I was actually happy when Trump got the Republican nomination. I thought Jeb Bush, with his family-backing, and Texas oil money, and far-right support was more of a threat. I highly doubted anyone would take Donald Trump seriously. I mean, all he had going for him was money and trash-talk! I felt voting for him was akin to voting for a Kardashian. They’re in the same camp–you know their names from the stupid stuff they say and do on television, but you don’look to them for any serious leadership.
And I knew if nobody took Trump seriously (because HOW could they!!!) that whatever democrat was running would be a shoe-in. I wasn’t sad to see it was Hillary. I had actually voted for her over Obama in the primary that first time around when she ran. I knew her face, thought she worked really hard as Secretary of State, and yeah–I wanted a woman in the White House.
But I thought women’s rights were farther ahead than they actually are. I really think if Hillary were a man, things would have played out differently. It would have been an EQUAL assessment of two candidates. Not just a singular attack on one and blind-spot toward the other. They would have dug into her dirty laundry–sure–that’s part of the political game these days. And believe me, they ALL have their share of dirty laundry. The political machine is so caught up in money now, that ALL candidates that make it to a certain lever most certainly made back room deals to get funded. They all owe somebody. Every politician has to water down a certain policy they care about, because a special interest group contributed to their campaign.
That makes them all lairs. They all manipulate. Every politician is shady. I expect it.
But they would have used the bad stuff to equal disadvantage, apples-to-apples. They didn’t. When people called Hillary a liar, I was like–yeah. Of course. But what I didn’t expect was to people to hold that against Hillary in a militant way, when they didn’t hold the male politician to the same standard. I would challenge that every accusation, every piece of dirty laundry found on Hillary was used against her in a more drastic way then it is used against any man that has run or held office. People were a LOT harsher on Clinton then they’ve been on most males in politics.
The patriarchal double-standard reared it’s ugly head.
Even so, I didn’t think the country would go for Donald Trump. How could they? He is a caricature. He’s all fluff and propaganda, and realty TV! He has no political experience, no solid policy ideas, only hateful sound-bites. His business dealings were murky. The guy claimed bankruptcy and didn’t pay taxes. He wavered on issues, and lost all three debates. His supporters were the trashiest, most backward, belligerents in the country. He got caught candidly admitting his penchant for sexual abuse. Americans would not get behind any of that. We might like to see the train wreck on TV, but we expect more decorum and have higher standards for our president.
The leader of our country–the leader of the world.
I was in absolute shock when we didn’t.
This week was difficult. I felt suddenly scared and alone. I knew every person from my small town voted republican. I felt since Trump is against many of the minority groups I belong to (women-in social standing, impoverished, gays) that my Utah work managers were also. My hometown was also. My Facebook friends were also. My parents were also. I was suddenly marginalized. Cowering at the fringes.
And my groups are actually dominant groups OF the marginalized groups. The illegals, people of color, transsexuals, Muslims–all have it way worse. If I felt scared and alone, how must THEY feel???
I saw many Trump supporters come across my Facebook feed. And they shut-down dissent by telling anyone liberal or sorry about the win to “get over it.” They discounted their opinions, silencing their views. I try not to make waves on Facebook. Or at work. I know I am more progressive then my small-town peers. I understand I have lived in more states, have more education, watch documentaries and learn about issues. I’m a moderate, but a progressive one. That sets me apart from most loud political views. I get that people that just don’t know, don’t necessarily hate, but they are ignorant. I can let some things go. And I am usually quiet. I scroll past the politics that are opposite to my views, the hate-memes, and ignorance. Because these people are family. Or they are my past. I grew up and went through every year of schooling from kindergarten to senior year with some of these people–it’s just not worth it.
But when people started hassling Cool on her Facebook page, I stopped to think. She was upset and posted why. People wrote long diatribes, personally attacking her. People told her to shut up about it. People said to “move on.” And in a society that just accepted what Trump stands for, and voted him in the highest office–I decided we could no longer afford apathy.
A lot of the reason he got voted in was because people didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote. A whole, big section of youth, and moderates, and democrats just didn’t vote. Which left privileged people to make our decisions. People whose lives look nothing like mine. People who don’t have the same problems and worries as me (or other marginalized groups). It made me think a lot of that Holocaust quote, which I will not directly quote (because I’m too lazy to go search for it, and I already have more tabs open then I like) so I will sum the sentiment up: They took the criminals, and I was not a criminal so I didn’t say anything. They took the gypsies, and I was not a gypsy so I didn’t say anything. They took the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didn’t say anything. So when they came for me–there was nobody to speak for me.
We always have to remember how the Holocaust started so nothing even remotely similar can repeat itself. It’s not just about some tyrant stealing power–it’s the apathy and silence from the real majority that allows that to happen.
And Cool and I spent a very large part of the year watching WWII (and everything around the periphery of that) shows, interviews, and documentaries. I know what apathy can lead to, I know how things got started in Germany back then. So I felt motivated to stand up where I could in my own life. I made a new policy that I would not be silenced by the privileged few. I would not stand down as a woman. I will not hide as a gay. I will not let my poverty minimize my power. And I wouldn’t stand by and say nothing when others were hassled–not anymore. I will act with integrity and stand for what I believe in. Even if it causes confrontation. I will deliberately show my ethics and speak my morals. I have to counter the negativity and hate that was just sanctioned by a vocal majority by stopping the silence and apathy. First in my own life, then maybe even on a larger scale.
Here’s what I wrote to Cool (and her frenemies on Facebook):
And I wrote to her (and those frenemies of hers):
“Words of wisdom: I will not be shut-down or silenced. I will continue to voice my ethics and let my values guide my actions. Hate has no place here. Don’t let societal pressures make you falter. Speak your mind. Speak your truth.”
Because right now it’s super-important for all those just marginalized by the ignorants and the haters to have a voice. Remind people we’re here and we’re just as valid. And we have dreams, hopes, and rights. We deserve an equal chance. We deserve respect. That dissent is not unpatriotic. To speak out for injustice is as American as you can get. It’s what this country was built on.
I also got brave and wrote from my heart on my own Facebook page. Knowing I was outnumbered by right-wingers. Knowing there was hate for my groups just under the surface.
“I try to keep politics off my page. Nobody really wants to hear it–you’re not changing anyone’s mind. And I don’t identify with either party. I think with all the money, and lobbyists, and Super-PACS all candidates that make it that far have to be corrupt just to be in the game. But I am in shock and dismay.