I could not sleep one bit last night (Election Night), and my day started off by hearing an old white man say to me:
Well, you’re definitely screwed.
It hadn’t even been 12 hours since Trump was announced as the president-elect. But the sad truth is that the senile man was somewhat right (keyword: somewhat). As a first-generation Asian-American woman living with cerebral palsy, depression/anxiety, and PTSD from various forms of abuse and bullying, there is no way that I can feel safe in a country that’s under Trump’s power. And I’m not alone.
What do we tell young girls when the so-called president does not respect their bodies? How do we console thousands of women who have been victims of sexual violence when we have an alleged rapist running the country? For many of them, it took years before they could come out with the truth of what had happened to them, due to shame and hopelessness. And even when they finally conjure up the courage to speak up, they are often times not served the justice that they deserve. I am terrified to be living in a country where its people voted an alleged sexual abuser/assaulter into the Oval Office, especially when the man is proud of himself for dehumanizing women. How in the world can we find peace within ourselves now? Is there anyway that we can be not triggered whenever we hear his name, see his face, or hear his voice?
Ever since the start of humanity, people with disabilities have been treated like shit – “second-class citizens” to put it in nicer terms. But Trump treats us like complete dirt, even less. He openly mocked a news reporter with arthrogryposis, called a deaf actress “retarded,” kicked disabled veterans off public sidewalks near his buildings, and ordered guards to take a boy with cerebral palsy out of his rally in Florida, and that’s only the beginning. Not only will he socially degrade people like us, but he will strip us away from the personal and medical services we need. His words are destroying us, but his actions could actually be deadly to many.
With his plans to cut back on the major source of funding for Medicaid and other federal financing for disability and aging services, many could become deprived of the medical and personnel services they need to survive. In particular, women with disabilities already have an extremely difficult time getting access to gynecological services and even basic physical exams. But with Trump’s plan to eliminate legal protections for disabled people in the healthcare system (basically the ACA), access to these services will be nearly impossible for us. He also highly stigmatizes mental disabilities, and he has little to no concern for those of us who are the most vulnerable.
Many families, like mine own, left their motherlands to provide freedom, a better opportunity for themselves and their children. But if Trump follows through with his immigrant deportation plan, many of these families will be shattered into pieces, and life as they know it will never be the same again. What can parents tell their children when they themselves don’t even know what the imminent future is going to be like? How are they supposed to feel validated as parents when everything is out of their control and they are as scared (or even more) as their kids are?
Trump is a huge threat to every single marginalized group. He judges people by the color of their skins (basically he considers you as a foreigner if you’re not caucasian) and by the religion they follow, he does not let people love whomever they love, or express their genders/non-binaryness or sexuality in the way they deserve. He is the worst xenophobic, trans-/homophobic, ableist, racist, Islamophobic – basically every identity-phobic that doesn’t apply to him – of all times. By not accepting our identities, he is invalidating our existence, our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But we cannot let him do this, destroy our self-worth. We have fought so hard to get this far to let one man eradicate everything.
We have the absolute right to feel depressed, anxious, worried, angry, scared, and disappointed. But we cannot sit here and point fingers at who didn’t vote or who voted for Trump. Nor is violence the answer. That will take us nowhere. Take time to practice self-care and recover from this tragic night/day. It really sucks that it has to come to this, but when we are ready, we will fight this battle harder than we have ever before in the history of time. We will trump Trump and prove that he is wrong in every way possible. We will achieve that sweet victory. Now more than ever, we must depend on each other, our communities, and the local and state governments more than ever. Get to know your state representatives, vote in local/state and midterm elections, and push for a clear agenda. Build up organizations that support your causes to stand stronger and mightier. There’s a whole lot more of us than there is of him. We must remind ourselves as we the people of the United States, have the greatest power of all, and we must use that power in productive ways and keep moving forward.
At least for me, this is what I’ve known my whole life and has motivated me to get to this point – proving people wrong from left to right. I deeply value my identity as an Asian-American women living with cerebral palsy and depression/anxiety/PTSD. I am a survivor of many uncompromising, tragic events, I am a college-educated nasty woman, and I am already making my mark on the earth. And I will not be stopped, especially not by this man. In my books, Trump will never be my president. So, to the senile old white man who told me I’m screwed:
You’re hella wrong because you have no idea what I am capable of. Just wait and see.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s sure as hell not going to be an easy four years, but we will come out of it only stronger than ever before.