Local Commentary

Editorial: The Frightened Marginalized

There are millions of marginalized people in our land today who since the presidential election Tuesday are now experiencing raw fear, not only from policies Donald Trump might initiate but also from the horrible way that his candidacy has entitled levels of hate and rage in the population.

It is paramount that progressive leaders, all of us really, immediately and publicly pledge to protect all the fearful among us with absolute resolve.
In this region, Latinos are those most likely to be anguished if not viscerally fearful. It is predictable that those least personally anguished and most likely to accommodate to a Trump presidency are enfranchised members of the nation’s majority, white male or female persons, whether as politicians, commentators or educators.

But the impact of the Trump win is felt entirely differently among racial, ethnic and religious minorities of all kinds, anyone who is “different” from the Caucasian norm. It’s hard for someone who is not a person of color to appreciate. Many Latinos, even if in the U.S. completely legally, fear being subjected to harassment and profiling by law enforcement, and fear friends or relatives they may know who are not secure being here.

Muslims face a similar concern and there are a lot of stories of profiling where Muslim citizens are singled out to be subjected to searches or questions.

Gays, or LGBT persons, are equally concerned. Even if Trump has said somewhat favorable things about LGBT persons, the rage he has effectively sanctioned and unleashed across the U.S. will contribute to angry muggings and harassment. Also, Trump has vowed arch-conservative appointments to the Supreme Court such that matters related to gay marriage and other protections will be in jeopardy. Women, of course, and the control of women over their own bodies will be up for oppressive rulings by a Supreme Court stuffed with Trump appointees.

With Trump having gotten away with the sleaziest language of sexual assault caught on tape during the campaign, it is not only the Supreme Court that may impinge on women, but men in general as well, feeling empowered to be “Just Like Trump” (after all, he’s our president), to escalate the objectification and assaults on women.

But the genuine setback for the status of women in our culture represented by the optics of the Trump campaign spreads a degraded image of humanity to all. Trump’s slavish obsession with young and attractive women sanctions an open door to the greater mainstreaming of pornography and prostitution which in an economically-austere economy, lures young people.

Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN that addresses the needs of LGBT youth in schools, commented following Tuesday’s election that the way forward is “Values, not parties. Governance, not politics. Education not indoctrination. Love for the long haul, not ‘likes.’”

“The currency of love is focused attention,” she added. “Let’s give those most frightened and confused our love today.”