I woke up Wednesday disheartened by the election, but I was also numb. Probably from a year and a half of listening to Trump’s rhetoric with a mix of terror and incredulity. But also because I’m pretty sure my depressive brain just went into “can’t handle this” mode.
Instead, I latched on to the moderate tone of Trump’s acceptance speech and somehow convinced myself that it might be okay. That his views might have been exaggerated for pandering purposes. To the point that I literally forgot about the sexual assault allegations for the better part of a day. Not sure how, but I think it speaks to my messed-up state of mind.
And so that was the place I posted from when I said that the “not my president” protesters had to knock it off. That we hated it when some conservatives did it to Obama, so we couldn’t emulate them. That for better or worse, he is our president-elect.
Why that’s not okay
I maintain that some of the sentiment is valid, but most of it wasn’t. Because the implication was that people shouldn’t be allowed to protest or otherwise show that they’re genuinely scared for their/their families’ future.
Again, I think that a lot of this was simply my brain nope/peace-outing. As of Thursday, I was back to despair and a far more active fear for minorities and women in this country.
But the driving force behind the admonitions doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was invalidating people’s reactions. And that’s because I come from a place of privilege.
Soooo much privilege
I’m a straight, while, middle-class woman. In fact, I’m so white that I frequently joke that I identify as Cracker American (or Whitey McWhite American, if you prefer).
Actually, as of last year I suppose you could argue that Tim and I are technically upper middle-class, though a fair amount of my overly-fair pay gets sucked away by health issues. The point is that, on paper, we make a lot of money. And even in the event of an economic downturn, I have very good job security. Worst case scenario, I’d have to take a pay cut.
I don’t have to worry about my or my relatives’ safety. (In fact, I’m willing to bet a fair chunk of them actually voted for Trump.)
I don’t have to worry that my marriage will be nullified.
I don’t have to worry that hate speech will be spewed at me or spray painted on my property.*
I don’t have to worry about being stopped by the police and asked for my papers. I’ll almost definitely never be stopped and frisked.
And while I suppose I have an increased risk of assault,** I don’t feel that threat because, really, I don’t go out much. And when I do it’s usually with Tim, who would quite literally send to the hospital anyone who threatened me.
In the end, the biggest impact Trump could have on me personally is killing Medicare. (Which I don’t find likely, but anything is possible.) Having a huge premium and high deductible for each of us would have a painful impact on our finances, but at least we’d still have our basic human rights.
I’m truly sorry
So I owe anyone who saw my social media postings that day an apology. A democracy means that your voice should be heard at all times — as long as you don’t speak through violence.
In fact, we need to be vocal so that the main parties realize what it is they need to do to recoup votes (and anyone’s remote trust). Or maybe, as one Facebook post pointed out, to make sure that Trump — who won by hearing and playing to the voices of the angry and disenfranchised — will start shaping his policies toward us too.
How are you coping in the post-election atmosphere? Do you plan to make your voice heard over the next four years (either against Trump’s policies or as continued support for them)?
* I saw some pictures of defaced property. One person took a picture of something tacked to his door: a photocopy of Trump with hand-drawn swastikas and a threat that I currently can’t remember. Another picture showed a car spray-painted with the word “faget” — which seems about like the perfect embodiment, on multiple levels, of blind hate.
** Yes, women were already attacked in this country before this debacle. But I’m referring to instances where the men called the women “liberal bitch” or otherwise included politics in their assault. And yes #NotAllMen, #NotAllConservatives. But that’s not the point. The point is that currently there’s an impression that violence and hate speech — and hate in general — are more acceptable. A terrifying population feels vindicated because American voters elected a man who has physically assaulted women*** and bragged about it, spouted xenophobic speech, and repeatedly failed to distance himself from hate groups.
*** I know some people believe his accusers were paid off. But it’s unlikely when multiple women come forward. I mean, I’m sure there are a small number of women who would falsely accuse a man for money, it would take a lot of money, given the hate and threats that’d surely follow. And I have trouble believing the Clintons or Clinton campaign had that much money.