Monday, December 12, 2016

We’re All in This Together


Alt-Right Stephen Bannon and Alt-Right Pres. Elect Donald Trump
I woke up this morning hoping last night was just a horrible nightmare. I realize it wasn't and the nightmare is just beginning. As I gathered myself I decided as of today, I am an African-American, a Latino, a Muslim, an immigrant, a disabled American, a woman, and remain a Jew, a gay man, and a journalist. God help us all.
This was my first Facebook post the morning after the election.  The impossible just occurred; the people of the United States elected Donald J. Trump to be their president despite receiving nearly 3 million less votes than Hillary Clinton.

Full disclosure: I am a lifelong Democrat.  Through the years I had become more and more disappointed when a Republican is elected President. I have gained knowledge over my lifetime and recognize the consequences what a Republican president would mean for our country.  However, with this election, I’m not simply disappointed. I am terrified!
The groups of people I cited in that Facebook post should also be scared.  Trump managed to demonstrate his hostility to these groups in one fashion or another.  Whether it was a tweet (where an anti-Semitic re-tweet was fired off) or campaign demagoguery where women, Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, blacks and the disabled were mocked or degraded, we, the targets of Trumpian bigotry and ignorance, should be frightened.

It’s not just the rhetoric that causes alarm.  The neo-Nazis, the KKK and other white supremacists who reside in this country see the Trump victory as the opening they have long craved.  Mr. Trump is now their champion, and he has not disavowed their support in any sincere, full-throated manner.  All we saw was a Kellyanne Conway-crafted half-hearted denunciation.  As Trump himself would tweet, “Sad.”
As a gay man, I am watching the appointments in his administration surface, and it’s like a death by a thousand cuts as each is revealed.  It started with Trump’s pick for Vice President, Mike Pence.  Of all the people in the country, he chose arguably the most virulently anti-LGBT elected official. 

Then the anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Stephen Bannon, formerly head of alt-right Breitbart.com, was selected to be Trump’s chief strategist.  Other homophobes were offered cabinet positions like Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson. 
True, he promised on “60 Minutes” not to roll back hard-fought LGBT rights. But his promises amount to nothing.  Remember his pledge to release his tax returns after the election?  Recall the numerous zigzags he navigated when it comes to policy?

I’m not saying this administration is tantamount to the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Germany but it has conjured up that comparison whereas in past elections, there has never been the slightest hint, no matter who won.  It’s out there now, and for a reason.  This is a scary group and getting worse by the day.
Since the election, there has been a surge in hate crimes, hate bias incidents and bullying in schools.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has attributed these incidents to words emanating from Donald Trump that have given comfort to those who hate all of us who have been disparaged.

And this is before Mr. Trump has even taken power.
Those of us in the marginalized minorities above must band together and form a powerful coalition to be on the alert and fight back.  While some of these groups have had a history of rivalry and at times been enemies, with potentially dangerous situations facing us, now’s the time to coalesce.

For example, the New York Times recently ran a story depicting how Muslims and Jews are banding together in the wake of this threat.

Mr. Trump’s Achilles heel is his narcissism. We need to protest, demonstrate and pressure Congress and the media to keep an eye on him.  Show him that he’s not adulated like at his rallies.   

We’re all in this together.

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