I am the daughter of an immigrant.
I grew up in a house divided by two cultures. I grew up speaking two languages. I grew up defending a mother who had an accent. I grew up having been glared at and even yelled at to speak in English because we were in America (may I remind them America has no official language?). I grew up watching how people had more respect for my father than my mother in serious situations like lawsuits, medical insurance and so forth. I have seen what that road can be like. Hell, even here in France I have been looked down upon (one time on the phone with my internet carrier, the woman on the line told me she did not understand and to call back when I spoke French).
In finding out that my mom could keep her natural origin and become a citizenship of the United States, she declared for it. She studied for the exam (and I gladly quizzed her) and the day she finally became a citizen she was happy. I remember going to the ballots with her for the first time and she was excited. She was voting in the country she had called home for the last 20 years for the very first time. When Arizona passed their Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act in 2010 (you know, that strict law which aliens have to carry papers with them at all times), my mom just shook her head. “If I am in Arizona and I am stopped by the police and open my mouth, I am screwed.” Even though she was an American citizen, the fact that she had a noticeable accent was still the issue. She then went on to talk about how the law was a direct act on Latinos, who were going to be stopped a lot because they look the part.
The day Obama won the presidential office, I just remember feeling exstatic. Our first black president. I got to see that happen. The class that the Obama family has displayed to the world is impeccable, and countries started to regain the respect that had been lost throughout the Bush years. I saw it. I saw it when I would visit Spain. I have seen it traveling. When I say I am an American, most people I have crossed paths with get excited and almost ALWAYS mention Obama and how they wish he was their President. America seemed to be progressing. We are the country that sells itself as progressive, and in part, we seemed to at least be doing it.
Today, the country has spoken. It wanted change. It will get change, but a change that will set us back years. I tried telling myself when I began to see that Trump was winning that at least the Senate or Congress would be blue… And when I saw that everything was red, I cried.
I cried for my country. I cried for my friends who come from a wide range of backgrounds (POC, white, LGBT, muslim, catholic, rich, poor, foreign). I cried for my boyfriend, who has always dreamed of getting to know the America it claims to sell itself by films and tv shows. I cried because showing him the America I thought I knew and grew up in feels impossible now. I cried for my mom, who lived under a dictatorship. Who is scared. Who is scared that this could become what she has lived through… Let that sink in. Someone who has seen the consequences of what this racist, misogynistic, fear mongering, sexual predator can do with the things he has promised to do is scared. I cried because I am a woman, and I do not feel safe that someone who is about to face a lawsuit for raping a 13 year old in the following month, who said he “grabs them by the pussy” and can’t retain himself from kissing women without their consent is about to take office. Who believes that women should be punished for what we choose to do with our bodies. I cried because the new Vice President Elect Mike Pence does not believe in gay rights and believes in conversion therapy. I am scared because this man wants to build a wall, like the one that was built in Germany and taken down 27 years ago today, between America and Mexico. I feel awful for the people who move to the United States to find a better living will now find the door being slammed in their faces. Even though my move to France was not as drastic as theirs, and I had a return date, I ended up staying in my foreign country because I ended up being offered an opportunity for an education that had been taken away from me back home. I am scared because America is red all across the board. Everything that Obama has done for the better will now be repealed (healthcare, global warming, etc… just to name a few). We will go backwards.
History seems to be repeating itself. As a history major, I always wondered how Rome, one of the greatest empires of all time, fell. I asked myself how Hitler could have come to power. Today, I felt like I could see a glimpse of that history. I read this article that I found interesting, which quoted the following :
At a local level in time people think things are fine, then things rapidly spiral out of control until they become unstoppable, and we wreak massive destruction on ourselves. For the people living in the midst of this it is hard to see happening and hard to understand. To historians later it all makes sense and we see clearly how one thing led to another.
I feel like this election is going to repeat an ugly side of history, the ugly side of revolution that we tend to overpass in high school history classes. Change is coming… but is it going to be a good one? How can America, 8 years after voting for the first black president, be voting for someone who is endorsed by the KKK?
Do I agree with how the DNC handled their stuff? Definitely not. Do I know that Hilary Clinton has a shady past? Yes. But I would rather have her in office, someone who is respected at an international level and not a mockery. Someone who has made deals with countries even when they were not easy nor the best decision. She was better than someone who has mocked disabled people, uses vulgar language, twitter as a platform when he doesn’t get his way to bully people who do not agree with him, insulted journalists when they were doing their job (because it didn’t sit well with him), someone who has committed sexual assaults, who sexualises and degrades women, doesn’t defend the LGBTQ community, claims to love veterans and fight for them but then mocks them and says they are not heroes because they were POW’s, thinks climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, who claims he wants jobs in America but most of his products are made in China, generalizes immigrants, has claimed bankruptcy, hasn’t done his taxes (and how people claim that is being a smart businessman I do not understand), has had multiple lawsuits for rape and job related stuff, and is being supported by the KKK. That is what America just voted into office today, and it was not fun having to answer the French’s question on how we could have let that happen.
I am not a political analyst, no. But I am a voice, and there are millions that I feel were silenced.
I am the daughter of an immigrant.
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