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A story of tears

Some waited for a miracle. Some waited in fear.

By Victor H. Rodriguez II | Contributor

Rodriguez: "Trump says black voters have nothing to lose. But I do: my family." Photograph provided by Michael Vadon.

Rodriguez: “Trump says black voters have nothing to lose. But I do: my family.” Photograph provided by Michael Vadon.

On November 8, 2016, some people were waiting for a miracle while others were waiting for history. I was waiting to find out if my parents would be able to see me walk across the graduation stage in four years.

Many minorities in this country—including those of race, religion, gender and sexuality—waited for America to tell us through the ballot boxes whether or not we were wanted. For those of you who feel I’m being overly dramatic, ask people from some of the minority groups I just mentioned how they feel; let their tears tell their stories.

No matter where you stand politically, you can’t negate there are people on this campus who feel hurt and unwanted. So, what are we to do about it? Forget about it? Ignore it? Or as Christians are we called to lament with those who are hurting; to do as Jesus did and take on the pain of others?

As a first-generation Mexican-American, I am the son of two Mexican immigrants. Some people call me an “anchor baby.” For me, this election was about much more than just electing someone to run this country. It was about electing someone who had a plan for my people, for my family and for me. This election cycle, you could say I had skin in the game.

Trump says black voters have nothing to lose. But I do: my family. My parents could be deported in the next four years. My cousin might never fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer. But this isn’t just a race thing. It’s an oppression thing. The reality is that for those of us who don’t look like white males, we’ve been talked about differently in this election cycle. This means we will also be treated differently.

This election was close. Each candidate fought a hard campaign, but no pollster predicted it would be this tight. Those of us who watched the election in the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) office felt a range of emotions throughout the night. There was no doubt who we supported. The night ended in hugs, tears and prayer.

For many of us, we made the choice to watch the election in the OIP office so we could have a safe place free from Trump supporters. We felt sober as we left. My thoughts were interrupted by men in Samuel Morris Hall celebrating Trump’s win: they cheered as they ran through the dorm in the nude. It was a strange display, but I felt it was justified. Those men saw not only a miracle but also a historic day.

Now, what did the members of that group have in common? They were all white Christian males. In my mind this is no coincidence.

My reaction to this election can be summed up by political analyst Van Jones:

“We have talked about everything but race tonight. We have talked about income, class, region. We haven’t talked about race. This was a white-lash. This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president in part, and that’s the part where the pain comes.”

This is the America where we now live. The white electorate has spoken, and we will abide by it. But I will say this: if you voted for Trump, that’s okay. But if you say your Christian faith led you to that decision, I question your understanding of the Gospel.

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