A gay male student of mine posted this to Facebook today. Trump’s rally was happening in downtown Appleton, just blocks from our campus. I thought it summarized really well what it’s like to be one of the kinds of people Trump hates, and all of this goes double/triple/ad infinitum for those who are of color, immigrants, etc.
This morning I had to keep the Trump rally in mind, even though I have the privilege of passing if I stay quiet, tone down any effeminate qualities I might exhibit on a daily basis. I kept in mind that going downtown near where the rally would be is unsafe and ill-advised today, but since I hadn’t planned to be downtown, it was a distant threat for me. However, upon getting to class this morning, things became very personal and uncomfortable for me even before the lecture started.
A few guys to my left were talking about the Trump rally and I ended up overhearing that they had gotten tickets for it. Curiously and perhaps stupidly, I listened in to what they were talking about. From what I understood, they didn’t necessarily support Trump or his proposed policies, but rather they just wanted to be there to see people get beat up and fights breaking out. Of course, as someone who was already keeping in mind the danger of downtown, I now felt uncomfortable in class, something I did not expect.
For anybody who does not fit the model of citizen Trump endorses and privileges, a world under Trump is not only insane, it’s dangerous and terrifying. As I noted this morning, you don’t just have to worry about policies: you have to worry about the even larger mass of people who just wish ill on someone else, just for their amusement and power over them. The guys in class probably didn’t wish ill on me for being gay or for my often very liberal views, but by hoping for violence at the Trump rally, they indirectly are wishing violence upon me. People who support Trump or people who just want to see the violence out in the world are indirectly supporting an environment in which many people who don’t fit Trump’s view of “a great America” have to fear daily harassment or assault, possibly for reasons they can’t even control.
This is not something that is easy to think about. However, if you are privileged enough to only have to consider this kind of violence because you’re reading this, please understand that for some people, this fear and terror is a reality every day already, but even more so if Trump ascends to power. All I ask is that you consider this.