By Maxine Diehl
Millions of Americans are looking to escape Trump by fleeing the country to go to Europe or Canada. In fact the immigration site crashed due to the number of people trying to apply. I have a passport which allows me to live in Europe, but I don’t want to. I was raised reading American literature, speaking English, being taught by American teachers in an American school system, watching American TV... the list goes on. I never really identified with being German, because I never fit into my hometown. I was a complete misfit my entire time growing up [in Germany], looking, acting and talking differently from everyone around me. That’s why I was bullied for over six years. When I finally moved to America, something I’d dreamed of since I was very young, I felt at home. I was accepted in a diverse environment, where everyone could be themselves. Or so I thought.
Yesterday’s election made me question everything I loved about this home, about what I previously believed America to be. I was paralyzed when I saw Trump’s numbers go higher and higher and, by the time he started his speech, I was sobbing. Was America really just a more intense version of the bullies I’d feared while growing up? A country that hated people because of their differences, that tried to eliminate everyone who had opinions different from its own and where everyone had to look the same? If this was true, then I didn’t want to belong here, which in a sense made me homeless. I didn’t feel at home in Germany and I didn’t want to feel at home in America. I curled up in a ball on my bed and refused to go to class, to move, to do anything.
And this feeling and self-pitying makes me a massive hypocrite. The people who voted Trump didn’t just magically appear overnight; they were always there, I just chose to ignore them. I wasn’t confronted enough with the issues that are now arising in America. I glorified the country, just because it accepted me, but didn’t acknowledge all the people who weren’t being accepted. All through this election time, I did nothing but despise Trump supporters and pray it would all be over soon. I didn’t consider what his support meant or how I could help those who would be immensely affected by his win.
If Trump winning is what it takes for us to actually start acting on our beliefs, then we deserve this shock. Those people who are running away despite actually taking initiative before are cowards. I myself am ashamed of the lack of support I have given to victims of sexual assault, the LGBTQ+ community, the bullied minorities or the disabled. This presidency is no longer about politics, it’s about empathy and education. I’m going to start educating myself, and so should you.