By Linda Sarsour, Jessica Valenti, Syreeta McFadden, Trevor Timm, John Paul Brammer
16 March 2016
I’m a Muslim American
Donald Trump is a demagogue who has created an environment of acceptable bigotry against American Muslims with absolutely no accountability from his party or the mainstream media.
His false claims, like the ludicrous idea that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated 9/11, are extremely dangerous. History has taught us that there are extreme consequences if we don’t address the threat he poses immediately and unite against hate. His outlandish, illegal and immoral proposed policies – like banning Muslims from entering the US and building a wall to keep then out – inspires vigilantism among his supporters aimed at communities of color, including Muslims.
This is particularly concerning in a moment when we are seeing a spike in hate crimes against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, vandalism against mosques and assaults on women who wear the hijab.
You know what scares me more than Donald Trump, though? It’s the silent majority. He has empowered people to openly express hateful and bigoted behavior that in some cases has turned violent – and that’s the most dangerous thing of all.
I’m a woman
All of the Republican candidates running for president would be terrible for women’s rights, but Donald Trump seems to take particular joy in disparaging women - or as he likes to call us: slobs, fat, pigs or dogs.
Since Trump has no political experience to speak of, we can’t look at past policies on women, we only have his words to guide us. And those words paint a disturbing picture of deep hatred for women.
Trump has called a woman “disgusting” for breastfeeding, said he would like to date his daughter if they weren’t related, disparaged an opponent by calling him a “pussy”, noted in New York magazine that you should treat women “like shit”, and suggested that a female debate moderator who was tough on him must have been menstruating. He would later call his same woman a “bimbo”. This is also a man who has sexually harassed a woman on air, blamed rape in the military on the fact that men and women serve together, is anti-choice, has been accused of sexual assault by two women, and was the long-time owner of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants – some of the most retrograde sexist contests imaginable.
We don’t need Trump to have a political background to give us clues about how dangerous he’d be for women – he’s already told us, again and again.
I’m an African American
Donald Trump is a mouthpiece for the unsavory, racist, xenophobic notions of the mob that supports him. He retweets white supremacists. He’s loathe to disavow the KKK. Reports and of these rallies shows that he gives permission to them to express their racial animus. And it’s terrifying.
Cable news media’s attempts to be fair and balanced normalizes his extreme nativist views, and people act them out. Last week, a white man in Milwaukee shot three of his neighbors after learning at least one of them was from Puerto Rico. An Illinois cop allegedly participated in a stabbing of a young Arab American teen in California. It doesn’t matter at this point if Trump wins or loses, the damage is done.
The portion of white Americans who support Trump are emboldened. The climate this creates for white American extremism and violence is the threat. Trump’s candidacy and his supporters are manifestations of white supremacy fighting back against a coming sea change in the demographics of this nation. I don’t know what I fear more at this point: the potential of a Trump presidency, or the fevered violence of the mob following his lead.
I’m a journalist
One can only imagine what press freedom will look like under President Trump. In just the past two weeks, Trump has referred to the press corps covering him as “lying, thieving reporters”, a Trump official threatened to have a columnist arrested if he left the “press pen” in which their campaign regularly corrals reporters, and a photographer got choke-slammed at one of his rallies.
Trump’s disdain for the first amendment is nothing new – in various ways, he has shown contempt for virtually every major clause, whether it’s freedom of the press, assembly and religion. But every day he seems to find new ways to shock and disturb: on Monday he said every person who protests against him should be arrested, because an “arrest mark” would “ruin the rest of their lives”.
Maybe our only hope if he becomes president is that his understanding of first amendment law is startlingly dumb. He complained his free speech rights were being violated by citizens exercising their own rights, and once even declared that Univision, a private company, was violating the first amendment for cancelling his Miss Universe broadcast.
He’s threatened to sue various newspapers over a story he didn’t like so many times, it’s hard to count. Because media organizations don’t normally comply with his censorious demands, he’s also claimed he’s going to “open up” libel laws in this country when he’s president.
Unbeknownst to Trump, there is no federal libel law from him to repeal, unless you count the first amendment itself. But if his recent actions are any indication, he’s won’t let the pesky Bill of Rights get in his way.
I’m a Mexican American
John Paul Brammer
We Mexican Americans have been the unwilling victims of Donald Trump’s campaign since day one. People felt more comfortable laughing him off back then. But for us, he has never been a joke.
His strategy hasn’t changed: tap into pre-existing racism, amp it up with rhetoric, with promises of mass deportations and a huge wall, and then redirect that energy to his campaign. It is working remarkably well.
Fewer people are amused now than they were when Trump first entered the race. But my thoughts are the same. I think of my undocumented friends. I imagine life without them. I worry for them. I think of my brown-skinned family, of my mother and of my abuelos, and I imagine what might happen to them if Donald Trump wins.
America already has plenty of mass removals under its belt. America today commits violent raids against Central American refugees. America has passed “show me your papers” laws before. What would prevent President Trump from carrying out the policies he’s promised?
Tensions continue to rise. What happened in Chicago shows we are reaching a tipping point. I suspect more unrest in the weeks to come. But for us Mexican Americans, for us Latinos, this tension has been a constant. We are angry. We are afraid.
John Paul Brammer