Our country’s white supremacists, misogynists and homophobes have won. I am not surprised by their numbers. Rather, I am saddened by our failure to oppose them, to take their threat seriously.
Now we must prepare to fight. We need to honestly look at those we know who voted for Trump. We need to consider what it means to remain silent and smile—hoping to avoid awkwardness—when they say hateful things about those who are oppressed. We need to consider whether or not it’s worth being polite, whether our civility is of the weak, pathetic kind that seeks to avoid confrontation above all else.
We need to be ready to fight those who are now more emboldened than ever to spread their hatred and intimidation, those who, ironically, trample on the very rights and freedoms that actually make this country great.
We need to fiercely oppose and combat stupidity, the very stupidity that brought this megalomaniacal demagogue to power. Many of the people I work with voted for him. Perhaps now, when it comes up in water-cooler conversation, I will ask, “Was it his fascism or misogyny that appealed to you most?”, and invite the very awkwardness we desperately seek to avoid. Let’s be honest—our silence has brought us here.
I’ll never forget sitting with my family over Christmas as my sister and her husband talked about where they wanted to go on vacation. At one point they suggested South Carolina, to which my father and uncle replied, “No, there’s a lot of blacks there”, and everyone nodded as if it was a perfectly reasonable, logical observation.
I held my tongue. I will try to never do so again. Am I willing to alienate those close to me for something greater?