This is a post I originally shared on Facebook, but I felt it might be easier to share via a Tumblr link. Here goes:
I can’t promise this will be my last post about the election, but it is the one I feel best sums up my feelings.
I’ve seen some comments to the effect that those of us who are upset over the election results are being melodramatic or hyperbolic, that this isn’t the end of the world. Well, okay, the latter part is correct, but to give you a sense of my perspective, I want to tell you a bit about my family. My last name isn’t just something that was chosen from a hat; my paternal grandparents are from Mexico. However, my dad and his parents were all born in the United States.
“But, Matt, you silly goose! Trump only wants to go after ILLEGAL immigrants! That has nothing to do with your father!”
Well, when my dad was a child, his family actually spent time on farms with migrant workers to earn money during the summer. Had there been a raid on any of those farms, I am reasonably certain all the brown folk would have been rounded up regardless of their citizenship status. What makes me so certain? History.
Donald Trump mentioned a program instituted by Dwight Eisenhower’s administration called—I kid you not—“Operation Wetback.” (Obviously, Trump didn’t mention it by name, but it’s not like there’s another mass deportation program Eisenhower oversaw.) “Operation Wetback”’s ostensible goal was to purge the country of illegal immigrants, but many U.S. citizens were deported as well.
“But, Matt,” you say, “that was the 1950s! This is a more enlightened age!”
So this election felt really personal to me (despite the fact that, due to my mother’s overly British ancestry, I’m one of the whitest people you could meet). A large portion of the country has decided that they blame people who look like my dad for their troubles, and that doesn’t sit well with me at all. (What’s more, the policies our President-Elect wants to enact will affect more brown people than just the ones with Spanish last names, and there’s little the system of checks and balances can do to stop him now that Congress is made up of a majority of like-minded sycophants.) It’s like I’ve just been told by nearly 60 million people, “You don’t matter. Your family doesn’t matter.”
So, yeah, I’m a little upset.