Today, I am grateful that I live in a safe space. I am grateful that I am surrounded by kind, inclusive, and open-minded people.
Today though, many Americans are not as fortunate.
During week one in Trumpland, there have already been hundreds of American citizens who have suffered words of hatred and acts of violence. Stories scream across the Internet of men and women of all races and ethnicities, sexual preferences, and religious beliefs being attacked in one way or another. People I personally know are victims of these actions.
Unfortunately, I cannot just sit here and be grateful. To do so is an injustice to those people and the many others that may suffer such ugliness.
Dear God, if it had been only Trump we might have been okay.
I do not by any means excuse his words of racism, bigotry, sexism, prejudice, and hatred. In fact, the memory of his caustic words will always be branded into my mind. His words burn as embers lighting a fire within me that guides me toward action and the pursuit of progress. He is a bully and always will be, but bullies can be dealt with.
With Trump, however, there is a following of racists and bigots that cannot see the humanity in the other. This army of cruel xenophobes truly scares me.
Leadership is not just about running the show and being the highest one in power. It is about the way you carry yourself and the way you behave. To many people, President-elect Donald Trump’s words and actions justify their own troublesome conduct. Leadership 101: lead by example; people will look at their president and think, “If the leader of the free world can do it, then so can I because it is the free world.” Trump has set his example, and we can already see that others are choosing to follow.
I hate stereotypes. So to say that all Trump voters are the same is to make myself a hypocrite. I cannot possibly believe that all Trump voters want this. To those voters I say: stand up for what is right for humanity. If you voted for Trump for change, let that change be progress. If you did not like Hillary as a presidential candidate, fine. However, if you sit idly by as a witness to the growth of racism, bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia, you are an accessory. Please, do not be the priest or the Levite that passes to the other side of the street when you see your broken down neighbor in need of help.
It is your right to have your own political views and religious beliefs. However, it is wrong to put down others for having differing views and beliefs, or for being different from you at all.
People who are different from you are not purveyors of harm. We want, as much as you do, to succeed and move forward as a nation. We want to see our own families thrive, our own businesses succeed, and our own children grow into a happy life. We want to have healthy relationships with our friends, our neighbors, and our community. Don’t we all want to be a part of this great American Dream?
So please, do not let your political beliefs punish us, for we do not deserve it. We do not deserve to suffer the brunt of condescension, of fear, of hatred, of greed, of ambivalence, of confusion, of apathy, or worse yet, of selfishness.
We deserve better. We deserve equality. We deserve love. And love trumps hate.
Love trumps hate.
Love trumps hate.