In 1934, a racist, homophobic xenophobe was democratically elected into a position of power. He stirred up the national sense of disillusionment and validated a whole host of citizens’ hateful views. He led a campaign of hate against those of certain races, religions, sexualities and nationalities. He was mocked and satirised on the world stage and not particularly taken seriously as a threat or a danger until it was already too late.
In 2016, a racist, homophobic xenophobe was democratically elected into a position of power. He stirred up the national sense of disillusionment and validated a whole host of citizens’ hateful views. He led a campaign of hate against those of certain races, religions, sexualities and nationalities. He was mocked and satirised on the world stage and not particularly taken seriously as a threat or a danger until it was already too late.
President-Elect Donald Trump is undeniably a deeply terrifying, enraging, inconceivably dangerous individual. He, an unqualified, mediocre white (orange) male billionaire with no political background, has ascended to one of the most powerful positions in the western world in spite of (or more accurately because of) his hateful, outdated, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic and transphobic views, policies and behaviours. Entire demographics of human beings have totally valid and legitimate cause to be fearful, terrified, incensed, distraught; it is as yet unclear exactly what this man’s presidency will mean for them in terms of law and policy, but there is a general understanding that progress and positive change is totally off the cards.
A few days before the election President Obama observed that “[Trump’s] campaign has taken away his Twitter. In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self-control, they said ‘We’re just gonna take away your Twitter.’ Now, if somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes”. We are talking about a man who can’t control his Twitter rage and thinks it okay to “grab her by the pussy”. He is without a doubt the most vile President-Elect I’ve ever seen, but the fact that almost half of the voting public in the USA voted for him proves that this problem is far bigger than one orange bigot.
Trump himself is only the catalyst for what is set to be the real and palpable fear in everyday lived experience for those demographics who are not white and male (white women, I’m seriously side-eyeing 52% of you too right now. You are not exempt.) Trump will not personally come to your town and make your queer, non-white, transgender friends’ daily lives a living hell; the 59,535,522 Americans who voted for him will do that on his behalf. Perhaps the most dangerous element of Trump’s pending presidency is that, in being voted in for office, the hateful, outdated, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic and transphobic views, policies and behaviours that he represents and exhibits have been championed, have been proved to be totally electable qualities, and thereby have been totally validated in your average Trump voter. Those people have more or less had their prejudices confirmed and verified. They will be feeling righteous, emboldened and riding high on victory. They will be feeling empowered to be more vocal and active in their hate; they will be the ones who enforce Trump’s outdated and inhuman rhetoric on a daily, local level.
Trump can pass laws and introduce policies which restrict freedoms and discriminate against races, religions, sexualities – he can make life difficult on a large scale which should not be underplayed – but it is the behaviour of your neighbours, townspeople, parents, cousins, workmates, fellow US citizens who feel their hate being validated on a national, global scale by Trump’s presidency, who have the power to make real life a living hell. That kind of mob mentality is more terrifying than a maniacal president. Trump is one very powerful individual, but there are 59,535,522 individuals scattered across the United States who agree with him.
Now is the time for unity; now is the time to band together and protect our sisters and brothers who fall into Trump’s hated demographics. Now is the time to amplify their voices and to ramp up the fight for basic human rights and freedoms. It is easy, natural and understandable to feel defeated, fearful, despondent, demotivated in response to this tragedy, but after we have mourned we must get back up and carry on advocating for change. Donate, volunteer, campaign, lobby; do whatever it is you need to do or whatever it is you can to help those who will be most affected and most frightened in this dark and difficult time. Now more than ever it is crucial to not stay silent.
“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it”.
We have an upcoming post on post-election self care and ways to help, but in the meantime here are some good resources if you are feeling unstable or helpless or simply need something to uplift you: