I climbed my mountain yesterday (I don’t actually own a mountain, but I like to think of it as mine). I climbed my mountain in an attempt to get climb away – or perhaps climb towards – the heavy shadow that’s been hanging over my mind and my heart since November 8th. Like an itch I couldn’t reach, it sat there. Heavy, suffocating, distracting, and if I’m being honest, as annoying as all hell.
I didn’t want to write about it, and really, what could I say that hadn’t already been far more eloquently said by better writers than myself?
Yesterday I was pissed off. Pissed off because people keep wanting to tell me – and others like me – to shut up and sit down.
Oh you crybaby liberals. Get over it already. Quit your whining and complaining. So your candidate lost. Trump is the president now. Show some respect, grow up, and move on. (*language cleaned up to keep this family friendly)
Well since I’m not going to shut up: Let me start by saying I am NOT upset that my candidate lost. To be honest, I didn’t feel like I really had a candidate. I’m upset by what won, and there’s a big difference.
I’m upset by what this could mean for minorities, and women, and members of the LGBT community, and lower income families.
I’m upset because you elected a person who’s shown himself, time and time again, to spew hatred, and bigotry, and disregard for anyone who is not a straight, white, middle-class, Christian male.
I’m upset because you elected a person who bragged about sexual assault.
I’m upset because America just took a giant step backwards.
I’m upset because the very same people who are calling for unity, and working together, just voted for one of the most divisive leaders America has ever known.
And listen. Emotions are high, and I get that. Republicans are feeling defensive, and I get that too. People feel that they are getting called racist and homophobic and misogynistic because of their vote. For the record, I’ve never called a voter any of the above. I don’t know you. I don’t think you’re racist. I don’t think you’re homophobic. As someone who very acutely feels the frustration of being negatively piled into one ugly yet neatly labeled box, it’d be highly hypocritical of me. You’re entitled to how you feel though. We’re all entitled to how we feel.
But here’s the thing. And I mean this with the highest amount of respect I can muster: This is not about you. It’s not about me either. Rather, it’s about all of us.
Because Trump? Trump IS all those things that his voters don’t want to be called. And no, it’s not because that’s what the media told me to think. And no, it’s not because I’ve been wooed by negative buzz words. (Seriously, this is insulting.) It’s because of actual words that have come out of his own mouth. Say what you want about him, but the man has never been shy about showing us who he truly is.
I saw a meme the other day blasting people for being afraid. What are you afraid of?, it asked. What can he possibly do to you?
People are afraid because they’ve been the one in four women who’s been assaulted (and/or they’ve been every women who’s ever been catcalled, or sexually harassed, or intimidated, or spoken to in an unwanted sexual way – which is every woman) They’re afraid because America has just decided that that behavior is something that can be excused. That that behavior is not a deal-breaker.
People are afraid that they’ll no longer be able to get their needed medication, and needed medical care.
People are afraid that they’ll start to lose their rights. People are afraid that they’ll see a rise in mistreatment, and slurs, and outright attacks because of the color of their skin, or because of who they love, or because of who they worship.
People are afraid because Trump’s voters are so busy defending themselves that they’re not standing up against everything that is wrong with his candidacy. That they’re not standing up against his running mate, who’s a big proponent of the cruel and dangerous and damaging conversion therapy. That they’re not standing up against his newly appointed chief policy advisor, Stephen Bannon, a known white supremacist.
People are afraid because bigotry won.
And this man that America has elected as president is now the example. Let’s make fun of someone’s disability! Let’s call Mexicans rapists! Let’s brag about grabbing women by the p*ssy! Hey kids, this is fun!
In Trump’s world, bigotry is the norm.
Do I think that otherwise good and decent citizens are suddenly going to become horrible people under his reign? Of course not. But I do think that there are absolutely people that are going to feel emboldened by his precedent. I do think that there will be people who will now act on their previously private biases. I do think that he has – inadvertently or not – made them feel as though they now have a license to do so.
He has told us it’s acceptable. He has told us it’s okay.
And that’s what scares me. That should scare you too. That should scare all of us.
Because all the unity talk in the world isn’t going to change the fact that this man, this man who harbors such outward contempt for… well, for pretty much everyone… is now going to hold the highest elected office in the United States.
Yes, that scares me. And no, I won’t be shushed into compliance. Not this time. Not about this.
Finally, to the people who are saying, “You should stick to writing about parenting,”: I’m pretty sure I’ve already invoked my, “It’s my blog and I can write about what I want” once this year, so I’ll just say this:
This is VERY MUCH a parenting issue. I want, more than anything else, for my kids to grow up in a world that is gentle and kind. Where people are respectful and loving to one another… no matter who they are, no matter the color of their skin, no matter how much money they have, no matter who they love, no matter who they worship.
And absolutely, that starts with me. That starts with us. In my own home, within these four walls, their life will be peaceful. It will be gentle. It will be loving, and it will be kind.
But outside our own closed doors? There’s a different reality. There’s a reality in which the new President elect is making a mockery of all of the above. The highest position in the country just went to someone who bragged about sexually assaulting women, and is vehemently defended by people who want to point fingers at the crybaby liberals who Just. Won’t. Let. It. Go.
I’ve dated the teenage version of Donald Trump, and the idea that he now runs the country is … unreal. I keep trying to wrap my head around it, keep trying to make sense of it, but there is no sense to be made. This is reality. A reality I never imagined would come to fruition, but reality nonetheless.
I will get over it of course, in my own time, and my own way. But for the time being:
Yes, it does scare me. It does anger me. More than anything though, right now, at this moment, it mostly makes me profoundly sad.