Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has become synonymous with the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”. Upon taking a closer look at Trump’s policies and public persona, it’s clear that a “great” America is one that’s less diverse, accepting, and open-minded.
From the start of the election cycle, Trump has been brash and over the top with his stance on immigration. He’s threatened to force Mexico into funding a border wall. This wall would aid in the fight to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. He’s even gone as far as saying he’d ban all Muslim travel to the US, if elected. But it’s not just his irrational xenophobia that’s troublesome. It’s his attitude toward both black people and LGBT+ people right here at home that’s even more concerning.
2015 was a year in which American racial tension reached a fever pitch. The Black Lives Matter movement evolved from a hashtag to one of the most influential political movements of our time. Police brutality against young, unarmed black men became front page, national news. The black community has clearly indicated that our young men are more at risk now than they’ve ever been. But Trump hasn’t responded from a place of compassion. He’s responded from a place of ignorance.
When Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ August campaign rally was interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists, he allowed the protestors to speak. Trump openly mocked the situation and claimed he would have let his supporters handle the protestors. A look at any Trump rally proves that he doesn’t just allude to silencing his dissenters. He encourages violent action.
Protestors aren’t just frequently removed from his rallies; they’re physically assaulted. Just two months ago on March 21, a black protestor was sucker punched by a white Trump supporter at a Fayetteville, North Carolina rally. There have been repeated violent incidents like this at many of his campaigns throughout the country. It’s clear that his dissenters aren’t just those who disagree with his policies. They’re also defined as people who don’t have the same skin color as the majority of his supporters.
Outside of the volatile racial storm Trump is stirring up, he poses an ever bigger threat to the LGBT+ community. Despite the fact that he is friends with out and proud musician Elton John and has attended at least one same-sex wedding, Trump has openly pledged to overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision. This is scary territory, of course, because of its obvious implications. It would be a major step backward that may be near impossible to recover. But it also shows Trump’s complete disregard for our country’s legal process and reveals a possible future president who has every intention of abusing his executive power.
Additionally, Trump has openly stated that the rights of transgender people should be considered a state issue. North Carolina is proof that state policies can be just as damaging to LGBT+ people as federal law.
So what does a Trump win mean for the black LGBT+ community? It means we’ll be doubly disenfranchised. Trump is inspiring a nation full of hate. For all those racists who’ve been the moral minority for so long, he’s giving them free reign to flaunt their ignorance. And this doesn’t lead to just hate speech and protests. This means violence. This means more attacks and shootings and hate crimes. Trump is creating a warped version of America where black people aren’t protected from unwarranted attacks from authority. He’s also creating a nation where gay people aren’t afforded the same rights as everyone else. He’s fighting for a nation in which business owners can deny services to people because of their sexual orientation. He’s festering bigotry and unabashedly building the foundation for a country where anyone who is different will be ostracized.
Though he hasn’t specifically targeted the black LGBT+ community per se, his actions toward blacks and his intent to disregard the human rights of gays are all the evidence we need to assume we will not be favored, protected, or even allowed to exist in Trump’s America. A Trump win for the presidency will turn what’s already a ticking time bomb into a battlefield. And that’s simply not a version of America that any of us can afford to live in.