Human Rights and Donald Trump

By Harrison Edington

The Pigeon Press (Portland, Oregon)

On November 8th, the night of the presidential election, almost all polls indicated that Hillary Clinton would finally break the glass ceiling and be elected the United States’ first female president. However, Donald Trump won in a shocking victory. Since then, many people at Northwest Academy are afraid for their most fundamental rights.

Kyler Stanion, a transgender senior, feels unsafe with Trump as president and worries that his rights will be taken away by the administration.

“I’m scared for me and [the] community,” Stanion said. “I was applying to colleges in Florida and parts of the central and south but I won’t let myself apply to those colleges anymore.”

The Trump administration is powered by some very controversial people. Steve Bannon, for example, the Chief Strategist, has been called a white supremacist by congresswomen Nancy Pelosi. Bannon served as executive chair for Breitbart News, an extremely conservative, far-right website. Bannon once said that he wouldn’t let his kids go to school with Jewish people, and while he was the head of Breitbart news, condoned articles saying that looked favorably on the Confederate flag.

Stanion knows people all over the country that are a part of the LGBTQ community and he is afraid for those in more hateful areas such as small conservative towns.

“I have friends that live in North Carolina that are scared for their lives because of the amount of hate crimes right now,” Stanion said.

Stanion said that when Barack Obama was president, bigotry and racism weren’t widely condoned. With Trump elected, hate speech is spreading. He describes Portland as a “bubble city,” generally being a very safe and welcoming place to LGBTQ individuals and other marginalized communities. However, there are other places out there that aren’t as welcoming.

“I have the privilege of living here and getting to choose to go to school somewhere liberal,” Stanion said.

Xavier Stickler, a junior, is a gay student who feels the lives of many people will be badly affected.

“I fear what his words inspire in people; I’ve seen it myself,” Stickler said. “For decades, individuals like me have been telling people with ignorance in their minds and hate in their hearts that they are wrong.”

Senior Pearce Hyatt is also concerned about the rise of hate crimes.

“I don’t think [Trump’s] policy will change anything, but people will think it’s okay to say certain things,” he said.

Hyatt worries that Trump could give the upper class even more power.

“It could get to a degree where it’s apartheid, a ruling, elite class,” said Hyatt.

Hate crimes in the United States have been on the rise since Trump’s election, ranging from hateful speech to vandalism and death threats. According to Observer, hate crime has risen 35 to 115 percent across the United States. In New York City, for example, an off-duty Muslim police officer was told to go back to her country. A man then allegedly threatened to let his pitbull attack her.

“I think that human rights will also be affected and you’ll see more hateful and racist comebacks,” Hyatt said.

The rights of African Americans, women, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants are at risk. Many are afraid for what Trump and his cabinet will do to the rights of minorities and women because of their promise to deport illegal immigrants, punish those who get abortions and build a wall between Mexico and the United States.

“President Trump has vowed to appoint conservative Supreme Court judges,” Stickler said. “If he succeeds, and he most likely will several times, I am afraid I will lose the right to be who I am.”

Stickler feels fortunate to have been raised in a welcoming city under a liberal president.

“For me, personally, I am scared,” Stickler said. “I grew up my entire politically-conscious life under a president that acknowledged my equal rights to get married, enlist [in] private services, serve in the military and, at a base level, exist.”

Many people are also worried that Trump will worsen relations between the Middle East and the United States.

“Trump has made it clear that his administration only values American lives, not the lives of those fleeing to the [United States] from the violence and poverty of South America or war-torn Syria,” Stickler said.

Freshman Izzy Levy is a women’s rights advocate and is appalled by some of Trump’s comments.

“Trump’s degrading comments about women are unacceptable and disgusting,” Levy said. “It is not okay to assume that all Muslims are terrorists; that is the epitome of awful. There are children living in those countries who have to face so much bloodshed and we could be helping them.”

For many, Trump has started a chain of hate and fear.

Photo Credit: Larissa Puro

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