Who Voted This Era of Hate into the White House?

I am at the gas station and wonder about the cashier, who sincerely wishes me a great day. Did you vote for him?

Did you vote for the man who wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States? The same one who mocked Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the Gold Star parents whose son died in Iraq protecting his fellow soldiers?

At the market, I scan the people ahead and behind me in line and wonder, Did any of you vote for the man who puts Tics Tacs in his mouth so he can proceed to kiss a woman uninvited? That’s sexual assault – as is his professed ability to “grab them by their p_ _ _ _” without their consent. Are you OK with that?

He says he loves to ogle naked teenage beauty contestants in their dressing rooms. You can overlook that, too?

At a stop light, I look at the driver in the next lane and think, Are you capable of having voted for a man who mocked someone with a disability? The same man who characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists. A man who doesn’t pay small business owners who do work for his billion-dollar businesses. Who declares bankruptcy over and over to avoid paying his debts. Who spews hate, racism, and sexism, and who chose a running mate who decided women who’ve suffered through abortions should then have to suffer more, through a funeral for the fetus.

This is how Wednesday was for me, contemplating strangers’ faces to try to divine who is against someone like me, a liberal Puerto Rican woman, like my beloved family and friends, of different ethnicities, LGBTQ communities and faiths.

I guess about who voted for a man who reveals his deep insecurities by bullying anyone who offends him, no matter how vulnerable. I need to know, to be prepared.

Because he espouses hate and encourages violence; because at rallies, his supporters often spat upon and beat up anyone who questioned him. He has used vulgar language against protesters and journalists. He said he could shoot someone right in the middle of New York City and get away with it. He suggested that Second Amendment supporters could do something about Hillary Clinton. He blames the vulnerable for whatever’s wrong with this great country.

Experts theorize that mostly angry white men who felt that much had been taken away from them ushered in this new era of hate.

Many of his supporters have good reason to be angry – they’ve watched companies go broke or move overseas, and lost their jobs, the comforts and support that come with a decent income.

But they are misdirecting their anger when they violently oppose anyone who disagrees with them, and anyone who is different from them. It was not people of color, Latinos, LGBTQ people, or a black president who took their jobs.

The causes are complex, but they arise from economic trends launched by elites in corporate offices and Wall Street – and most of those elites are white men. The causes are exacerbated by lax government regulation that let these men run wild, nearly destroying the economy, ruining companies and eliminating millions of jobs.

If they’re mad because Washington is gridlocked, they just rewarded the party that invented legislative gridlock.

I drive around town, run errands, sit in my car with the radio off, at the stoplight I look around. I know that not all his supporters are violent people, but I still wonder: How could you affirm this role model of the worst characteristics for a leader?

Because you’re angry? We’re all angry for one reason or another.

Think about this:

–Native Americans, whose lands were taken from them.

–African Americans, enslaved for centuries, now their lives at risk in communities across the country just for driving while black.

–Mexicans, whose country once included most of the West, from the current border into Oregon until just over 160 years ago. Now many are immigrants in their former homeland, doing the work Americans won’t. They pay taxes but will not qualify for Social Security.
Many people never had the things that the angry white men believe they are losing. But lashing to elect a massively unqualified, emotionally unfit billionaire who revels unconsciously in his white male privilege was not the remedy.

It seems self-evident, but there are many angry people who didn’t vote for him.

Why? Because we’re used to unspeakable pain over many generations of stolen lives and stolen lands and have learned to look for the light instead of caving in to hate.

One day it was 2016, and on Nov. 9 it was 1900.

I feel my heart, broken.

Natalia Muñoz is the host of “Vaya con Muñoz” on WHMP Talk Radio 1400 AM