There is an unnecessary amount of pressure placed on the first of anything. The first chapter of a novel, the first word of a novel, the first child in every family (I would know), so I thought it was pretty reasonable for me to spend a month stressing about what my first blog post would be.
Just as I had resigned myself to writing my first post about my seemingly boring life, I received an unlikely gift (which I would still really like to return, but I always throw away those damn gift receipts) and that was the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Now, before we go any further, a disclaimer:
In the paragraphs that follow, you will find an unsettling amount of my personal and political opinions, my core beliefs and values. You will not find facts, numbers, or anything else that might support the things I am saying. I do have an agenda, but it is not to win you over to my way of thinking; it is to tell you how I am feeling and why. That being said, if this is not something you want to keep reading, feel free to close this window and go on with your day.
I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I wanted to express my feelings in regards to the outcome of this election. I did not want to express them right away, because then people might think I was unable to control my emotions, that I was upset and lashing out because I did not get my way. I did not want to write a Facebook post declaring my feelings, because then people might think that I spend my life complaining on Facebook instead of actually doing something constructive. I did not want to publicly proclaim that Trump voters endorsed racism, sexism, misogyny, and homophobia, because then people might think I consider everyone who voted for him to be racist, sexist, misogynistic homophobes. I did not want to do nothing, because then people might think I am endorsing racism, sexism, misogyny and homophobia by staying silent.
We might not always like what people think and we cannot control what people think, but we should all be appreciative of our ability to think. I want you to think whatever you want about this post, about me. I want you to know that I respect your ability to think freely. I am not trying to silence you. I’m trying to be heard.
The truth is, I do not like Donald Trump. I did not vote for him. I could not justify voting for a man who is racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, and has no political experience. I did not really believe there was actually a chance of him winning this election until the night of the election. That being said, of course I would love it if he turned out to be a great president, but I am not going to sit around and hope for the best. What scares me much more than Trump are all of the people who voted for him.
The truth is, I do believe that anyone who voted for him endorsed his beliefs, whether or not they meant to. I do not believe that everyone who voted for him embodies those beliefs themselves. I do not believe that everyone who voted for him is racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, or any of those things, but they were still willing to vote for a man who was, and that is what I cannot comprehend. That is what I am afraid of. I am afraid of people who are willing to compromise the freedom and safety of others in order to pursue their own self-interests or protect their white privilege.
To my friends and family that voted for Trump, I am hurt by the choice that you made. I hope you will understand someday that I am not hurt because my candidate did not win and yours did. I am afraid for the safety and freedom of so many people in this country. I am afraid we will go backward and undo all of the progress we have made toward equal rights for all people.
I am not going to compromise my core values in order to maintain our friendship. There will be no more superficial conversations, no more intentional avoidance of controversial topics, no more suppressing of opinions just so everyone gets along. What kind of a friendship is that anyway? Not a great one.
Yes, I still love you, but I will call you out for making racist, sexist, homophobic, or other demeaning and unacceptable comments. I will not tolerate them anymore.
To my friends and family that did not vote:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel
It is time to speak up.
To those of you that are still reading, Amanda Deibert has written a fantastic post that I think everyone should read:
Dear Trump Supporter who says they love me,
I am not going to spend the next four years complaining about Trump being president. I will read as many books and learn as much as I possibly can. I will support protesters and maybe even participate in a protest or two if the opportunity arises. I will speak up when I see injustice. I will stand up for what I believe in and fight for what is right.
“Stand up for what is right even if you are standing alone.” – Suzy Kassem