Dear Trump Supporters, Sorry- You Are Still Not The Silent Majority

“I’m really glad we won,” she said. “We’re the silent majority.”

I winced a little. I was sitting in the library in a conversation with another girl. I knew she was a Republican. There’s nothing wrong with that. I beilieve strongly that Republicans have a place in politics. Opposition is important. But in that moment, we weren’t talking about Republican politics. We were talking about Trump.

Part of me in that moment believed she was right. They won the election. Trump had always claimed that they would win using these “silent people.” In that moment, I thought maybe she was right. Then I looked at the polls: http://www.cnn.com/election

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. A huge percentage of Americans didn’t vote. According to Mashable.com: (http://mashable.com/2016/11/09/voting-poll-numbers/#WJ2krZP2iqqd).

 46.6% didn’t vote

25.6% voted for Hillary Clinton

25.5% voted for Donald Trump

1.7% voted for Gary Johnson

The “silent” majority of American decided to remain silent. The voting majority voted in Clinton. This wasn’t a revolution by any means. The system, the one that Trump is so against, is the very thing that got him elected. Not the silent majority.  

There’s also the problem of voter suppression- which became very real in this election. However, in an article by Vox, the point was made that voter suppression actually wasn’t the cause. Hillary Clinton, “lost in states that didn’t pass new voting restrictions.” (http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/11/13597452/voter-suppression-clinton-trump-2016). So while the voting rights act is, indeed, broken, there is a lot more going on here than just “voter suppression.” Yes- it happened. No- it wasn’t the cause. Republican’s are actually right about that.

But let’s not make a mistake: Trump is still not the silent majority. Sorry.

Dear “I don’t appreciate being looked at as less of a person because I’m a white straight male.”

Dear, “I don’t appreciate being looked at as less of a person because I’m a white straight male,”

I’m sorry that you lost your house because you are a white straight male and the landlord didn’t want a white family living on their property. I’m sorry that you got stopped on the highway because you looked suspicious. I’m sorry that you have relatives in prison for small, non-violent drug offenses. I’m sorry that your family kicked you out of the house for being a white straight male because it goes against your religion. I’m sorry that you can’t afford birth control and don’t have the ability to get an abortion because of restrictions, and had to miss weeks of work for a pregnancy you didn’t want. I’m sorry that you constantly get accused of being “not from this country” and sometimes get mean looks for your religious garb. I’m sorry that people walk on the other side of the street when they see you alone, or assume that you are uneducated and poor because of the color of your skin. I’m sorry that you may not be able to adopt children or may loose the right to a marriage. I’m sorry you can no longer tell people about your cute husband and kids because you are afraid for their safety. I’m sorry you were told to “put the power tools down because you might get hurt” in high school woodshop or that “you should be more careful” when speaking your mind. I’m sorry you were called “sweetie” and “dear” when your angry or trying to talk. I’m sorry that you went to a party and got drugged, before waking up in the morning and not knowing where you were. I’m sorry that you were told “you look prettier when you smile.” I’m sorry you were made fun of for how dark your skin is or the fact you wear hijab. I’m sorry that you were made fun of by the president for a medical condition you were born with. I’m sorry that every single step you make towards your rights is ridiculed as unnecessary, violent or unneeded.

Your life is so hard,

The rest of the world

American Traditions of Protest

The Boston Tea Party was a protest most people didn’t agree with. It was somewhat violent, costly, and caused a lot of problems with our adjunct parental figure- the British. Today, we learn about it in classroom’s like it was some amazing moment that everyone agreed with. How could someone disagree with that?

The Civil Rights Movement is taught today in history class as a turning point for the black community. It’s taught as bold, brave, and beautiful- Martin Luther King Jr. as the hero, the white oppressors the villains. How could anyone ever be on that side?

“I would never be that person.”

Or are you?

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

-Desmond Tutu

On Facebook (*shudders), people have been calling for the world to “get over it.” People say “Love each other! Why are you so mad?” Friends say,”Stop being so hateful! So Negative!” A friend of mine posted on Facebook, “Why riot? It solves nothing!”

My answer to those people is simply that they are wrong. Half of the people in this country have rights because of protest. The black community. Women. LGBT people. What do you think Rosa Parks was doing when she said,”nah.” People didn’t appreciate it then. The world said, “just get up.”

She said,”No.”

Protest is as American as you can possibly get. We wouldn’t even be a country without it. Yes, it sucks. It’s inconvenient. But just think about how privileged you have to be to find it an annoyance. 

So as Anti-Trump protests stretch into there 5th day in many American cities, I can’t help but value the anger. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/13/us/protests-elections-trump/index.html)

Photo from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/12/01/how-history-got-the-rosa-parks-story-wrong/

Violence Against White America Is Not Oppression.

This is a chicken vs. the egg arguement. But in this case, the chicken is killing the eggs, and the eggs just want their children to grow up without being shot. 

All you have to do is turn on the TV, pick up a phone, or scroll through Facebook (which is what you’re probably doing right now) to see the violence. It stems from both sides of the argument. Angry Clinton supporters, liberals, and minorities have been caught looting, damaging property, and assaulting “trump voters.” A video went viral of a Trump supporter being beaten and dragged out his car. (http://www.dailywire.com/news/10664/video-trump-voter-dragged-his-car-and-beaten-gang-chase-stephens). On the other side, Trump supporters are terrorizing minorities, harming and threatening members of the LGBT community, and bringing back harmful messages of white supremacy. Kids are chanting “build a wall” at middle school lunch. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnnCJg33o08)

‘Merica.

I recently got into an arguement with a friend over this. I showed him photos of a girl who had been assaulted on my campus. His answer was “There’s violence on both sides. It’s never okay. I saw a man be assaulted for being a Trump supporter.”

This is true. But it’s also different. 

Violence against minorities, women, and the LGBT community are hateful acts perpetuated by a violence narrative. These are instances of oppression that take place frequently and have historical roots. They also stem from more systematic, “hidden” injustices, that were made okay in some people’s minds overnight. However, when an oppressed person commits an act of violence against the oppressor- such as violence in Ferguson or a Trump supporter being pulled out of a car- there are different forces at play. Yes- violence in any form sucks. It’s not okay, and should never be perpetuated. But in instances of oppression, to say that this “violence” is unimportant and “holds no purpose” is ignorant. Yes- it perpetuates a hatful act. But it also signifies something a lot deeper. Slaves murdered their masters. LGBT people have committed violent acts. Riots are never pretty. That doesn’t change the fact that they are oppressed. Just because a white man is assaulted for being a Trump supporter, does not make him oppressed. He’s still a white man at the top. He’s not being “victimized.” He will never loose his house for being a white man. He will never loose his job for being a white man. He will never have members of his family disown him for being a white man. When that Donald Trump supporter was dragged out of his car, it was a hateful act that can not be condoned. But it’s also incredibly different, and fueled by different things. It’s an anger at the elite- not a discrimination against them. Violence against white America is anger at oppression, not oppression itself.

 

Photo: Slate.com, Accessed November 12th, 2016

 

 

Documenting College Violence: The First Week

I am a first year college student at Capital University. For a small, private school in Columbus, Ohio, Capital is a liberal, open-minded university. Yes- we are a Lutheran institution, but we are an open minded one. Religious freedom is an important part of campus life. That’s made the newest wave of violence more concerning. If it could happen here: then it could happen anywhere.

Day 2:

Trump hasn’t been been inaugurated yet and I’m already seeing violence in my everyday life. A kid had a note slipped under his door reading “Trump is going to get you faggot.” (http://cuchimes.com/11/2016/lgbtq-student-receives-hateful-message-election-results/)

At Pride, policeman sat in the back of the room, while they told us to look out for each other. “Be Careful, they said.” Someone said,”I love you so much, please be careful.”

Day 3:

I wrote the words “He grabbed us by the pussy” on my whiteboard last night. I had the whiteboard ripped off my door, and I replaced it with another that read “Try again.”

A found out a girl on campus was violently assaulted, and then had then boys tell her that “Trump said it was okay.” A boy came up to my dinner table and showed us pictures before telling my friends and I to “be safe.” People don’t let each other walk across campus alone now. It’s considered a gusty move to be alone at all. Especially as a woman, and a lesbian, it’s more dangerous to be out now. I have to watch myself. I can’t imagine being on a big campus.

Hitler Was A Great Man Too

At the dawn of World War II, history books like to forget that Hitler had done the seemingly impossible. He had united a previously torn country. He had eradicated unemployment. He had single handily restored nationalism and pride to the German people. Today, when we look back at World War II, Hitler’s apparent ‘greatness’ is often pushed under the rug. It’s easy to understand why. Hitler was great.

That doesn’t mean he was good.

Lots of leaders follow this logic. In Russian history Stalin, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great are good examples. They were great rulers who achieved amazing political feats for their nations. All three left a bloody trail behind. Just speaking in terms of Stalinism, his nationalistic authoritarianism brought the Russian economy into the industrial age. It also killed millions of people.

The definition of “greatness” has come into full focus in this election.

Definition of great

1a :  notably large in size :  hugeb :  of a kind characterized by relative largeness —used in plant and animal namesc :  elaborate, ample <great detail>

2a :  large in number or measure :  numerous <great multitudes>b :  predominant

great

    1. majority>

    2. 3:  remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness <great bloodshed>

    3. 4:  full of emotion <great with anger>

    4. 5a :  eminent, distinguished great poet>b :  chief or preeminent over others —often used in titles Great Chamberlain>c :  aristocratic, grand <great ladies>

    5. 6:  long continued great while>

    6. 7:  principal, main great hall>

    7. 8:  more remote in a family relationship by a single generation than a specified relative <great-grandfather>

    8. 9:  markedly superior in character or quality; especially :  noble <great of soul>

    9. 10a :  remarkably skilled <great at tennis>b :  marked by enthusiasm :  keen <great on science fiction>

    10. 11—used as a generalized term of approval great time> great>

“Great.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

No where in that definition is the word “good” or “morally correct.” That’s not what “greatness” is. Yes- those two things can go hand in hand. But hurricane Katrina was a great storm. It wasn’t a “good” one.

The United States has always been Great. But we have not always been good. Japanese internment camps. Slavery. The genocide of the Native Americans. The Civil Rights movement. The Iraq war. Torture of prisoners. The Trail of Tears. These things are all “great” by definition.

I don’t want to be great. I want to be good.

Hate Politics and White America

Election Day:

Obviously, I was excited. It was finally the end. The day I had been waiting for for almost two years. Polling lines were long. I ran out of my 9am class to vote before my 11am. In the student union of Capital University, people were excited. Thrilled- even. We would have a female president after today. “Stronger Together” will have won.

By 10pm that night, though, things had changed. I was one of the first people in my dorm room to realize what was happening. I had been volunteering in the news room at a local TV station, and watched the numbers coming in live. Ohio was going Trump. It didn’t take me long to figure out the rest. However, it wasn’t until Florida went Trump that people realized what had happened. My roommate collapsed. People watching screamed. It was like the world around me was witnessing something horrific- but it was just an election. I sat with my friends on the couch in my apartment and sobbed. My lesbian friend cried about her future. My other friend cried about her aunt being deported. Another friend of mine, a practicing muslim, texted me out of complete devestation.

I called my a Republican friend from high school, someone I consider a best friend, trying to find some sort of comfort in what was going on. Instead I got “I wanted a conservative supreme court” and “if they’re here illegally, then they should be deported.” I hung up the phone quickly. In some respects,  I could understand that. A Republican victory is by no means the “end of the world.” The Republican party is valid- so are their opinions. But this time- it was different. This wasn’t just another middle aged, white governor from a red state who believed in “conservative order.” This was Donald Trump, a man who made fun of the disabled and once upon a time said “grab her by the pussy.” Yes- the comment was made far away and a long time removed- but so were the sins of Hillary Clinton. Everything counts. That’s just me.

By the end of the night I was stunned into silence. I forced myself to stay up and watch the 270. Then, I curled up in bed.

The Morning After:

I woke up the next morning and didn’t even turn on the news- which is uncharacteristic of me. I skipped my first class, like most of the students at my college, but made it by 11am. When I made eye contact with my friends, it was clear: people around me wanted to cry. Everyone did. The only two happy people I saw were two white, 20 year olds wandering around campus, cheerily greeting people walking around. But to any black, hispanic, LGBT, or Muslim person I saw, people were stunned.

I spent the afternoon trying to study. I mindlessly Chicago style annotated a paper. I sat with my friend in the library. I went to my favorite bakery. Some people called me- or I called them. I told people to be safe. Other people told me I was overreacting. “Things will be fine. This won’t be nearly as bad as you think,” my friend said. Of course- he was a white man. For him- this won’t change unless it hits him in the wallet.

I came to the realization quickly a) white men don’t like to be told that they’re white men and b) this was a lot more complicated then “white men.” To be honest, when I say that, it’s rather unfair. Some of the kindest people I know- my best friends, my brother, my father- are white men. The whole idea that “white people” are Trump supporters is dangerous. I’m white. However, it also must be emphasized that this distinction is important when it comes to who is affected. White men are the ultimate privileged caste in American society, with the white woman following after. White people have their own set of issues. I’m not saying that life is infinitely easier- but it is different. But when you tell a white person that, they’ll never understand- it’s automatically an insult. It’s not meant to be. A good friend of mine described it perfectly- Everyone feels social pain. Maybe black Americans feel a stabbing pain. The LGBT community feels burning. Hispanics feel throbbing. But even if it’s different, they still understand mutual pain. The privileged will never feel or experience anything. It’s not they’re not aware of what’s right or wrong- but they are ignorant to feeling. As as white woman, I can uphold this. I will never experience systematic, subconscious racism. Stating this is not hateful towards the white American. It’s uncomfortable: but real. People say that playing the “identification politics” feeds the fire. May be it does. But here’s the thing: it’s real. It’s valid. According to BBC news: (http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37922587)

Among white voters (who made up 70% of voters), Mr Trump won 58% to Mrs Clinton’s 37%, while the Democratic candidate won the support of a huge majority of black voters – 88% to Mr Trump’s 8% – and Hispanic voters – 65% to his 29%.

These numbers are hard to ignore. Say it doesn’t matter all you want. The divide is real. It shouldn’t exist- but it does. And I think it speaks volumes that a candidate managed to do it.

It didn’t take very long for someone to accuse me of being hateful. “Just accept it and move on” became something I heard over and over on social media. I was accused of being a “divider,” and ultimately “part of the problem.” I, obviously, disagree. A woman later comment on my mother’s facebook post, pointing out something similar. We were being hateful.

People like to use that word, huh? Hateful.

The truth is that people like to throw that word around when they disagree with someone else’s views. Hatred is blind, anger towards another human with illogical reasoning and violent, malicious intent. There’s a difference in pointing out that something is wrong and being hateful. There are opinions that should be debated an accepted. Disliking black people isn’t one of them. Disliking LGBT people isn’t one of them. Mocking the disabled isn’t one of them. Pointing those things out isn’t wrong or hateful. Ignoring them most certainly is.