I wrote and posted this on Facebook yesterday morning. It was borne partly of anger and frustration and a night of fitful sleep, but mostly, it was borne of logging into Facebook and seeing the pain, fear, hurt, confusion and grief of those I love and call my friends and family in the wake of the election results. These are feelings that were completely avoidable, and completely brought on willfully by our fellow citizens. It pained me greatly to see my friends feeling the way they feel, and I felt a duty to speak to my fellow white people. Like I said, there is a lot of anger and raw feelings here. I’m not particularly gracious or thoughtful, something I usually shoot for, but this is what I feel the world needs to hear from me right now. There will be plenty of time in the future to build bridges. For now, I rage.
I want to drop a note to all my fellow white people (and we know it was white people; go look at the exit polls) who decided to pull some shit yesterday at the polls and elect a fascist man-child to be the most powerful person on the planet. I want to drop this note because I, too, am a straight white man, and I will deal with your bullshit today so that my LGBT/female/immigrant/Muslim/POC friends don’t have to, so that they can maybe just have a tiny sliver of peace today.
I know you think you voted for Donald Trump because you are “taking your country back,” because you feel like you are getting screwed over by Washington, because you were voting not so much for something, but AGAINST something. Which may have been your intention going into the voting booth, and what you are telling yourself this morning. But let me tell you something: you didn’t vote against anything yesterday. You didn’t vote against any entrenched powers or for any common people. What you voted for is exactly what we have all seen for at least the last 18 months, and really for the last 40 years since Trump first defiled us with his public presence.
What you voted for is a candidate who was endorsed by and enthusiastically supported by avowed racists like the KKK and David Duke. That means something, ok? I know you didn’t vote for him because of race, but by supporting him, you in essence supported blatant, 1960s-level racism. How do you think people of color feel when you say this was about “kicking out all the bums?” You think they give a damn that you didn’t mean to vote racism, you just unintentionally did because you were angry about something else? It doesn’t work that way. This last year, POC have been trying to get you to admit their lives matter. Yesterday, you decided, again, to reject that idea.
What you also voted for is old school, Mad Men-style – no, scratch that: King Henry VIII-level – misogyny. You voted for a candidate who openly bragged about sexually assaulting women, who had 16 -16!!!!- accusers of sexual assault just in the last month, who is scheduled for trial a month from now for raping a 13 year old! You just told women everywhere that they are in fact just pieces of meat, destined to be the objects of lust for mediocre, pasty old white men. You just took the core thing women have worked for in the country for far too long – the right to feel like equal, respected human beings around men – and stomped on it. Congrats: you just elected our first rapist-in-chief.
What you voted for is the enhanced demonization and degradation of an entire religion, and the people who make it up, because of the isolated actions of a solitary few. Islamophobia is at an all time high, and in response to that, our country founded on respect of all and religious freedom decided to elect the Grand Poobah of Islamophobia. Listen people, I have some really really good friends in the Muslim community, here in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City. Let me be very, very clear about this: they are not terrorists, anymore than you are a terrorist or I am. They are some of the hardest working, most patriotic Americans I know, people who work for the community and spread love and peace as far as they can. And with your vote yesterday, you slapped each and every one of them in face, telling them they are a danger and are less American than you. I feel for my Muslim brothers and sisters, so many of whom I see on Facebook this morning expressing fear and worry about what they will be facing as they venture out into the world in Trumpworld Day One. They already had to deal with a lot of shit this year; I hope and pray this election does not further empower the haters out there to go further with they bigoted actions. But if it does, Trump votes, you need to know: you played a role in that. Again, even if your intention wasn’t to vote for that, by voting for Trump, you did actually vote for that.
What you voted for is the continued scapegoating of immigrants, and specifically Hispanic immigrants, who live and work in this country, their country. With your vote, you told millions of human beings, humans who may have been born elsewhere but who want nothing more than to come to the country you keep telling them is the greatest in the world and work and make a difference and contribute to making all of our lives better, that they don’t count. In return for the hard work and sacrifice they have made, you spit in their faces, voting for the man-child who has vowed to round em up and ship em out and then build a giant wall in their faces, as if forcing them out wasn’t enough of a way to say “I f-ing hate you.” How very hospitable, white America. I’m sure Jesus is just so damn proud of the hospitality you continue to show.
What you voted for yesterday is to express- again – your hate and disgust for LGBTQ+ human beings everywhere. I know you say it all the time: “love the sin, hate the sinner.” But screw that. With your continued vote for candidates and a party who reject the equality of their being, who want to take their rights and criminalize their relationships and love, who want to force damaging, scientifically-unsound “Conversion” treatments on them, you keep showing us how you really feel about these people that I and so many others love unconditionally just how they are. With your vote, you continue to put them in active danger, empowering bigots who everyday commit hate crimes and who drive too, too many LGBTQ+ people – and especially LGBTQ+ CHILDREN – to suicide. You tell them they are less than human, and guess what? That shit hurts, and they internalize it, and meanwhile, we, their friends and family and loved ones, have to continue to work of undoing your hate and reminding them that they do matter.
What you voted for yesterday- what you really voted for- wasn’t to “Make American Great Again.” You voted instead to tell all these good people- these human beings, these souls created in the very image of God – that they are worth less than you, that their dignity and humanity is somehow not as great as yours. You didn’t vote to make America great; we aren’t great when we demonize and denigrate our fellow Americans based on who they are. You voted, instead, to make America just as sucky as it as always been when it comes to minority groups. At least in that sense, then, you embraced a truly American heritage. Congrats.
Because you know what? Here’s the thing: you don’t get to disconnect all of that from your candidate just because you are pissed at the Establishment and wanted to “send a message.” All those things listed above? They are tied up inextricably in YOUR vote. You can’t only vote for the things you like about a candidate. When you went to vote for your Trump, you rubber-stamped all that shit by association. Your mediocre intentions don’t wash away the racism and misogyny and bigotry and hate that your vote ushered into office. Your anger and alienation don’t outweigh the fear people all over the country now have to live with for the next four years. You thought this was all about you. And that’s the goddamn problem, again and again. So many of us white folks are concerned about number one only, and we don’t give a single thought to what our actions and votes mean for other people. That, folks, is the textbook definition of white privilege. Congrats, you showed the world again what it looks like in action.
Listen, y’all know me. I’ve been in the politics game a long time. I’ve been very public about my dislike for a lot of candidates on here. But I never felt the way about an opposing candidate as I do about Donald Trump. I get voting for John McCain or Mitt Romney. I may have disagreed with you, but I got it, and while I encouraged people to vote the other way, I went out of my way to never insinuate that either candidate was in any way unfit to lead or illegitimate. I think that happens far too often in politics anymore, and I take pride in holding a commensurate level of respect for all candidates, no matter their party.
But I never could do that with Trump. And that’s because he so goes against everything I love and cherish about democracy and the American presidency. I love presidential history, and I am so ashamed that in the future, when I look through a list of names that includes such greats as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Obama, and such forgotten leaders as Monroe, Grant, Garfield, McKinley, and Johnson, I now have to see the name “Trump” amended onto the end. What a terrible disgrace to the great leaders who came before, to those who set a standard of class and elegance and seriousness to being a leader. Because I see none of that in Trump. He’s not serious. He’s not attentive. He’s not particularly intelligent or successful. He doesn’t seem to know or understand or even care about the gravity of leading our country, of the level of commitment and humility it takes. He just knows how to bullshit and sell his name and be the ultimate narcissist, and we in our great wisdom have lapped that shit up for a long time. And now we’ve decided that marketing skill is good enough to put him in charge of our country at a crucial point in history, when a new world order is emerging, the Middle East is as fractured as ever, our entitlements and programs are in crisis, the environment in on the brink of no return, and demographic shifts are changing the balance of power around the world.
This was our response. Talk about blowing it.
One last note: I am a Christian. I am in seminary to become a minister. I’ve made my views about the intersection of Trump and Christianity very clear on my blog, and I can share those posts here is anyone wants to read them. But let me just say this: Donald Trump, the movement he leads, and the ideas he promotes and incubates, are the most UN-CHRISTIAN I have ever seen in politics. So don’t tell me you voted your faith. That’s bullshit and you know it and I know it and I’m not about that today. Newsflash: voting as a Christian means a hell of a lot more than voting about abortion. Go read Matthew 25, or the Sermon on the Mount, or really any story where Jesus encounters the least and the lost, and then think about how Donald Trump would handle those situations. Our faith is about love; there isn’t a lot of love in the Trump campaign, that’s for damn sure. Congrats, on placing your politics above your faith in the most blatant way possible. And don’t talk to me ever again about “Christian America.” Because if we didn’t know for sure that it was a myth long ago, last night just really confirmed that for us.
Now excuse me. I have to go start the process of teaching my children that bullying and meanness and a lack of concern for others isn’t the way to be a good person, despite what so many of their fellow citizens are trying to tell them otherwise.