This year has been a traumatic roller coaster all around. But for a lot of people, the turmoil didn’t start eight months ago.
Maybe the Karens have had a rough time of things since they can no longer leave their houses and harass innocent people, but while they have been advocating for their “rights,” many have been struggling with obtaining the ones they should already have.
For one of my LGBTQ friends, Victoria, life hasn’t been easy.
“Life for me has been significantly harder as an LGBTQ individual,” she said. “I have lost so many friends after coming out about being engaged to my girlfriend of 10 years. My family doesn’t want to come to my wedding, even calling our relationship ‘unhealthy’ and ‘selfish.’”
The damage that four more years of Donald Trump would cause is terrifying. His presidency has caused irrevocable damage through his lies, gaslighting, hateful speech and devastatingly slow response to COVID-19. Relationships between family members have unraveled at the seams over things that shouldn’t even be political. Houses have become even more divided over issues such as LGBTQ rights, decent health care, climate change and even wearing a mask.
“The current administration not only encourages discriminatory behavior against people like me, but has been vocal in wanting to revoke basic human rights, like marriage equality,” Victoria said.
Trump’s presidency has further ostracized relationships and caused people to fear losing not only their rights, but also the people close to them. Now, people like Victoria are watching as friends and family cast their vote for a candidate that does not support them.
“All I really want in life, just like most people, is to be able to marry and have a family with the person I love,” Victoria said. “I’m so afraid that with four more years under the Trump administration, those very basic dreams won’t be able to become a reality.”
I, too, am concerned with the division sparked by Trump’s presidency. People’s lives are on the line in more ways than one. If you are planning not to vote, just remember: it is a privilege to not concern yourself with what is going on.
I know some people may just want to pretend this pandemic is over and want a president who will assure you it's no big deal, but not everyone has the privilege to just ignore what is going on right now. They are terrified by the prospect of what is to come.
Contrast this with the Biden-Harris platform. While certainly not the most progressive out there, Biden’s campaign is a stark contrast to Trump’s. Not only has Biden firmly said that climate change is an “existential threat,” but his campaign is inclusive and committed to criminal justice reform, affordable health care and LGBTQ rights. Biden is committed to moving forward toward healing instead of hate.
This election, it is imperative that we come together. My friend is not the only one holding her breath in anticipation of the results. As you go to vote, think about your friends and family who don’t identify in the same way that you do. Keep them in mind.
More is on the line than football games and full access to hair salons.
The pandemic is changing a lot of things about how we live and interact, but let’s not take several steps back. Instead, let’s keep moving forward — toward a more inclusive, positive future.
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