I live in the wonderful state of Florida. Sure it’s a southern state but we aren’t really considered the “South”. I mean, at least not in the way that states like Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi are considered “the South”. So when I moved to Florida from California I wasn’t too worried about the conventional wisdom that citizens in Southern states are statistically more likely to hold racist beliefs, and for the most part I was right. Of course there is always isolated events, because after all, Hispanics are for the most part a minority in every part of Florida, (other than Miami of course). But overall people don’t go around just yelling racist remarks or telling me to go back to my country. However, after the recent Florida primary I had a serious reality check.
Because not only are sentiments of racism and hate alive and well in Florida, and many other states, but they are spreading like wildfire all thanks to a man named Donald Trump. Winning Florida’s 99 delegates with a whopping 45.7% of votes, Trump is proving to America (and countries around the world) that racism prevails in this country and it has been present this whole time. The only difference is, there is now a man who unapologetically makes it okay to be a racist. All under the idiotic presumption that we have to find someone to blame for America’s problems whether it be Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, women, gays *insert other highly oppressed societal group* because god forbid people actually take responsibility for their mistakes.
I mean that’s 45.7% of Floridians thinking Muslims should be banned from entering our country, that’s 45.7% of Floridians thinking Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. 45.7% of people who believe it is more important to build an unrealistic wall than it is to fix our crumbling infrastructure. I hate to admit I was really hoping Rubio would win because after all, this is his home state. But that didn’t happen. And while talking on the phone with my mom that Tuesday night, trying to makes sense of all of this, she said something that really stuck with me. She said “Sweetie, it’s all going to be okay, try not to get so upset and don’t take it too personally, this can’t be how people around us really think”.
I take votes for Trump very personally. Because this is no longer a political issue, it is a moral one. I understand having opposing political views, and I even love engaging in constructive conversation about the many opinions people from opposing parties have on how we can improve our country. But this isn’t about politics or policies. It isn’t about Republicans vs. Democrats. This is about a poor excuse for a man blatantly and proudly advocating violence and prejudice. It is about people unwaveringly supporting a man who is regurgitating their own shallow sentiments of racism, hate and ignorance.
I take it personally when you vote for a man who has called my family “rapists, drug dealers and criminals”. I take it personally when you endorse a man who has promised to “ban Muslims from our country”, a man who thinks women are nothing but “a great piece of ass”, someone who wants to execute terrorists’ families, who calls refugees “snakes” and who blissfully urges his supporters to do things like “punch them in the face”.
How can you be proud to vote for a man who spreads hatred and xenophobia with his thinly veiled white supremacist claims? It breaks my heart to be faced with the reality that these are pervasive ideologies in America today, even after millions of people have fought for hundreds of years and given up their lives to suppress this exact type of bigotry and alienation. Mr. Trump is not qualified or presidential, he will not make America great again, this is a country not a business and he is most definitely not a “unifier”. We must do better America.