Donald Trump is our president for the next four years.
As much as it pains me to accept that fact, it is the current reality for our profoundly divided nation. We have elected a man who has degraded women for decades, has sparked an inferno of unabashed racism, and has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
As a woman, I’m frightened.
As an environmentalist, I’m petrified.
Not only am I concerned for my fellow women and people of color, but I’m anxious for our planet as a whole.
As a Woman
Trump is a misogynist. This is a fact. He may have said a few “great” things about women over the years, but that doesn’t erase the decades of sexist insults and sexual objectification he has propagated.
If you need proof, he has insinuated that he’d date his daughter, Ivanka, if he wasn’t her father; stated in an ABC News interview that if his then-wife Marla Maples didn’t have dinner ready when he came home, that he’d “go through the roof”; in that same interview, he said that putting a wife to work is a “dangerous thing”; ranked famous women he’d like to sleep with on the Howard Stern radio show; compared women to buildings in his book Trump 101: The Way to Success; has attacked Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington over her looks and divorce, tweeting in 2012 that she is “unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man—he made a good decision”; and, of course, there’s the now infamous Billy Bush tape where he admitted that he has the privilege to grope women because of his star status.
The list of Trump’s misogynistic remarks goes on and on and on. I merely scratched the surface.
While I’m horrified of the President-elect’s unapologetic “locker-room talk,” I’m even more worried of the possible policies he may pass, especially since the Congress is still Republican controlled and his Vice President-elect, Mike Pence, is a champion of extreme conservative Christian values that restrict women’s rights and gay rights.
As he has declared many times, Trump wants to defund Planned Parenthood since it is, as he claims, an “abortion factory”. He desires to sue every woman who has come forward and accused him of sexual assault. He wants to punish women who get abortions. He wants to nominate an anti-choice Supreme Court justice to reverse Roe v. Wade.
Basically, it seems he craves to be the leader of a white Christian patriarchy where women have little to no say to what happens to their own bodies.
And yet, he’s a full-fledged hypocrite.
In the past, he has been pro-choice. Before the second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, he brought forth a panel of Bill Clinton accusers and asked for us to listen to them, respect them, and believe their accounts of sexual assault whilst ignoring and bashing his own accusers. He claims to respect all women yet has insulted the physical appearances of Rosie O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, and Heidi Cruz among others.
These are his own words. I could not make this up even if I wanted to.
Clearly, he is a threat to women’s reproductive rights. Despite our Constitution separating church from state, he has appealed to many conservative Christians who feel that aborting a fetus translates into baby murder. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has even tried to pass legislation in Indiana that would require women who get abortions to also pay for the funeral of the fetus—an abhorrent and arcane proposal that shames women who seek abortion.
Furthermore, his kind of misogynistic rhetoric is harmful for the nation and its children. His supporters, many of whom are white women, have dismissed his lewd comments from the Billy Bush tape, telling survivors of sexual assault to “get over it” and that that’s just “how men talk”.
That experience never leaves you.
And most men don’t speak in that kind of degrading manner—not in school hallways, not in intimate conversation, and certainly not in locker rooms.
To dismiss his objectifying comments is validation. By voting him as our leader, we have legitimized every racist, bigoted and chauvinistic remark he’s made—his voters basically told us that despite his threats to ban Muslims, deport millions of immigrants, and sue his sexual assault accusers, they can consciously live with those actions in order to get their America back.
They have, in a sense, normalized this kind of hateful rhetoric when Trump’s words are anything but normal. They are dangerous, they are vulgar, and much of the time baseless.
His lewd comments are an endorsement of misogyny that the children of our country will absorb. Young boys will be raised to think that Trump’s chauvinist comments are normal—that his words are acceptable, and so they can echo his vulgarity. Young girls will be raised to believe that they are nothing more than visual pleasures for men, required to have flawless bodies to quench their sexual thirst while having no say in their reproductive futures.
These are the reasons I am afraid as a woman.
Trump’s few acts of kindness towards women doesn’t excuse his overwhelming rhetoric of sexual objectification and degradation of us over his public career.
I am fearful of a patriarchal future where women who come forward with sexual assault allegations are further victimized by the masses, where women who seek abortions are deemed immoral and declared “baby killers,” where women who rely on Obamacare or Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings and birth control cannot attain either and where women are seen as sexual objects rather than intellectual individuals.
As An Environmentalist
Let me make this absolutely clear: climate change is real.
As a journalism student, I seek undeniable facts. My beliefs, therefore, lie in fact, and I strive to understand both sides of an issue. I aim to find the truth, and upon finding it, form my opinion.
And so, after reading climate research, watching documentaries, listening to environmental experts, and taking a course on the global environment here at Millersville, I am certain with every fiber of my being that climate change is real, it’s happening, and we’re in deep trouble due to President-elect Trump’s incorrect stance on the subject.
As many are aware, he believes that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and that our planet is, in fact, environmentally fine.
Except, well, it’s not.
Our oceans are rising due to the polar ice caps melting.
Droughts in the Southwest have decimated our crops and plants.
Greenland is shrinking from the mass desolation of its ice sheets.
This is a global catastrophe threatening not only our nation but every corner of our planet. And Trump refuses to believe in it.
Instead, he wants to further our toxic dependency on coal and oil. As he has proposed on his campaign website, as well as his new government-run website, he stated that “rather than continuing the current path to undermine and block America’s fossil fuel producers, the Trump Administration will encourage the production of these resources by opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters.”
America is already oil-addicted. Every day, we use upwards of 19 million barrels of oil, marking us at the world leader in oil consumption. This is why many scientists and environmental activists have condemned our energy practices. If we are the leader of the free world, then we have to set an example for other countries, such as China and India, by also being the leader of clean energy.
This is difficult, however, since many oil corporations, such as the Koch brothers, already have bought out countless Republicans through funding and lobbying, including U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and James Inhofe, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. These politicians, along with Trump, refuse to believe in the science of climate change, striking down any clean energy proposal that slides on their desks in exchange for small-term profits.
With Trump’s idea of further addicting ourselves to crude oil, it’ll take decades to reverse such policies back to the clean energy proposals that Obama has implemented. However, it may be too late after Trump’s presidency—we may or may not be able to reverse the damage done by further expansion of domestic oil production, fracking, and coal mining.
Even worse, Trump has expressed his desire to pull back from the Paris Climate Agreement, making him the only world leader on the planet who doesn’t believe in climate change.
Perhaps, it’s because his businesses profits of off the oil industry. Perhaps, he’s just that easily malleable by corporate interests or his Republican peers. Perhaps, he’s just so childish that he refuses to listen to distinguished scientists.
No matter the reason why, we are at a vital point in our planet’s future. We must, along with the rest of the world, transition into clean energy if we wish to preserve our environment and wildlife for future generations. The science proving this destructive phenomenon is bulletproof.
The scientific community critiques and scrutinizes one another’s studies. They are meant to dissect their colleagues’ findings to ensure its validity. Despite this, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and we must act quickly and thoroughly to stop its global consequences.
And for our President-Elect to dispel their findings is not only infuriating, but precarious. He will further pollute our planet, which will cause our oceans to swell and flood towns and cities, heat waves to char our once rich and diverse land, and melt all of the ice in the Arctic by mid-century.
If we don’t act soon, there may be no planet to save by the end of this century.
What Can We Do?
We can make our voices heard.
We must reject Trump’s vulgar rhetoric, and protect women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ+ individuals—anyone who is harassed or bullied by Trump and his supporters. Already, there has been a spike in hate crimes due to his win even in our very own state. At the University of Pennsylvania, black students were added to a group chat that subjected them to racial slurs along with threats and pictures of lynchings.
This is the kind of behavior that Trump has normalized. There have been accounts of young women being grabbed by men that have proclaiming that if Trump can do it, then so can they. Muslim women have had their hijabs ripped off. Latinos have been told to go back to Mexico or else be detained or deported.
This is Trump’s America—vicious, unapologetic, and xenophobic.
We cannot let racism be normalized. We cannot let misogyny be normalized. We cannot let any form of bigotry be normalized.
Still, what can we realistically do?
We can peacefully protest with our brothers and sisters in Philadelphia and other major cities.
We can educate ourselves through books in order to spread knowledge to those that quite don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman, to be black, to be Muslim, to be different.
We can contact our local and state politicians to reject Trump’s proposals we disagree with, and ensure that his business stays separate from his presidency.
We can donate to Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign Zero, EarthJustice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and many other organizations to help them combat injustice in these trying times.
Don’t let Trump silence your voice. Let it be heard, but be kind of others and their political opinions unless their beliefs seek to oppress or marginalize others—then, point out their alleged prejudice and, hopefully, they’ll see their wrongful discrimination. You may not always succeed at this, but the smallest effort may help. No matter what, however, further educate yourself on social issues you are passionate about or don’t know much about.
Fight this rising tide of bigotry, hatred, racism, and misogyny with knowledge, respect, and wisdom.