. And how could we forget that two-hundred child refugees from Calais are to come to Ireland? It is these very values (and many more) that Kenny has ignored by congratulating Trump. I could not be more disgusted. However, like the petition, there are ways to show your concerns. America has already seen a number of peaceful protests and it is through this activism that you can have your voice heard. If you have an issue with the acts of your government – speak. Get your voice heard. Your opinion is valid and it is our job to make the voices of others speak louder.