I was born in Central America and lived there until I was five with my American mother and Panamanian father. When they divorced we moved to the U.S. to be closer to her family and friends. I became a Naturalized U.S. citizen when I was 7 years old. While I do have roots in Panama, and several relatives still there, I identify as an American much more than Latina. I grew up here…I was considered a Gringa when I lived in Panama because I look like my blonde haired green eyed mother. I have always been proud to be an American. Very proud, and count myself lucky that I have had the great fortune and privilege to have been raised and lived most of my life in this great country.
I remember, as a young teen, being in Panama visiting relatives when my sister and I decided to walk around parts of the city and look for our old house. I remember seeing armed soldiers walking the streets instead of police. I was struck by that because I wasn’t used to seeing that. During the reign of the despot, Manuel Noriega, I wasn’t there, but heard about some of my own relatives facing frightening situations with him as their leader. All of that seemed like a million miles from my typical middle class American life. I could never, in a million years, imagined anything like that….until Trump.
Since the election, I have been considering moving back to Panama after 50 years. What an irony–now, we are the ones facing a dictatorship and Panama has a stable government.
I have been struggling with feelings of rage since Trump got elected. Even after signing a dozen petitions, donating to the ACLU, calling many Senators and Congresspeople, making countless posts on Facebook –I feel totally powerless. Our voices are not only not being taken seriously right now, but also being mocked and laughed at. I know it’s going to get better eventually, but when?I just thought I would never see this day come in the U.S.
I am actually outraged that this happened..I felt like we were moving forward as a nation, that most people were pretty much on the same page with the direction we were going…and I believe most probably were. But it totally caught me off guard to see that there are THAT many people who are racist, misogynistic, ignorant, hateful…I’m shocked that Trump actually did awaken a huge segment of the population that was silent and angry–they hated our growing multiculturalism, tolerance , intellectualism, and basically liberal leaning society in general. I don’t why I’m shocked, though–seems pretty obvious now. I was just naive. I had no idea it was that many–I knew there were pockets of people all around that wanted to go back to a White man’s America..but I just didn’t get how many. It is making me re-think everything I have ever thought about this country.
I’m disappointed in America. I thought we had come so far. Our predecessors had to fight tooth and nail for all the wonderful freedoms and progress that has been made–from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, women’s equality, racial equality…we were still getting there, but look at the progress we made! We are one of the most socially advanced countries in the world. I am not trying to kid myself that Panama isn’t going to have plenty of its own prejudices. But at least they are not turning back their clock 50 years–75 years.