Wake the Vote reunion? Yes. Another encounter with Trump and his supporters? No, thank you. Two things come to mind when thinking about the Republican National Convention that is to come in a few days.
- Being with Wake the Vote again!
When you’ve spent 2/3 of a semester with a group of people, slept in an airport thousands of miles from home together, and been to many, many, many triggering political rallies together, it’s safe to say you’ve created a bond with them. And never would I have guessed that I would so viscerally miss this group of people, but I do, and I am counting down the days until I can see them again.
2. My dread in knowing that Donald Trump and his supporters will be in my vicinity.
When Trump first announced his candidacy for the Presidential election, a large majority of the American people did not take him seriously– I was one of them. Despite the skepticism about Trump’s intentions with the election, he soon began to gain momentum. His incendiary words started gaining traction. His blatantly flawed– and rather bigoted– rhetoric somehow captured the hearts of (some of) the American people. I was still in disbelief, laughing at the mention of his name and “president” in the same sentence. I thought that his continuing presence in the primary was like an inside joke, shared by basically everyone in the United States. The only reason why he prevailed in the polls was because we considered him a good source of entertainment in the debates. Ha. Ha.
That impression was quickly put to rest when I attended the Trump rally in New Hampshire. The Trump supporters that I initially thought to be just internet trolls with a good sense of humor turned out to be actual people who genuinely and sincerely believed in his platform’s stances. As time painstakingly passed, I slowly began to realize the severity of the situation. I could finally put a face to the tweets, the online comments, and the polls that had gotten him to the stage then in NH as the words floated off the screen and onto the lips of those sitting right next to me. It was no longer a joke. Several individuals yelled fervently as they booed away protesters, yelling “Go away Four Eyes (A protester was wearing glasses)!” It was no longer the national joke that everyone was in on. The crowd roared as the promises of a wall and the eradication of political correctness were voiced. It was never a joke.
I left that day feeling perplexed. How could anyone support that man? How could anyone possibly believe that the words of this man were of substance? How could anyone be so bent on the introduction and implementation of policies that invalidate the various lived experiences of many groups of people? How could anyone do that? These questions are questions that I have yet to have found the answers to. And these answers are probably answers that I will continue to seek as I make my way through the RNC this week. I do not think I have explicit expectations of this week. If anything, I have a feeling my lived experiences, and those of many other intersectionally marginalized identities, will be questioned, poked, and prodded as Donald Trump exploits bits and pieces of my life story to pander to the crowds.