For the past 21 years of my life, I have lived the typical American life. I was raised in a four person household in a nice neighborhood. There were children on my street that I got to know very well. I participated in little league and parks and recreation soccer programs. I joined the Cub Scouts, then the Boy Scouts and, eventually, became an Eagle Scout. I competed at the varsity level in a high school sport and struggled with asking someone out to homecoming. I got my learners permit, my license and maybe got in a “little” fender bender. I spent my time, like every other kid, growing up in America.
Tuesday’s presidential election reminded me that I am not like everyone else. See the big thing that separates me from the rest of America is that I’m not white. I’m an Indian kid from the town of Groton, Connecticut and my name is Amar. On Tuesday, I was reminded that no matter how long I live here, this country will never be mine. I love America. I love everything that it stands for. I love the idea of freedom to say what is on your mind. The idea that you can be who you want to be.
On Nov. 8, 2016 all of that belief for this country was shattered when Donald J. Trump was chosen as the 45th president of the United States. Trump represents everything that I cannot believe in. He ran on a platform of misogyny, xenophobia, islamophobia and sexism. He ran on a platform that incited violence towards those who weren’t straight, heterosexual white men. And then to top it off, he asked us to basically forget about all of that and work with him now that he’s president.
It’s a nice sentiment, but I’m sorry, I cannot in good faith put my support behind a man who seeks to end the great immigration history that our country is proud of. I’m the son of two immigrants who were able to come to this country in the “legal” way. Not everyone is that lucky, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to stay here. Some of them have been here their entire lives. This is their home too.
Prior to becoming president, Trump made sexist, horrible comments that glorified sexual assault. Maybe Trump doesn’t know, but one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. Women, whether the GOP believes it or not, are people too. They do not deserve to be treated like they do not matter.
Trump even managed to call for the banning of an entire religion of people entering the United States. He played into everyone’s fears and allowed for blanket hysteria to take over the country. He alienated an entire group of people who have been living here for a very long time.
But at the end of the day, all of this is old news. We all knew all of this going into Tuesday’s election.
I have encountered racism my entire life, some of it unintended and some of it very pointed. But when you’re a person of color, it’s something that you have to accept and move on. Yet on Tuesday, I was reminded that there was more racism in this country than I had ever really encountered. People came of out of the woodwork to vote for a man that was the exact opposite of everything that makes America great, no matter what Trump’s campaign slogan is.
This morning I woke up to a country that supposedly didn’t want to acknowledge me. A country that was fine with me being here as long as my voice didn’t count. The polls showed that the majority of America thinks that I’m no better than a visitor in their home. And I’ll be honest, the thought of a Trump presidency absolutely terrifies me. If the comments I’ve had to endure over the past few months are any indication of the future, then it’s going to be a rough four years.
But even with all of that I refuse to back down from who I am. A Trump presidency only forces me and everyone else more than ever to reaffirm the values that really make America great. This election brought out the worst in this country. Now is the time to bring out the best. I’m here to say that I am as American as everyone else. This country is my home and the home of every single group that Trump has tried to offend during his campaign. I’ve been here 21 years and don’t plan on leaving any time soon.