Though most of us hoped November 9 would be the end of the nightmare that has been the hellish politics of 2016, it was only the beginning. Since then, president elect Donald Trump has begun assembling his advisory teams-- and he has chosen no one other than Steve Bannon, former Breitbart chairman, as his chief strategist. While we’re not too surprised, we are still disappointed. Trump has recently begun to back away from the extremist rhetoric we’ve grown used to hearing from him in the last year, going as far as dropping his plans to repeal Obamacare and strip LGBT members of their rights.
It’s become clear that Trump is willing to edit his morals based on who he is trying to please, whether it be conservative Republicans, queer people, women, or people of color. At this point, no one can be quite sure what to expect from our president elect next year, let alone next week. However, one ugly thing that’s come out of this election that’s sure to stay is the extreme alt-right movement we are seeing more and more of.
An abandoned building tagged on election day in Wellsvile, NY. Photo by Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily Reporter.
Websites like Breitbart publish nationalistic content that continues to feed the fire of prejudice and oppression in America today. This party, often referring to themselves as “the alternative right,” has been commonly tagged as our generation’s nazi regime. Many Trump supporters categorize their beliefs under this party- the same voters who proudly shout chants and wave signs that uphold their white supremacist beliefs.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has constantly condoned and/or encouraged racism, whether it be through his hateful rhetoric towards immigrants or by refusing to acknowledge the KKK’s obviously hateful motives. He took it one step further last week by appointing a white nationalist to a top White House position. As chairman of Breitbart News, a self-proclaimed “platform for the alt-right,” he controlled content of the site and allowed aggressive bigotry to be trafficked through it. The sea of examples is painful to sort through; one particularly heinous article from the site was written by none other than Milo Yiannopoulos, one of Twitter’s most hated users. The entire piece is based on claims that birth control makes women “sluts” and “fat.” Another one frames being transgender as an epidemic, consistently using a slur to address the LGBT members. Countless other articles have obvious racist and extremist undertones that could be mistaken as ones written in the early 20th century. Bannon himself has a history of anti-semitic beliefs, on top of the prejudiced articles he had published on Breitbart.
Now that one of the highest positions has been filled by a hateful nationalist, it’s been made clear what direction our country is headed in for the next four years. Trump has opened a gateway to hate in America that extremists like Bannon have made impossible to close. His entire campaign made it easier to excuse and even justify oppression: hundreds of hate crimes have been committed in Trump’s name since November 9. The most hateful racists, misogynists, and homophobes have stepped into light while hiding behind an unsuspecting title-- “alt right.” Why don’t we admit that the phrase is synonymous with hate?
An Open Letter To Trump Supporters, and an Open Letter to the People Who Will Never Stop Fighting Him By Allison Pinski
Once again, we were forced to watch an overly-qualified and rational woman suffer a deafening loss to a man with no experience in her field. This happened all the time, maybe not on as large a scale as President of the United States, but it’s a tale most women are used to hearing. I sat hunched over my laptop in Croatia for almost nine hours, watching every development of this election through the New York Times. I watched as the votes came in, and I watched helplessly as my home state, New Hampshire, flipped between red and blue, sometimes showing less than 1,000 votes separating Clinton and Trump.
When it finally ended, and the last precincts were reporting, I was shocked. Crushed. Desolate. Hopeless. Hillary was supposed to win. She had the experience, confidence, knowledge, drive, connections, motives. She had it all. Trump was a laughing stock, a lunatic who happened to make it past the primaries. He was never supposed to win the coveted position. He was never supposed to be elected President.
To the Trump supporters telling us we’re overreacting: Do not tell me to calm down. Do not tell me I’m being overdramatic. And do not tell me everything will be okay. You’re assuring me the world won’t end because you cannot even fathom the horrors you’ve unleashed on so many Americans.
The Trump/Pence platform is a disaster for anyone who isn’t rich, white, male, straight, or any combination of the four.
If you’re a member of the LGBT+ community, you’re already familiar with Pence’s long homophobic history of conversion therapy and the outdated beliefs that only a man and woman should share a last name.
If you’re a woman who cares about her rights, you already know your access to safe and legal abortions and affordable healthcare through groups like Planned Parenthood are under attack. You also know that with Trump leading the White House, rape culture and “locker room talk” will keep protecting boys like Brock Turner, while punishing women like Daisy Coleman, Audrie Pott, and all of the courageous women who spoke out against Trump.
If you’re a minority, you’ve lived under the overarching shadow of white supremacy your whole life. In a nation built on the backs of slaves and spilt Native American blood, you saw the Trump presidency as a delay in real social change for another four years.
If you’re an environmentalist, you’re already imagining how worse our impact on this earth is going to be under a president who won’t acknowledge the existence of climate change.
To the white Trump voters: In the midst of some of the worst racial violence I’ve seen in my twenty-one years, you chose to completely undermine the work of our first black president. Race and ethnicity played such a large role in this election whether you recognize that or not. You also voted for the same dynamic duo that David Duke of the KKK endorsed. It’s no coincidence that a candidate as ignorant as Trump is elected (and endorsed by the KKK) after Barack Obama. I am genuinely baffled you chose to overlook Trump’s supremacist politics scapegoating minorities. Reminds me of another European leader elected into power who scapegoated Jews.
You need to recognize how fortunate you are to not fear the policies of the candidates you just elected President and Vice President.
To the Trump supporters who were afraid of electing a female President: We almost elected the first female president. We almost made history. We almost showed little girls and hardworking women that they’re valued and appreciated. We almost took the most powerful stand we could against sexual assault, corruption, and rape culture.
But instead, you elected Donald Trump. A self-proclaimed champion for women, Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault by more than 12 women. And he’s going to sue every last one of them for slander. Is this what passes as a “champion for women” these days, because I am not impressed. You showed that a candidate can simultaneously grab women and the presidency “by the pussy.”
To anyone who voted third party: I support your passion, I support your protest, and I support your intellect, but you really messed up. When Bernie Sanders conceded to Clinton, he wasn’t giving up. He recognized that a divided front could never overcome Trump’s promises of fewer Muslims and Mexicans. Sanders endorsed Clinton because a Trump/Pence presidency would undermine all the progress made under Obama.
I respect Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, but I think they should have taken on the same responsibility to withdraw from the election. This election wasn’t about electing the lesser of two evils, it was about taking a stand against racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and climate change denials. This election was so close, especially in Pennsylvania and Florida (who should remember what happened between Bush, Gore, and third parties in 2000).
I support third parties and their validity. But social change needs to precede political action. If you want a candidate like Stein or Johnson or Sanders to have a chance at the presidency, we first need to elect third party candidates to local and state offices.
You just handed Trump and Pence not only the presidency, but the power to appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice and the cooperation of a Republican majority House and Senate.
To everyone who recognizes the danger of Trump’s impending presidency: We need to keep fighting. We will recognize the results of this election, but we will not recognize Donald Trump and Mike Pence as our presidential team. We will never refer to Trump as “President Trump,” and we won’t be complacent when he starts fulfilling his horrendous campaign promises.
We are going to fight him and his followers every step of the way to protect the rights of my friends and family across the world, and the environment. We are going to keep fighting, because this isn’t over.
Never stop speaking out, never stop fighting, never stop standing up for injustice.
We will never stand with him.
(Watch Hillary Clinton’s concession speech here or above.)
If you feel angry, upset, nauseous, defeated, or saddened by the prospect of a Trump/Pence presidency, you are not alone. Take a stand with us, join our team, and speak out against injustice. If you're interested in writing for us about social justice issues, and want to fight back against Trump, email us at email@example.com. Don't let your voice be silenced. The US needs you now more than ever.