I admit it. For the first time in my life after an election, I’m scared. This is not just a bit of uneasiness I feel when my candidate loses. This is a palpable fear coming from someone who, for the first time, is on the outside looking in.
Over half of my family is black. Out of the nine children we have, statistically speaking, odds are probably pretty good that one of them will fall into the LGBT Category. And while I might be a white, middle-class professional, the minute any of those kids walk out the door, no one knows who their parents are. And, by the way, it shouldn’t matter.
Our new President Elect may or may not really feel the way that I think he does. But after two days, I’ve seen more verified reports of things happening to minorities and others who have been marginalized by his campaign that, so far, I have no reason to believe otherwise. Based upon the people he’s putting in his Cabinet and the people he’s putting in charge of certain committees, it’s getting harder and harder to believe that we are not experiencing a modern-day Nazi’ism.
I am having a hard time even wanting to talk to people I know who voted for Trump. People whom, in the past, I’ve called friends. I want to still call them friends, but mostly what I see is them defending their choice instead of realizing that their friends are hurting, angry, and worried about what’s next. It’s frustrating.
I do understand, though. I understand what it feels like to be vilified for a choice you made. I even understand what it feels like to have people upset with you because you picked the guy who’s a bully (that’s the way people see it, like it or not). I even understand that sometimes the bully wins, and I understand that many feel that the choices were not great this time around. I totally get it. Believe me, unless you fall into one of the classes that feels marginalized, you might *think* you’re being sensitive, but as the saying goes: unless you walk a mile in the shoes. . . well, you’re just not going to “get it.”
And you know what? That’s ok. From my perspective, I don’t expect you to. I don’t see how you can.
BUT. . .
What you CAN do is please feel free to support your candidate but call out ANYONE and EVERYONE that practices hate-speech of any kind. Stop bullying in its tracks. I know my friends are compassionate people. I wouldn’t be requesting this of you if I thought you weren’t. If you hear people talking about a minority, even if there are no minorities around, tell them to stop. Otherwise you really are condoning their behavior. And while I do believe that there is gray area with almost any subject, this is one in which there isn’t.
I’m a pretty sarcastic guy, but one of the hard lessons I’ve learned and have to keep learning is this: “Just joking,” nine times out of ten, hurts someone.
So, fine. You voted for Trump. Your candidate won. As your friend, I am happy for you and your elation that the person you were rooting for won. I want my friends to be happy; even if we disagree. All I ask is that, as a friend, you are mindful of the fact that we have deep concerns. Stand up. Prove that you don’t approve of the behavior. Be vocal about it. Open your eyes to more than what’s going on under your roof. Stop this crap in its tracks and tell the bullies to go home.