Not-So-United States of America

A rise in hate crimes shows that Trump has completely lost control of his supporters

By Soulet Ali

A week has passed since the presidential election, and although the shock of the results has somewhat subsided, many Americans and much of the world still feel as if their new reality is like that of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Donald Trump has been consistently incoherent when explaining his policies and flagrant in his racist, sexist, and overall offensive speech—yet, somehow, America still elected him. His extreme rhetoric has now seemed to inspire hatred and violence far beyond his control, exposing his vulnerabilities as a supposed leader. Although he has weakly called for some attempts at bipartisan unity, it will take much more than that to fix the deep chasm that now runs through the country.  

In the wake of Trump’s win I was left dumbfounded, with a burgeoning horror rising inside me as I considered how this reflected on American society. The results illustrate that bigotry, though perhaps not flagrant, is still strong and alive in this nation. For those that voted Trump, claiming to have sided with him over Hillary Clinton on matters of “policy,” you may not be a racist, homophobic or sexist—but you voted for a man and an administration full of this hateful and polarizing spirit to lead our country. If anything, this decision discloses the priorities of the American people. Real economic issues with industry and Obamacare do exist—and they are all valid issues—but why are these seen as more important than the lives of women and minorities? This is an unpredictable man with a united Republican Congress and a vice president-elect that advocates for conversion therapy. One can only hope for the best and assume the worst. Trump himself has stated after the election results that “it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division, we have to get together” and that “all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation…[need] to come together as one united people.” However, the extensive damage that a Trump win has already inflicted upon the minority population will prove more than difficult to repair: It will be a tremendous and near impossible undertaking. Starting from the onset of his campaign, Trump has snowballed a fiery rise of hatred in the nation, which has now inflamed beyond his control. His victory has created a new wave of hate crimes: Muslim women have reported their hijabs forcibly being torn off and the LGBTQ+ community has seen a rise in both physical and verbal attacks.  

“[Hate crime is] everywhere,” said Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen to CNN. “In schools, in places of business like Walmart, on the street.” And although there have been various reports of Trump supporters being physically attacked, this number pales in comparison to the amount of harassment and cruelty minorities have had to face. The Southern Poverty Law Center has actually reported more than 300 counts of hate crime since election day, as of November 15. That number is sure to grow not only in the upcoming days but also throughout the next four years. Our nation is radically estranged, and Trump’s best effort at attempting to cleave the major differences has been to simply say “Stop it.” This is as juvenile and foolish as a man can get. Now that the campaign is over, Trump needs to form some semblance of propriety, and the use of volatile rhetoric will no longer appease the public over the many issues facing our country. The problems that exist cannot be cured by his speech, only his actions, and he has already proved to be utterly inadequate. Trump has lost reign over his extremists, and in the face of this, he has been fully revealed as spineless. This is not a man worthy of the Oval Office. I have no respect for him. And he is certainly #notmypresident. 

Soulet Ali is a first-year in the College.