Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ways You Will Not Silence Me Today

I took a social media hiatus when the election results became apparent. I have a lot of conservative Facebook friends and family members, many of whom very vocally supported Trump, and I was certain that I could not handle their responses. My self-imposed isolation didn't last long, though, because I realized that I desperately needed the solidarity and immediate sense of belonging I could get there. I was right. There was so much love, plans for the future, and repudiation of the message of hate that had just won the highest office in the land. It gave me life.

But, of course, the posts I had feared were there as well. I hid some of them from my feed because I found myself unable to resist the urge to respond, an urge that would have led me into a self-defeating spiral of wasted emotion and energy. Instead, I made posts of my own, posts I felt captured my anger and frustration but also pointed to paths forward. I made the kind of posts that I needed to see. I added them to the discussion within a community of people who desperately needed to know they were not alone and that their voices mattered.

And that is why I will not be quiet. I will not be told to stop speaking out about this. I will not be told to "stop whining."

I will not be silent.

Just in case that wasn't clear enough, I want to list the ways I will not be silenced:

Calls for Unity

They've come in many forms. The "now is the time for our country to come together and heal" posts. The "I just want everyone to find peace" posts. This:

A Trump supporter posted this with a plea for us to all just move forward now. 

I don't hate anyone. This sign accurately reflects my own position. I refuse to allow hate into my heart even for those who quite clearly hold hate for me, but that's not the point right now. 

The point is that you can't use a call for "unity" or "peace" to silence the righteous indignation and passionate dissent against a vote for hatred. 

Donald Trump didn't run on policy. He didn't have a single political policy platform unless you count "build a wall" or "ban Muslims." He ran on hate. He ran on division. He delighted in having people beaten at his rallies and laughed while offering to pay for the attackers legal fees. He bragged about grabbing women by the "pussy" without their consent and then defended it as "locker room talk," which means that it is language he uses comfortably and often. He mocked a Gold Star family, a reporter with a disability, a woman for gaining weight. He displayed himself, publicly and as platform, to be a bigot, liar, bully, and unrepentant hate-monger. 

And if you voted for hate, you no longer have the ethos to call for civility. You have ushered in a discourse of vitriol. I will never stoop to the level of our country's new "leader," but I will not sit quietly so that his supporters can enjoy their newly elected mascot of bigotry in "peace." 

"God's Plan"

I cannot count how many times I have been told to "calm down" because "God is in control" and this is "all a part of his plan." 

Well, I don't live in a monarchy. 
First of all, that's certainly not how any of these people felt when the political landscape didn't look quite so appealing to them, but let's set that aside for a moment. 

Second of all, there are a whole lot of horrendous human atrocities you are glossing over as part of God's master plan with this line of logic: the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, child sex trafficking, slavery, the mass slaughter of Native Americans as we claimed their land in the name of "freedom." You do not get to call upon God as a way of excusing the worst actions humans have committed. That's a cop out and a disgrace to faith. But let's even put that aside. 

If this is "all" a part of "God's plan," then so am I and my anger. So are my friends and their anger. We are part of "all." If God planned for Trump to win, then he also planned for us to protest. If this is all some giant cosmic chess game, then these pieces are also in play. You will not shut me down by pretending that you know the outcome. I don't believe in predestination, but if I am wrong, then I am predestined to do what I am doing. You cannot use God as a weapon of silence. 

Speaking of which . . . 

Pretending the Bible is the Only Source of Historical or Literary Guidance 

"Read your Bible," they say to me when they can no longer address any actual argumentative substance. 

Read your Handmaid's Tale. Read your The Fire Next Time. Read your Aristotle. Read your Slaughterhouse-Five. Read your fucking history books, and pay careful attention to the parts about demagogues. 

You're not going to send me on a scripture scavenger hunt to stop me from pointing out bigotry and hate. 

"Now You Know How We Felt When Obama was Elected"

Or, more likely, the quote reads "Obummer" or "Nobama." 

No. Just no. 

Obama has been a paragon of class and respect for others. He has never, not ever, called upon hatred as a course of action. Also, he actually ran on plans and policies. You may have disagreed with those plans and policies, and I understand that, but he ran on them and was elected on their merit. 

If Tuesday had brought me President-elect Jeb Bush or President-elect Marco Rubio or President-elect Ted Cruz, I would have been disappointed. But I would not have been terrified. 

My objection to Trump is not a political objection. I don't know what his politics are. You don't know what his politics are. He didn't share them, and his constituents didn't bother to make it a requirement that he do so. He ran on hate, and they decided hate was enough. He railed against Obamacare, but offered no substitution. He promised to build a wall, but offered no path to pay for it. He has absolutely no experience as a politician, and the experience he does have is in running businesses into the ground and using tax loopholes to get rich while he does so, all the while stiffing the working class people who staff those businesses and shipping his manufacturing overseas. 

To compare that to Obama's candidacy is not just disingenuous, it's insane. 

Just in case you need a reminder of just how different these two candidates are, watch this: 

My candidate has lost elections. I am a liberal, feminist, Democrat in Missouri. My candidates have lost a lot of elections. I do not take to the streets to protest them. I believe in the democratic process. I accept that there are different viewpoints, and I value that. I am disappointed, not terrified, that Roy Blunt is still my senator. But Trump's win terrifies me. 

And here's why I am scared. I am not scared of Trump. He's, as an individual, a failed businessman with egomania and the communication ability of a possum stuck in a trash can. He doesn't scare me. What scares me is that half the country heard his hatred and felt it needed to be codified and championed, that it needed to be rewarded, that it needed to be the face of America. I am not scared of him; I am scared of what his win means about the people around me and what they think when they see me, see my friends, see my family. 

Maybe you were scared of what Obama's policies would do to the country (though, by virtually every measure, he improved it), but that's not the same thing. We have checks and balances set up to put reins on policy. We have no checks and balances for endorsed, sanctioned hatred. 

"Stop Whining" 

I am fighting for the very core of the principles that I believe make life worth living. I am fighting for the safety, for the lives, of my friends and family. I am fighting for respect, tolerance, and love. 

I am fighting for America. 

If you want to call that whining, I don't care. 

But I won't stop doing it. 

And if you thought that these "libtard" "feminazi" "whiners" were too loud before Tuesday, buckle up. We are half of this nation, and one piece of analysis coming out of this election rings completely true to me: Trump's win does come with a mandate: we've been mandated to fight, donate, organize, vote, run for office, and create the world we need. 

You will not silence me. Not today. Not ever. 

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