" Ironically,Trump has indicated that he will actively work to undermine every single one of those liberties that he abused in order to rise to the presidency through the power available to him as the executive in charge of the federal government. "
I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind politically, but that’s all changed in recent weeks, which makes it all the more important that I do so now. 

Repeat after me: AMERICA HAS JUST ELECTED A FASCIST AS PRESIDENT. 

Thank you. I honestly hope you did repeat those words out loud. We only have a few short months until expressing such a thing publicly could result in repercussions, maybe it already will. All I know is that the more we speak out now, the better it will be for the future of our democracy and the rights guaranteed to American citizens in the Constitution. So join me in doing what neither the mainstream media establishment nor the Washington DC political establishment will do and call a spade a spade: Donald Trump is a fascist. 

I’m not going to waste space here defining fascism, that argument is widely available to be had on the internet. I also know a lot of you reading this probably voted for Trump, and it may anger you to read those words. I understand. I understand being angry at the government that helps out people with disabilities, those suffering from drug addiction, and immigrants from other countries while we have to work long hours for low wages, struggle to survive, not complain, and accept it as our lot in life. I understand being angry at the mainstream media that ignores the plight of middle-of-the-road Americans in small towns, while lavishing praise on vacuous Hollywood celebrities. I understand feeling that our way of life is threatened by ISIS and other terrorist groups that seemingly strike without provocation and hate us for no discernible reason, and wishing for a return to the good old days when a strong showing of US military might would send those scimitar-wielding, black-flag-waving cowards running for the dunes, never to return. I understand resenting liberal, educated airheads like the author of this piece for using words like “fascism” that are debated in academia and are all but devoid of any real-world meaning; while you have real-world problems that need attending to, regardless if the most powerful person in the world fits that description or not. And I understand gravitating towards someone who says they will fix it all. I understand why you voted for Donald Trump. 

While I vehemently disagree with your choice, it was your right to vote the way you felt was best, and I’m glad you were able to exercise that right. May we be so lucky to get to do so again in two to four years. 

That’s what all this boils down to for me: rights. The First Amendment of the US Constitution enshrines and guarantees some of America’s most cherished rights — freedom of speech, freedom of the press (readers of this paper should be familiar), freedom of religion, association, and peaceful assembly. Without foraying too deeply into the nationalist nostalgia that Trump stoked and exploited to become president, these essential liberties are codified into the DNA of this country. They are what make America America. They are what make this country great. Ironically,Trump has indicated that he will actively work to undermine every single one of those liberties that he abused in order to rise to the presidency through the power available to him as the executive in charge of the federal government. 

A short list of things that Trump has said that demonstrate our treasured First Amendment rights are at risk of being revoked: Trump has said he will jail his political opponents, he has said he will file libel lawsuits against journalists who speak out against him, he has said he intends to discriminate against and harass adherents of the Muslim faith in some blatantly un-American ways. Just last week he reportedly berated a whole slew of mainstream media heads for going against him during the campaign. By the time this piece goes to print, he will probably have made a half-dozen other statements that demonstrate his willingness to go through with these measures. Through his control of the FBI and the IRS, he will have the power to use vindictive and underhanded means to intimidate, harass, and suppress dissenters. 

There is no reason to believe that is not what he intends to do; whether or not he will succeed depends in large part on how the American people respond. Will we be cowed into silence? Retreat into cowardice? Become the easily manipulatable pawns of a totalitarian regime? Or will we prove them all wrong? Will we stand together as Americans, prove ourselves different countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and China, who live under autocratic systems that violently persecute political critics? Time will tell, but I will tell you one thing right now: the more and the louder we speak out in the present, the harder it will be for Trump to succeed in bullying us into silence in the future. Rights are like muscles, they get stronger when they are exercised, so join me now in saying: AMERICA HAS JUST ELECTED A FASCIST. How else are you going to speak your mind in the coming months? Together we shall overcome.

Grayson Lookner was raised in Camden and now lives in Portland