November 8, 2016—a historic day that determined the path of the modern world. A day that revealed the truth of the people in one of the world’s most coveted, admired countries—a day where I knew, for sure, where I stood as a woman, as a Latina, as a human.
For a while now I’ve seen how the first world is slowly moving towards the inevitable third global war, and for that time I’ve often told myself that I am just imagining things, that the face of America I’m seeing is a figment of my imagination, that Americans are smarter than to elect someone that will surely damage the progress the country has made during the last eight years. That Americans will surely never regress to the reality of racial tension, segregation and violence that occurred during the 1950’s…I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Today, November 10th— think there is a great possibility I might see a sign my father once saw when he was stationed in Louisiana during basic training for the US Army—a sign that read “no niggers, no dogs, no porto ricans” in that order.
What happened in Puerto Rico?
Fear is what happened.
As the results for the next governor of the US territory invaded my television screen and radio airwaves, I witnessed the push towards a different path my fellow islanders and I are so desperate for, as more voters chose the independent candidate Alexandra Lúgaro, who earned a record 11.11% (a total of 172, 882) of the votes—unprecedented, un-thought of for a candidate of this kind, it wasn’t enough for her to win. However historic this was, ultimately fear of letting go of big brother won; leaving the politically inexperienced and ever-redundant Ricardo Roselló, the candidate for the Partido Nuevo Progresista – PNP (New Progressive Party) with a 41.76% (a total of 649,569) of the votes, making him the governor-elect of Puerto Rico.
Disappointment. Still, I know that while Puerto Rico is very set in its ways and is extremely slow to change. If I’ve learned anything from yesterday it’s that change is going to happen. Independent candidates like Lúgaro and Manuel Cidre (who earned an equally historic 5.72% [89,051] of the votes—making that double the amount than the candidate for the third primary party—Maria de Lourdes Santiago, who ran under the Partido Independendista Puertorriqueño – PIP [Puerto Rican Independent Party] and walked away with 2.13% [33,173] of the votes) proved that. The results show that we are, in fact, tired of the partisan government and pushing for a major change. We just need to push harder.
The meltdown of the United States Democracy
From the island, a place where my permanent residency has been established about four years ago, therefore stripping me of my right to vote for the President of the United States—those who “own” this island—I watched as the mainland shifted, and revealed my greatest fear: Trump winning the Presidency.
I need to stop for a moment and ask; what really did win?
From where I’m standing, I saw hate, racism, degradation, sexism and the encouraging of gender, sexual orientation and religious persecution win. From where I’m standing, I saw elitism win. I witnessed as racial divide made a reappearance. From where I’m standing, all those who voted for Donald Trump under the pretext of religious beliefs, all those who voted against corruption (or “crooked Hillary”), all those who were desperate to find a solution to the economy while trying to create more jobs in the US, along with the excuse that they were fed up of the same failed promises of previous and current candidate(s)—I saw you all vote against the hundreds of millions of people who are part of your own country. I watched as you voted against immigrants, both legal and illegal; I saw you elect a man who has a tragic history of business management, a fraudulent record, and one who is a bully a rapist and a bigot, a man who has bragged about physical and sexual assault. I saw you elect that man into office with a great deal of sadness in my heart. I saw as you praised the Lord for giving you the man who has outsourced hundreds of thousands of American jobs to cut costs, and who thinks he is smart enough to commit federal crime (tax evasion) as president.
As I watched his campaign earned more and more followers, and saw him encourage violence, assault, hate, I saw you cheer him on, while letting him get away with the violation of women, the verbal abuse of the disabled, and I heard you continuously label him as who “God chose” to lead Americans into the next four years of your and our history. With my heart still broken, I am not surprised that this is who you truly are. In the face of Donald Trump I see all those people who denied me opportunities because of my gender, because of my race, because of my weight, or all of the above. I was reminded that as people often think of the United States as the land of opportunity, it has been the land of opportunities for me to realize that I, and millions of others like me are nothing to Americans. I just didn’t think any of the people who I once considered my closest friends saw themselves properly represented by this man. Then again, we really don’t know who our friends are. We never really know one another…
For those who voted for Trump because you wanted to vote against Clinton, you ultimately voted against me. For those who voted for Trump because you saw in him your Christian values, you voted against me. For those who voted for Trump for any other reason, you voted against me, against the LGBTQ community, against the right to choose, against women, against opportunity, against social, gender, and pay equality, you voted against freedom—you all voted against anything different than you.
You elected hate, racism, segregation, deportation, censorship and lynching—if you’re of immigrant parents, you voted against them and their life’s sacrifice. If you are a minority, a woman, Asian, Muslim, Black, Latina/o, a member of the LGBTQ community, disabled, poor and voted for Trump you, my friend, voted against yourself and your basic human rights. If you elected Trump with the hopes that he would bring back jobs, making “America Great Again” remember, that this is a man who cares not for the welfare of the people; he is a beneficiary of the Dakota Access Pipeline—one that contaminates water, violates treaties and sacred lands—you voted for regression, not progression.
Because of you, millions of lives are now at risk.
Photo credit: Getty Images