“I think that when Trump started talking, he started saying everything that I wanted to hear.” This is what Linda O’Roark, a 56-year-old lesbian from Aliquippa, PA cited as the reason she supports President-elect Donald Trump.
From the start, she was all for Trump. Trump has reiterated throughout his campaign that his primary objectives are repealing the Affordable Care Act and suppressing the number of undocumented immigrants flowing into the United States. O’Roark believes these issues are critical for the progression of the United States.
Of those three issues, O’Roark believes that the immigration issue is the biggest one that needs rectified.
“I firmly believe that Hillary Clinton would extend President Obama’s policies, and be even more liberal in her views of things,” O’Roark said. “She wanted to implement 500 times more immigrants. This country cannot financially absorb it.”
Clinton has not made any statement voicing support for increasing the immigration rate. Her immigration policies are detailed here by independent fact-checking project, Politifact.
O’Roark understands that Trump has said some harmful things during his campaign, and understands why certain groups feel marginalized and hurt by his words and actions. She understands why women, Muslims and the Latino and Hispanic communities may have grievances with Trump and his rhetoric.
Trump and Pence Against #LGBTQ Rights
After the results of the 2016 presidential election, thousands of Americans have been taking to the streets across the United States to protest the election of Donald Trump. Many Americans are worried for their safety under a Trump presidency. A large number of Americans worried about their potential treatment are LGBTQ people. Many LGBTQ community members are frightened not only by Donald Trump, but especially Mike Pence.
Mike Pence was Donald Trump’s running mate and now his Vice President. Throughout his political career as Indiana’s governor and a congressman, he has crusaded against the LGBTQ community in various ways. He believes in “conversion therapy,” which has been discredited as a harmful method which actively seeks to reverse an individual’s sexual orientation. The inefficacy of conversion or “reparative” therapy has been disproven time and again. States such as California and Oregon have passed laws that prevent licensed medical practitioners from offering conversion therapy. More than 20 states have passed this form of legislation, but it is still not enough when minors in particular are targeted for conversion therapy. Aside from the mental and psychological issues that correlate with it, conversion therapy directly promotes the concept that members of the LGBTQ community are making choices regarding their sexual orientations and genders.
Pence also signed a bill to incarcerate same-sex couples applying for a marriage license in Indiana during his time as governor of the state. Indiana has been a leading state in the suppression of the LGBTQ citizens who reside there. This is best demonstrated by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed by Pence in March of 2015. This law allows various businesses and institutions to use religious belief as a reason to not provide their services or products to LGBTQ people.
Trump himself has previously made it clear that he does not support the LGBTQ community. In a 2011 statement, Trump said, “There can be no discrimination against gays. I’m against gay marriage.”
He has been a consistent opponent to marriage equality. The majority of LGBTQ individuals also worry about the fact that Trump actively chose Pence, a man who has reaffirmed time and time again that he is ardently against marriage equality for the LGBTQ community through his various actions and bills he has attempted to enforce.
O’Roark: “If they outlaw gay marriage, I will have a civil union.”
“The LGBTQ issue for me, is if we don’t have a country that is thriving, that is financially stable, that is functioning without fear of job loss, then it doesn’t matter at all about my LGBTQ issues if the country is falling apart,” O’Roark said.
O’Roark does not want her love life to be legislated. She does not want Trump and Pence to attempt to revoke the legalization of marriage equality but if it occurs, she believes she will have a civil union.
Regarding the topic of marriage equality, O’Roark said, “It’s a very personal thing to me. It’s a very private thing. I don’t need the government to say yes or no. If they outlaw gay marriage, I will have a civil union.”
Aside from the potential treatment of the LGBTQ community, Trump’s opposition refers to his polarizing rhetoric that has targeted the Latino and Hispanic communities. O’Roark recognizes this, and believes that Trump simply wants to deal with the status of undocumented immigrants.
“I don’t mind legal immigration. I don’t care how many people come here legally, O’Roark said. “It’s the illegal immigration I don’t like.”
According to Trump’s detractors, his campaign was fueled by hate and divisiveness. O’Roark disagrees with this. She claims that both Democrats and Republicans have both been involved in name calling and negative generalizations that assert that the opposing side is wrong. O’Roark believes this is poisonous.
“I’ve been called a racist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe,” O’Roark said. “I have been called hateful. I have been called all kinds of things by people who have no idea who I am. They say it because I voted for Trump. I don’t believe Trump is that way.”
Of course, voters criticizing others’ electoral decisions is not the same as a presidential candidate calling Mexicans rapists and criminals and calling for discrimination against an entire religious population.
On the other side of the political spectrum, there is plenty of opposition to Trump and Pence in the LGBTQ community. Jon Martin, a junior applied communication major who identifies as queer, disagrees with Trump on virtually every issue. He believes that the country has conformed to the lowest of standards for allowing Trump to have the presidency.
“I do not support Trump due to the overall harm I believe he will bring to minorities,” Martin said. “I believe his rhetoric is dangerous and even though he may not be homophobic himself, which is debatable, he has empowered the type of people who are.”
Martin does not believe that he himself will be targeted with jeers or derogatory words, simply because he is a white male. He believes that minorities will undergo the most harm since Trump directs his rhetoric towards people of color in particular.
We will see what Donald Trump will choose to do as the 45th president of the United States. Depending on which side one aligns with, American citizens are either looking forward to a new world of politics in the United States, or are tremendously scared regarding the future. No matter what view one has, things are going to change in Washington D.C..