I get it. You’re sick of seeing your Facebook feed fill up with people expressing their feelings. You think everyone should stop whining and go back to celebrating the Cubs World Series win, their babies and puppies, and all the stupid funny mindless shit that we all love and hate Facebook for. You want to go back to wasting your time scrolling through garbage instead of reading things that force you to think. I totally get it. I’m not happy about the state of Facebook either. I wish all I had to write about were picture frames and happy memories. But your apathetic stance is everything I fear. Your inability to see what is happening, why people are still talking, why people care, that is exactly what motivates me to write in the first place.
This is one of those posts that I read and I get what he is trying to say, I do. The more we chatted, it became clear he was specifically referring to the less thoughtful posts, the ones that sort of feed into the hate. But maybe “whining” wasn’t the best choice of words. Throughout this election, I feel like words themselves have just lost meaning. Words are no longer chosen carefully, not by our peers, not by our President-Elect, not by people trying to have intelligent discussions, especially when they disagree. People just say whatever they want, expecting no consequence. As a lover of words, this hurts me. If we can’t say what we mean, and mean what we say, we’re doomed.
People speaking up for what is right, calling for change, expressing their disappointment in the character of our future President of the United States, that is not whining. People reaching out, telling their Muslim friends, their LGBTQ friends, their black friends, their lady friends, their friends, that they see them, that they care? That’s just free speech. And love. And words that need to be said. These are not feeble and petulant complaints. These are genuine, deep feelings. There is a difference. And as a woman who was speaking out (and loudly), I find this particular choice of words offensive.
Also, this was posted on Wednesday, less than 24 hours had passed since the face of America had changed. Maybe not so much for me, maybe not for you, and definitely not for every straight, white, male out there. But for a lot of people. I mean, what did you think you were going to find on Facebook the day after?
This is a big deal. People are protesting in droves against their President-Elect. People are legit fearful of their President-Elect. Does that mean anything to you? How many President-Elects before today have caused such a negative reaction, resulted in such fear and despair across the country? How many President-Elects have inspired so much open hate? This isn’t like your favorite team losing the World Series. This isn’t about which college football team deserves to play in the Rose Bowl, in the National Championship. This isn’t about my team losing. This isn’t about teams at all. It’s not about red or blue or left or right or any of the things that it seems so easy for some people to boil it down to.
Ryan is a friend, a military man, a neighbor, and a legit socially conscious dude. And we were actually able to talk about how his words affected me in a thoughtful, intelligent way. I was able to see what he was trying to say, he was able to see my point of view. Amazing how that works, eh? And for the record, he is NOT a Trump supporter.
But at the same time, this apathetic view of what is happening in the world around us is what scares me. This is NOT something to just accept and move on from, unless you are okay with a President-Elect who says he wants us to come together, but still has not addressed all of the hate crimes, open displays of violence as a result of his election. And please don’t send me videos of people bashing Trump supporters. I have seen them, and yes they are awful. I am not excusing their actions. Because I am talking about ALL OF THE VIOLENCE. All of the hate.
Including the words “Fuck N*ggers,” “Fuck All Porch Monkeys,”Whites Only” accompanied by the name of our noble Prez-Elect, smeared all over the locker of a student of color in Maple Grove, MN. Only they didn’t use a asterisk. They actually meant it.
Including these signs posted in a Florida High School:
Including these words spoken to a black man at a gas station:
Including this chant of white power by white students walking down the halls at York Tech High School in PA. Please watch this. It is horrifying.
Including men, LITTLE BOYS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, who think it’s okay to grab vaginas now. Little ears can hear what you are saying! They HEAR YOU.
Including students bringing deportation letters for their Latino classmates, making a human wall to not allow students to pass:
Including a deaf woman who was told to take her “retarded self and go somewhere else now. Trump is president now.”
Including this message, painted over a sign expressing love and acceptance, essentially stating, yeah, we’re not interested in “coming together” to build YOUR version of a better tomorrow.
Including the words “Seig Heil 2016,” that were spray painted across a South Philadelphia storefront window, along with a swastika. The vandalism was discovered on the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht. For those of you who don’t know what that word is, what that word means, I urge you to look it up. Because it means so much more than the night of Nazi attacks on Jewish-owned businesses at the onset of the Holocaust. So.Much.More.
(There are unfortunately waaaay too many more examples, and for those of you who haven’t, I urge you to check out Shaun King’s Twitter page.)
You can say this is not Trump’s fault. Fine. You can say that. But please ask yourself…was this happening before he was Prez-Elect? Why do you think it is happening now? Why do you think people think it’s okay to express such hate, such intolerance, such bigotry?
And don’t tell me, “But he addressed it during his acceptance speech. He said, we need to come together!” You can’t lead the campaign he did for over a year, filled with underlying, if not overtly racist messages of hate, bigotry, misogyny, preying on the xenophobic fears of Americans, and then say, “Hey man! I won! Let’s all be friends and come together now!” in a speech written by someone else, and consider it “addressing the issue.”
Oh, wait, The Donald did address this. Sort of.
But let’s give credit where credit is due…he did also Tweet this, after someone on his team mostly like slapped his hand a bit horrified and said, “Yo, you gotta do better now, you’re practically the President. It’s sort of your job to listen to the people. ALL OF THE PEOPLE. Not just your supporters.”
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Well said, Maya Angelou.
I am not willing to accept this as the America I live in. It is people like me, it is people like my friend Ryan, it is the Me’s and the You’s that need to be absolutely outraged by these hateful, racist, bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic (and yes, I will use these words in every single post until everyone figures out what they really mean, especially in today’s America), very public outbursts by our neighbors, by people that call themselves Americans. Because if THAT is what it means to be American, I no longer know what the hell I am. But it ain’t that.
So yeah. Stop telling me to get over it.