In wake of election, targeted voices must be heard and protected

Daily Editorial Board

The election on Tuesday was a perfect demonstration of the division in our country. Days after Donald Trump’s win, many cases of intimidation and aggression against a host of minority communities— numbering in the hundreds, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center — have been reported.

Perhaps the outcome of the election shouldn’t have been a surprise — our country voted for a man who directly mocked a disabled reporter, boasted on tape about sexually assaulting women and demanded that we discriminate against people for their religion by banning Muslim immigration. His very campaign was launched with a speech that called the majority of undocumented Mexican workers in our country rapists and thieves.

But Trump’s behavior should not serve as a free pass for members of our community to commit hateful actions and crimes against their neighbors, here and across the country. As human beings, it’s imperative that we stand up for those disenfranchised and fight against local aggression and discrimination.

In a period like this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of cynicism about the future of this country. The Canadian immigration website crash served as a microcosm for the despair that millions of people in our country feel. And for many, fear is a reasonable response in this election. But, there are things that we can and should do. On Thursday, thousands of people from our community came together outside the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to protest the division that Trump constructed during his campaign.

The protest was peaceful, and while pessimism and despair can easily cloud our psyches, the demonstrators were calling for unity. This kind of political expression must endure. It’s vital for our country, and it’s vital to the protection of our democracy.

Now is not the time to be complacent. Some may say that protest is useless because our fate has been sealed by the election. But what kind of message does that send to the world, our youth and posterity? We cannot let racism, sexism, xenophobia, misogyny or queerphobia be normalized.

The work that needs to be done to fix our country’s problems necessitates us working together, standing for each other and standing with each other.

And that means going out on the streets and gaining the attention of the public eye. On Thursday, it meant occupying Interstate 94 — a visible display of solidarity and a necessary disruption to “business as usual.”

We have the power to turn this time of uncertainty into a display of solidarity — but it will take time, words and action.