Trump should be terrifying to everyone. As a woman and person who works on climate issues, he is acutely terrifying to me. He threatens to unravel how far we have come on both equity and climate, and oh so far we have to go. 

On the same day that I dropped my absentee ballet in the post after voting for the first woman presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party, a video was released of Donald Trump objectifying and dehumanizing women in disgusting and explicit terms. AGAIN. Watching that video not only made me want to shout out in desperation from his language of violence and rape, but also from its perceived social legitimacy. It makes me squirm— so many still see this as acceptable “locker room talk” and cannot comprehend consent. 

At the UU, I study Sustainable Business & Innovation and I am an active member of Fossil Free Utrecht University — a group on campus that works to cut the university's ties with the fossil fuel industry in order to ensure a just and sustainable future. So many people have worked so incredibly hard to get to where we are now on stopping climate change and it is still not enough. In a time when we are on the brink of climate spin out, we cannot have someone in office that will provide a death sentence to those in the Philippines, Louisiana, Syria, and so many others. Hurricane Matthew, which hit the East Coast of the U.S. last week, is just another warning sign of the devastation of the planet if we do not stop digging up and using fossil fuels. Yet at the last debate Trump brought up the false solution of  “clean coal”. In the past, he has threatened to rip up the Paris Climate Agreement.   

Trump’s outlook and political mantra also threatens people of color. He plans to build a wall against Mexican immigrants. He plans to instill a “Big Test” of religion to ban Muslims from entering our country. He denounces Black Lives Matter in a time when it is hard to keep count of the number of police shootings. This is the antithesis of what the U.S. is supposed to stand for – or what I want it to stand for.

He is tapping into the disenfranchisement of white men, as their preeminent position in society is uprooted by women, the queer community, and people of color. He is exposing, applauding, and manipulating this white male demographic’s anxiety for his own gain. 

If Donald Trump wins, I fear that his vile sexism, racism, isolationism, climate denialism/defeatism, fear-mongering, and ill-advised confidence will give license to other leaders to emulate and perpetuate his message. We are seeing this right-wing backlash across Europe too, from Geert Wilders to Marine le Pen. Donald Trump is not an isolated incident, which makes it that much more important for not only U.S. citizens to push back on this type of rhetoric, but everyone. 

I was a Bernie supporter in the primaries (being the steadfast Vermonter and progressive that I am). I don’t think Hillary is a perfect candidate and I disagree with some of her policies, but she is what stands between a sociopath and the presidency. Bernie and the progressive movement pushed Hillary much further on climate, racial equality, health care, and college debt. I also believe that female representation matters and having a woman in office is a huge step for my country. That is why I voted for her.

The video released last week has Republicans finally fleeing what they themselves have created. To that I say thank goodness. But they also shouldn’t have supported him when he called Mexicans rapists, when he denounced climate change as a hoax, when he proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US, when he wanted to re-impose stop-and-frisk, when he said “blood coming out of her wherever,” when he… when he… when he… There are too many to count.

On November 8th, so much is on the line. This election will have reverberations across the globe, so I urge those eligible to vote to not only watch but act. With that, I have to end on a note of hope. I have hope because I have seen people rise up and come together in order to stop this force. Young people and students are proving they care about their country. This people power for positive change will not be stopped, regardless of the election results. \