I’m a 30-something 6’6″ blonde-haired, blue-eyed white male who was frightened of the ramifications of Trump’s election. Not just concerned about his policies. Not simply worried about our international relationships. While I had, and retain, a considerable amount of concern over those things, we have a system in place that provides checks and balances. That’s all just politics. We’ve survived bad politicians. We’ll survive this one, though there might be some considerable damage to be undone when it’s all over.
I was, and remain, terrified to my bones of what it would mean to the “vocal minority” of bigots who ate up every intolerant word he uttered if he should win. The majority of Trump’s voters are not gay-bashing, foreigner hating, misogynistic religious nutjobs. They’re mostly regular folks who either felt like no one was listening or believed Clinton to be a criminal. But, guess what? The fear from minority populations was not unfounded, and the defensive cries of “I’m not a racist! He was talking about illegal Mexicans!” or “He meant Muslim terrorists, not all Muslims!” don’t matter if you know that your candidate has attracted a following from white supremacy groups. “He wasn’t saying he supported them!” He saw them at his rallies. He drove between Confederate flags and signs painted with hateful words with a wave and a smile. And he didn’t condemn those people. He didn’t ever point to a “Grab her by the pussy” shirt and say that wasn’t what he stood for. The closest he got was a statement from his campaign manager regarding the official KKK endorsement a few days before the election.
And so all of the bigoted, misogynistic monsters of humanity have crawled out from under the rocks they’ve been hiding under to say some heinous shit they wouldn’t have dared a few days ago. Because they feel validated. Because even if the majority of the party they voted with didn’t yell along with them, they weren’t yelling at them to shut the fuck up, either. It was tacit approval, and now the monsters feel safe and justified in their hatred. Those who should feel the most threatened.
I’ve heard and read some of the most terrible things today. My wife is keeping a list of stories from friends. Amongst them, a parent was told by their child another kid at school had asked, “You ready to be a slave again, now that Trump is president?”
A woman paying for gas, “Your name’s Marquez, huh? You look white. I’ll remember you’re not when they start deporting.”
A white man married to an Hispanic woman, “My wife had somebody curse her out today and yell about Trump sending her home. How could this happen?”
The Republican candidate made a deal with the devil in refusing to disavow groups like the KKK, and judging by some of the margins of victory, that’s what won him the race. And I really don’t think he knows how to put that genie back in the bottle.
It’s small of me, I know, but I hope that those who didn’t look at who was standing to their right and left at those rallies can’t sleep at night for guilt, though I doubt most have even considered it. I won’t be able to while my black/Puerto Rican wife is out of the house without me.
Want to show some solidarity? Want to prove that you’re not complicit? Be ready to fight for the vulnerable. Rabidly and without reservation. Don’t stand quietly if you see someone yell racist shit at a stranger on the street. Don’t avert your eyes as a woman gets harassed. Don’t just chuckle awkwardly and change the subject when that homophobe you know starts talking about “fags”. Step up. Step in. Say something. Do something. Chase the monsters back under their rocks and make it absolutely clear that you don’t believe as they do. Don’t belittle anyone who marched in the street to protest the election results. At least, I thought as I saw it happening, some frightened gay teenager can see that not everyone in this country has turned their back on them. It doesn’t matter if the protesters were there for another reason, they were visibly standing up against a man who chose a running mate who has been widely publicized to support conversion therapy.
As long as there are people, there will be bigots. There’s nothing we can do about that. What we can do, and what we must do, is make sure they don’t take their hatred out on those vulnerable to it. Show them, and show yourself, that you’re — that we’re — better than the small-minded, the intolerant, and the hate that they believe in.