This past week it seemed like Americans took a huge leap backwards in time, and in human progress. We saw scenes unfold on live television that we thought were only reserved for documentaries and high-school history class. We heard angry words from the mouth of our elected leader, the President of The United States of America, refusing to condemn those representing a way of thinking which humanity attempted to extinguish in World War II. So many lives lost on a global scale, so many families broken… all disgraced by someone that has proven to be the antithesis of leadership and what it means to hold the office. Our nation is angry and justifiably so. We are all witnessing the very destruction of American principles and freedoms we have come to cherish as citizens of this country. In the processes, we’re also seeing that hate and vitriol is contagious, and we’re turning on our own friends and neighbors, accusing them of putting this monster in office, all too eager to pick up the first stone and cast it. We’re also forgetting American values, like democracy and the freedom to choose, in an effort to assign blame. Ironically, the words of Hillary Clinton are more relevant now than ever, “We’re stronger together.”
It doesn’t take but a few scrolls through your timeline on Facebook to start reading the posts of those incredibly disheartened by what they’re seeing, to lash out and make this now familiar statement:
“If you’re a Trump supporter I don’t want you to be on my friend’s list. If you voted for Donald Trump, I don’t want you to be on my friend’s list..”
At first glance this may seem like a good idea, depending where you stand politically. After all, separating yourself from those that helped this man come to power will probably ensure a more peaceful and happy existence, surrounding yourself only with those that agree with you. Therein lies the problem. Not only are you allowing this disease to spread, but you’re contributing to the problem. Isolation has never solved anything except Ebola, and that’s even questionable. Perhaps we would have discovered treatments much earlier and saved much more lives if we shined a light into this horribly contagious and devastating disease. The same can be said for the current situation. In order to stop hate, we have to come together as a nation and stop pointing fingers. Hindsight is 20/20 and now is not the time to playing Monday morning quarter back. We’re in this mess together, so let’s solve the problems which got us here in the first place.
There was a huge reason why Donald Trump won last year’s election, American’s were angry at what they were seeing. They saw government failing them at every corner, it had become a huge non-functioning machine were the only people wining were those making the decisions. They still had great paying jobs, health-care and didn’t have to get anything done. We had a Republican congress that signed a pledge in 2010 stating their full cooperation in blocking any legislation President Obama would try to pass, so it was literally impossible for anything to be accomplished. American’s on either side of the isle saw this gross negligence and wanted something better. Just like communism comes by and promises a chicken in every pot, and people blindly follow without thinking of the logistics and consequences, a very wealthy Washington outsider came and promised the same. And it worked.
I remember when I attended a Hillary rally and I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that Donald Trump would win. Especially because as a gay man, we weren’t going to let that happen. However our confidence in recent successes with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, and marriage equality, caused us to be a selective shopper of sorts. We could now look at the candidates and see what they had to offer because everyone was on the same page when it came to LGBTQ issues. The president of PayPal spoke at the RNC, a turning point in itself, and I even heard a gay man interviewed on television, saying he wasn’t going to vote for Hillary because of her support for Syrian refugees, being mostly of the Islamic faith. Since traditional Islam holds an unfavorable view of homosexuality, this young man didn’t want to see an influx of people practicing that religion. So there it was. Voters clearly had very specific reasons for voting for Trump, and yes some of that was fear based, but much of it was policy based. The people wanted and needed someone like they had never seen before.
Now Donald Trump is President and he’s broken so many campaign promises it’s hard to keep up with them. He’s lied to the American people, to his own party and his own supporters. CEO of corporations, cabinet members, appointees… they’re all being fired or fleeing and this most recent display is just more evidence of what some already knew. Among the people that may be changing their minds are your friends, family members and neighbors. We should be welcoming them with open arms, not shunning them or sending them off to live in political exile. As a nation we need to pull through this and we’re not going to be successful if we let Trump win. His mission is simple enough, divide the American people, disorganize and break them so he can continue doing what he’s doing. Let’s not forget that democracy put this man in office and it’s within everyone’s right to choose who they believe will be the best leader. If we ostracize those that have exercised their right, then we don’t deserve it ourselves and we’re no better than Trump is. Let’s come together and be stronger together. We can get through this. I promise. Then we can get back to the job of fixing this place up and making it work for everyone.