What I’m Hoping For in 2020: A Reflection on the Election

The first day of first grade was the day I realized I would be correcting the pronunciation of my name for the rest of my life. It is not that my name is really long, or particularly complex, rather that both my first and last names were not entirely pure American sounding names. 

I often wished I had just been given the name Mary Smith to save myself the trouble over the years, but I don’t think I would be the same person had I not undergone the experiences of living with distinct cultural pieces in my life. My first name came from my mother’s favorite Aunt in Norway, hence the “j” becoming a “y” sound. My last name was from my dad, who grew up in Spain, giving it the double “l” which also transforms into a “y” sound. 

As I grew older and attended high school in my rural, conservative town, everything became a lot clearer to me. One of the biggest events where I felt most polarized from most of my town was the 2016 Presidential Election, and now that political drama is resurfacing, those feelings are starting to return. At the time of the last election, I was seventeen years old. Politics never really played a huge role in my life and I remember how things suddenly stood out like my “different” last name, my dad — who was an immigrant and not a U.S. citizen —and how he spoke some Spanish words to me when he picked me up from school, leading all the kids gave me strange looks. 

Many people in my town supported Donald Trump, and it made these aspects of my life be even more drawn out. The issue of immigration became a huge topic. People at school would constantly ask me if I was afraid of my dad being deported because he was not a U.S. citizen. Of course, this was not a legitimate concern because he has permanent Green Card status, but none of these people thought to look into that. They had taken their natural born citizenship to mean that they were almighty, and anyone who dared to immigrate to the U.S. from another country was inferior. I’m wondering how I will feel now that I’m away from my town in college and I just go back there to view everything, now completely like an outsider. 

As a woman, I am especially outraged by Donald Trump’s antics. His sexually-charged comments in the past have been unsettling — to say the least — and I still cannot figure out how any woman could have voted for Donald Trump. And from my Hispanic background, I do not feel comfortable with the statements being made by our country's leader. My whole life has taught me that I am different and that it is good to celebrate differences.

I will stick by that notion that the United States needs to be a mix of people from all over. I will always believe that there is no need to treat people differently for any of the reasons that may set us apart. And we have to protect that, so GO VOTE.

 

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