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I am not a victim

| Thursday, December 1, 2016

On Election Night, I was amazed when I gradually saw states turning red on my television screen. Granted, if I were able to switch out then-presidential nominee Donald J. Trump for Sen. Marco Rubio or Sen. Ted Cruz, I would have. Nevertheless, given the outcome of the primary elections, I had accepted and supported our presidential nominee. Once Pennsylvania was called and Clinton had conceded, I was overwhelmed. Americans made their voices heard through the ballots and proved that they were also ready for a change. To say that this made me proud of our constitutional republic would be an understatement.

However, to my surprise, on Wednesday morning my mailbox was flooded with emails regarding classes being cancelled, safety pins being given out, immediate prayer services taking place and services on campus offering their “safe spaces.” The emails I received from the administration insinuating that Trump’s victory proves a threat to my existence as a minority and a woman is ridiculous. It seems as though I am objectively viewed as a victim of an election that ultimately placed a “white male” in the Oval Office.

As a Hispanic, Republican woman from the San Francisco Bay Area who was raised in a family that overwhelmingly votes Democrat, hearing opposing political views is nothing new. However, being called a “fake Mexican,” a “disgrace,” and being told that “my heart is full of hate” through social media and in person has been astonishing. The amount of times I have been told my “white privilege is showing” is comical to say the least. Trump supporters have been called racists, but the ultimate form of prejudice is when it’s expected and assumed that all women, or even all Hispanics, must have identical ballots. We all have our reasons why we voted the way we did, and to assume that someone voted red because they are chauvinistic, hateful individuals is nothing short of a self-righteous disposition. To say you voted for Hillary because you “stand against hate” yet continue to act hatefully and judgmentally toward people who voted for Trump is hypocritical at best.

To provide “safe spaces” and handout safety pins is in no way preparing anyone for the real world. When I am working at my first job, post college, it would be a stretch to assume they have safe spaces available to protect my feelings. I understand how polarizing this election has been, but to act as if Trump’s election is the end of the world seems outrageous. Claiming someone is “extremely privileged” because his or her personal choices are different than yours is also a tad extreme.

The faculty and administration have not been shy in supporting the student protests, but do they also support the students who stand with the president-elect? Do they stand with them against the hate they have received? Personally, I have grown tired of this campus depicting those who lean right as horrendous individuals. Meanwhile, there are posters for undocumented students, female students, Muslim students, Black students, Hispanic students, minority students and LGBTQ+ students stating, “We accept you for who you are.” I fail to fathom why white students have been left off of these posters and are ultimately seen as “the oppressors” on campus. I understand the call for diversity, and being a Mexican-Nicaraguan daughter of an immigrant, I have not been blind to it. However, to portray me as a monster because I voted for a candidate who insists on a strict border policy and a stronger national defense to defeat the ideology of radical Islamic terrorism, a serious threat to this nation, is incredible.

While I have the utmost respect for professors and the administration at this institution, it would be a lie to say political opinions were not made clear this past week. This is true not only within the tri-campus community, but at college campuses around the country. Now more than ever, conservative college students have voiced concerns over their grades being jeopardized for expressing views contrary to those of their professors. However, while I have witnessed this unfortunate circumstance occur to my peers, I have absolute faith in the integrity of Saint Mary’s College.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States of America. I understand the importance of open dialogue on college campuses, but ultimately masking your views in an academic setting to avoid offending the ideology of someone else is harmful to intellectual growth. Consistently spewing hateful rhetoric towards people who hold opposing viewpoints and tastefully disagreeing are two different actions. While this is a time to unite as Americans and move forward in preparation for new leadership, it is also a time to stay true to beliefs.

To my fellow deplorables: Remember that you too have a voice, so do not back down. While it is important to listen and learn from those around you, it is also important to stand your ground. Reject the fatal concept of identity politics. Do not let the fear of being labeled a traitor, racist, sexist, homophobe or bigot diminish your ability to stand strong in your conservative beliefs. Keep showing up at the polls and let God handle the rest. As Alexander Hamilton once stated, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Christina Herrera
class of 2018
Nov. 17

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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