Your silence is deafening, confusing, hurtful, even. Let me explain.
You feel mislabeled. You have been called racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, and worse, a monster, and an uneducated idiot. These labels hurt, and they hurt all the more because at times they have come from people close to you.
You maintain that you voted for Trump for the “right” reasons. To you it wasn’t about being anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, or anti-woman. It was about the economy, jobs, your mounting insurance premium. You hated all that other stuff. You still do. It was just campaign rhetoric-stuff politicians say to get elected.
You are a good person.
If that’s true, my friend, then now is the time to show it. If voting for Trump gave you misgivings based on the things he said and did- things you say you are adamantly opposed to- your work has just begun, even though the election is over.
It is now your responsibility to speak out against the things you say you do not stand for: mistreatment of women, religious persecution, dehumanization of immigrants, injustice for and intolerance of the LGBT and African American communities. You voted for Trump in spite of his stance on these issues because you believed it was for the greater good. But in electing Trump, already vulnerable populations were put at even greater risk. That may sound like an exaggeration, but there is evidence of it everywhere. Many feel their safety was not as important to you as your personal security, financial or otherwise. That hurts them worse than anything a politician ever said.
I know, I know, you didn’t mean to do these things. But the fact remains that your vote helped put us in this situation- a situation where a man whose inflammatory rhetoric you yourself dislike now holds the highest office in the land. A man whose crude remarks were not disregarded, but lauded by many who voted for him. And those people, now seemingly emboldened by his election, are repeating those cruel words that you and I both detest so much. They’re shouting them in schools, spray painting them on the sides of buildings, yelling them from car windows.
So when you deny that these populations are facing harassment; when you call protesters who march with them “cry babies” or “sore losers”; when you simply remain silent in the face of egregious hate crimes and one disturbing appointment after the next, you aren’t accepting the accountability that comes with your vote. You are forgetting that thing you whispered to yourself in the voting booth: I hate so much of what he does, but I don’t feel like I have another choice.
So if you care- truly care- about those who are now suffering, you will stand with them. You will not turn from their pain. You will listen to their grief. You will speak out when others would harm, slander, or abuse them. You will protect them. You will march with them. You will fight with them.
Otherwise the words you keep repeating to yourself and to others- your insistence on being a good person- ring empty and hollow. Those words with no action behind them serve no other purpose than to ease your conscience. And, dear friend, right now easing your conscience is just not enough.
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