To my friends (yes, friends) who voted for Trump: You say you voted for Trump for reasons entirely absent from hatred, racism, and misogyny. You are sick of being called a racist, a misanthrope, a sexist, a xenophobe.
So let’s start with this premise: I believe you when you say you don’t hold any of these things in your heart. I believe you when you say that these things are not why you voted for him. I BELIEVE YOU.
But/and: he and his surrogates do say hateful things, and use coded language like “certain groups” and “certain neighborhoods.” Some people are hearing those things and are now feeling emboldened to do and say truly hateful, un-American things to minority groups. The stories are pouring in: echoes of Brexit as American women have their hijabs ripped from their heads, as women are grabbed and men laugh and say “we can grab you by the pussy now,” as brown schoolchildren come home in tears because some of their white classmates have told them they’ll have to leave the country, as Black people are called n*** in the street by white people who say, “God, it feels so good to say that in public again.”
I know that that is not YOU. Hear me say it. Stop thinking I am saying this atyou, when I am just saying it to you. I believe you, so please believe me.
Your knee-jerk reaction is going to be to shout, “Those bad apples don’t represent me, so don’t lay their horrible behavior at my feet!” How many ways can I say this? I believe you. But/and this is still a real phenomenon. You and those apples supported, and support, the same man, even if for vastly different reasons. And those bad apples feel really, really good right now. The KKK is holding a celebratory parade. A PARADE. Those awful people — who I rush to say, again and again, are not you — feel vindicated and empowered by this election result.
So here’s where I stand: You voted for him, so I believe you have a responsibility to hold him to a truly American standard.
I’m not asking you to reject the president-elect.
I’m not asking you to apologize for your vote.
I’m not telling you you’re not allowed to feel vindicated for your feelings of being ignored and left out and lied to.
I’m not telling you what your stance on immigration or refugees or Black Lives Matter should be.
Here’s what I am saying: You’ve said all along that you disagree with the ‘inelegant’ things Trump says about all kinds of groups of people. You’ve agreed that his statements about women are abhorrent. You say you like him because he gets stuff done, not because of the way he speaks. And I believe to my core that you agree that all people should be treated with decency.
So, now you get to prove it. It’s actually so simple: Demand that it end. Demand that he finally, vociferously reject the KKK and other white supremacist groups. Every single time he or his surrogates says something over-generalized about any group of people — “all Black people live in inner cities and their lives are hell”; “all/most/many refugees/immigrants/Muslims/whatever are dangerous”; “that woman is only a 7” — hold him to the highest standard you have. Contact him and tell him, “I support you, I voted for you, and I demand that you stop saying these things.”
Now is a real chance to prove everyone wrong. It’s also a real chance to actually protect some fellow Americans and fellow humans from harm. How?
You, a good-hearted, well-intentioned, America-loving person, can publicly and loudly demand that the President-elect and all of his surrogates and appointees denounce all hate groups who are celebrating this win as a win for their agenda. You can demand — publicly, not just on your Facebook feed or just to friends — that the President-elect make a public statement disavowing and condemning every single act of violence, intimidation, bigotry, misogyny, and hatred that is being done in his name and in the name of his movement. He should just say it: “This is disgusting, it’s un-American, and I will not allow it to be done in my name or in celebration of my Presidency.”
You are the only ones who can do this.
Do it because you are all the things you say you are: loving, tolerant, inclusive, and American.
Do it because, as Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good (wo)men to do nothing.”
Updated to include links recently shared with me:https://www.splcenter.org/tell-donald-trump-reject-hate-and-bigotry-0
What Next? Talk with others. Take action.
Originally published at Medium