Last Friday the end of the world began – or at least it seemed that way to many. I’ve found two primary groups of people who do not see it this way: the Pollyannas and Trump Supporters. To the people in either group who are not racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or ableist – please listen. Because this is not a post attacking you or guilting you or screaming at you. Rather it is a hand reaching out. It is an attempt to show you how the people who are scared feel and why, as well as what you can do to help. Because if I’m not asking you to block Trump or help to impeach him, in fact the requests I am suggesting have nothing to do with party lines, then why wouldn’t you? Unless you are actually any of the –isms I already mentioned.
First off, I know anyone who says “It’s going to be okay” means well, but while you may be trying to be supportive and encouraging, you are actually being dismissive and hurtful. Many people are scared they will be cut-off from lifesaving medical care because of the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Many people are afraid to go out for groceries because of the color of their skin or because they’re Muslim or appear to be Muslim. Many people are afraid to lose civil rights they just earned because of their sexual orientation, including the right to marry, have kids, and not be fired simply for being who they are. Many people are afraid the government, the same politicians who call for deregulation, will dictate what they can do or not do with their bodies, possibly the most fundamental of freedoms. Please understand that none of these fears are unfounded. All of these people are taking politicians at their word. When they say they will ban or repeal something – they believe them. And across the country hate crimes and violent incidents have skyrocketed. They’re right to be afraid even if it isn’t right they should be afraid. Please understand the difference.
To those who say things like “it is what it is” or “accept it, he is president” or anything along these lines, you are essentially saying to these people: Accept that your life may be over, literally. Accept that the government will take control over your body. Accept you cannot get married, or have a family, or keep a job. Accept that you cannot safely run errands because of the color of your skin – it is what it is. Do you see what you’re actually saying yet? The truth is I know a lot of Trump supporters are not racist, homophobic or bigoted. I also know a lot of people who did not vote for Trump are saying these things. But be aware of the man in question. He allied himself with Neo-Nazi groups and the KKK, publicly. He talked about grabbing women by their pussies, and how troubled teens are great in bed. This isn’t fake news, but actual interviews often with video. This is the man in charge. It doesn’t matter if you’re anti-woman – the man who is our president talks about rape as if it is nothing. This is fact. So stop telling women to accept a rapist as their leader. Stop telling people of color to accept a man who is buddies with those who want to have them lynched. These are truths that may be hard for anyone to accept but it doesn’t make them any less true.
To all those making jokes – how is rape or racist mobs or people dying so that a few hundred people with millions of dollars save more money, funny? If you think these things are funny, I’m not sure why you’re reading this. And if you don’t then please know that when you make jokes like “better luck in four years” or how people who don’t like it can “move to Canada” you are actually laughing at women and children being sexually abused. You’re making jokes about hooded figures in white burning people of color alive. You’re making a joke about a child with leukemia no longer able to continue treatments so people like our president can be a little bit richer. That is what you are joking about. Do you still find it funny?
So what can you, a Trump supporter or someone who has not been involved in helping those targeted do going forward? Because I doubt any of you have a time machine and I don’t have time to attack or throw around blame. It serves no purpose and doesn’t help anyone. How can you begin to make this better? Try to make it right?
Speak out. Speak up. Never falter or hesitate. Demand to be heard.
The truth is that in the coming weeks and months, over the course of the next four years, people will need you to lend your voice to amplify theirs. If you see racism, speak out against it. Stop it. Get involved.
If Congress introduces a bill that is: anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Muslim, or cuts off people from accessible healthcare – speak out. Call your reps. Make signs. Protest.
It doesn’t matter if you are not political or if you aren’t comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t impassioned because you think it does not affect you directly. How many politicians, respected news journalists and historians have said: “We can no longer afford to be silent”? And for the record, we can’t.
If you’re not racist, don’t let others do or say racist things in your presence. If you’re not homophobic then resist, in both action and words, any anti-gay legislation introduced – locally and federally. Blow up your representatives phone lines. Send countless letters and emails. Show up to their local offices. Be involved. This is the only thing you can do and the thing you must do in order to try to prevent all of those fears felt by others from coming true.
It doesn’t matter what you did before. If you voted for Trump, you need to do this. If you voted for Hillary, you still need to do this. If you didn’t vote at all or voted for someone else – yes, we still need your voice.
The truth is, in four years Trump will be gone and hopefully the damage he does to this country will be countered and eventually repaired. The things he has said will be forgotten and hopefully so will he. What won’t be forgotten however is the silence. The friends and family that I love, who silently stood by while this happened – that will stay with me. It will haunt me and eat at me. I won’t be able to shake it, or forget it, and it will undeniably alter our relationship. We have come to a point where pacifism is the same as giving permission. Don’t give politicians or other hateful individuals permission to control a woman’s body, kill several disabled people by cutting off lifesaving healthcare, take away the rights of our LGBTQ friends and family, lash out and attack others because of the color of their skin, their religion or national origin.
Because every time you don’t speak out you are saying: “Yes, this is fine. I agree.”
And if you agree I should die because of a preexisting condition, or that my husband and I should be stripped of our most basic human rights, or that my friends of color should be physically assaulted and killed, or that a woman’s body is government property – then we don’t have anything to discuss.
For so long I have preached that it isn’t just what people do, but what they don’t do. If you don’t do something it can be just as loud and clear as an actual action. So know that by not speaking out you are still taking action. Anything you do from here on out will be a clear line drawn in the sand – this is what I stand for – action.
What do you stand for?
If it is basic human decency then consider this your official call to speak.
I hope to hear you.