Friday, November 11, 2016

Change is coming

I'm in the middle of composing the many trip posts from our civil rights/war trip across the USA a couple of weeks ago, but felt obliged to express my feelings on this election for my kids and for my friends and family (whoever may be interested).

It's been an interesting couple of days to say the least.  I've had several Trump supporter friends and family reach out.  I wish I could say that it was in a "I understand you're not happy but I still love you" or a "Let me know what I can do to help you or your friends who are hurting".  Instead, I have been text messaged, tagged on divisive FaceBook posts, and had friends laughing and joking about my many friends who are absolutely broken right now.  I know the people who supported Trump because a giant majority of my friends are Trump voters.  Most of them either currently live or spent most of their lives in small towns.  Most of them voted exactly how their parents voted, how their neighbor voted, and how they were taught to vote.  I don't blame them for that.

The day after the election, I grieved.  I spent most of the day crying.  I didn't cry for me.  I'm white.  I'm financially secure.  I'm physically healthy.  I'm heterosexual.  I identify the same way I was born sexually.  I was born in the USA.  The thing I cried for wasn't me.  I'm insulated from most of the outcomes.  The KKK marching to celebrate and show strength doesn't physically scare me personally, because I'm white.  The "locker room talk"/sexual assault that Trump bragged about and then was accused by so many women of doesn't scare me, because I'll never be in the same room with him.  The religious foundation that Pence is advocating which removes birth control access for so many doesn't physically scare me, because I can no longer get pregnant, and even if I did, I can afford whatever healthcare I need.  The religious stance he advocates to remove the rights of the LGBTQ community doesn't frighten me, because I'm not LGBTQ.  Trump's pick for Secretary of Education who believes that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that it should be taught in public schools doesn't scare me, because my kids don't go to public schools.  The promise by the president-elect to repeal the ACA which would leave millions of people without health insurance doesn't bother me, because I'm insured outside of the ACA. The promise to send all Muslims on visas out of the country doesn't scare me, because I'm not Muslim.  And his promise to build a wall doesn't scare me, because it's simply ridiculous.

What does scare me is how any of my friends and family could still cast a vote for him when, while even insulated from all these things, they are directly voting against their own interests.  This wasn't about voting someone in because Washington needed a change.  Hell, look who he is putting on his team: all Washington insiders.  When people voted for him, they voted against my kids and they voted against everything I thought the USA stood for.  I have been chastised over the last 24 hours because I refuse to condemn the protestors who are burning flags.  Yet the people chastising me won't condemn the KKK or the children in school yelling "build a wall" at Hispanic students, or men yelling racial slurs at Muslims, or the "n word" being scribbled all over the place.  They won't even email Trump to fight against some of his most draconian appointees.  I care more about the people.  I'm not going to burn a flag, but I can understand why they felt so moved to do it.  I want to make that clear: I CARE MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAN THE FLAG.  And when people voted for his platform, they voted for everything that does scare me.

When people voted for him, they voted to eliminate the ACA.  I have several friends with children and grandchildren who will soon age out of the parent's insurance.  These kids have had lifelong diseases or illnesses that will need a lifetime of medical care for.  When the ACA goes, in come life time maximums and pre-existing conditions.  These kids will not be able to get insurance when they turn 25.  So they will either give up healthcare or face homelessness.  One woman's response to this was to say her loved one would go to college and get a job and pay for insurance.  Here's the thing: he won't be able to afford insurance covering a pre-existing condition and he certainly won't be able to afford medical care. This isn't a fear mongering issue, this is a reality.  Yet their moms and dads and grandparents voted for Trump.  Trump wants to privatize roads.  How will minimum wage workers get to work?  If they have to work for two hours before they even make a dollar, how will that work out?  Chances are, they will stop going to work because it cost too much, and then they go on government assistance.  Voters for Trump lose there.  Or the business owners are forced to pay more per hour in order to have people show up for work.  Those business owners lose there.  The voters lose there.  Examples demonstrating how exactly white voters voted against themselves are endless.  There are a few people who will have our taxes drop.  It will never make up for the financial and personal repercussions that a huge chunk of country will experience due to their religion, skin color, financial status, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or gender.

I have friends who keep saying, "It'll be fine.  Quite being dramatic."  Every single one who says that is saying it from the white elite privilege vantage point.  And everyone who says that is refusing to consider the implications of Trump implementing his first 100 days.  Fourteen transsexual teenagers evidently killed themselves two days ago because they couldn't face the even more hate filled world that they were already experiencing. The reality of what the promises of the president-elect want to do are dramatic.

So I won't rant and rave on Facebook, although I support those who do.  Instead, when I am treated as a child by friends or family because my values include caring about and supporting people who aren't like me, I will fight.  I'll donate to Planned Parenthood, FFRF, the Sierra Club, the ACLU and to any and all organizations whose goal it is to provide for the marginalized in this country.  I'll donate time.  I'll ask for people to write Trump's team when he delivers on hate or bigotry that he advocated in his campaign.  I'll raise my kids to do the same.  We won't cry anymore.  We'll be allies. And hopefully along the way we will change some people's lives for the better, and hopefully we will convince one more person to change the platform they support in the future. And hopefully the people I know who voted for Trump will stand up and fight the part of his presidency that is contrary to everything this country is supposed to represent.

So yeah, for all of you who want to tag me on those posts and fight with me about how the marginalized and vulnerable are ridiculous and a joke, do it.  I'll debate with you, and when you lose and block me, I'll donate.  It'll likely help you or your kids/grandkids/friends, but that's okay.  I'll be the one on the right side of history.

And let's all hope that he is successful in his presidency.  Let's hope his rhetoric was hateful as a part of a ploy to win the election.  Let's hope that these very real concerns prove to be needless.  Let's hope he can implement term limits.  And let's hope that he shows a presidential temperament instead of a reality show one.  And let's hope that he finally starts representing all Americans and not just the white ones.  We'll all win that way.