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An Open Letter to America

Since when did America, a country founded by immigrants, by freedom fighters, by naysayers oftyranny and monarchy, decide that fear would instill hatred, instead of courage and the offering of help?

Building walls, real or symbolic, has the same effect; distrust. Distrust in country-men who are supposed to stand up in arms for each other, speak up for each other, watch after each other.

This is not the world I want to live in.

More importantly, it is not the world I want my children to live in.

The influence of an individual with so much power is not just strong, but inevitable. He will shape the minds of thousands just by existing and by being given a platform to do so, so publicly. Lest not forget that already half the population thinks the way he does, voting for homophobia and misogyny and racism every time they cheer his name at a rally. And with every mind he influences and heart he hardens, hate propagates, and hate wins. If the consequences of one person pushing such cruelties is catastrophic, imagine the effect thousands will have. It will be devastating. It will be nuclear, like the codes he will hold.

Every act of hatred is a step backwards. This is not the future in which I want to raise my children.

The truth is, I am not sure he is as hateful as he claims to be. He is racist of course, gross in the way he treats women, and disloyal to the bone, but he lacks the conviction of a true hate monger. He is weak, and he is selfish, and combined this might be the most dangerous threat we have yet to face. One who will sell himself, those he loves, and definitely those he is indifferent to, for power. The most consequential job in the world, given to the most inconsequentially oriented man, is a recipe for disaster.

Our country is safe, but still we lead precautious lives. I am afraid to walk alone in the dark, and in the light, because my monsters look just like me. They are colleagues and neighbors, coworkers and fellow students. They have been fueled by an anger they recognize in themselves, and feel entitled to act as they may, following the largest and loudest example.

I am afraid for all those who do not look, worship, or talk like President Trump. I am afraid for the children born in America who will be sent away, expected to reappropriate themselves with a culture that is unfamiliar, and not truly their own. Worse, I am afraid for the children whose parents will have to leave, and who’s American dream will be cut short.

I am afraid for women, and our suffrage. It feels halted, all of a sudden. In my lifetime, I might never see a woman in the White House. It seems inconceivable that we will be respected, considered equal, by an individual who believes women exist for his taking and pleasure. Who can be grabbed, touched, shaped, lengthened, thinned, and rated as he wishes. How will we recover?

I am afraid for love. Legality can and should span the threshold for action and conspiracy, but not for that of emotion. Laws that govern emotions should be illegal, but alas, it is the emotions that will be regulated. I am very afraid for love.

And lastly, I am afraid for America. Your legacy has been one of strength, tolerance, hope, and dreams, please hold on to this. Thomas Jefferson said, “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” I believe this applies to the governing authority, and I believe your trust in authority is at its most tested and precarious. Do not underestimate the deep rootedness of hate in your country, for it is real, and evidently prominent. Stay strong, acknowledge and celebrate acts of kindness, large or small. Keep fighting for goodness. This is how you will win the election, after the fact.

Good luck.

– Maya Botti, mechanical engineering student at Concordia

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