Among Donald Trump supporters and some Hillary Clinton supporters, and even President Obama and Clinton herself, there is a call for a more civilized discourse and unity. I am not ready to grant that. I’ve been respectful and tolerant for a long time, 8+years actually. I’ve put up with racially charged memes, anti-gay marriage rhetoric, and assaults on women’s and immigration rights. My friends have put up with other such atrocities and much worse, including physical violence and threats on their lives. My pain is minimal in contrast, but it is very much there. And after the past few months of incessant coded hate slogans, attacks on our hard fought victories and challenges to our most basic rights as human beings, such as simply the right to be, I can’t provide the unity sought by people who support such hate filled ideology. That is too much to ask at the moment, and maybe even ever.
I can accept a republican in office and those that support one. I feel intelligent political discourse based on different ideologies is healthy for a strong democracy and even a good friendship. But this is different. The past few months were not filled with a healthy political national debate. On the contrary, the discussion was intentionally divisive and extremely hurtful towards me and many people I truly care about. There is a real pain that we are feeling. As a result, I will not have much tolerance for Trump hardliners, and I really have a problem with republicans that I considered sane enough to see through the coded hate Trump was spousing for the past few years. I feel betrayed by them, family and friends alike.
I must also take responsibility for the pain I am feeling today. I remained silent and inactive for too long. As my social media feeds kept streaming hate I just laughed, waved my fist and and said, “you’ll get yours.” Up until now, however, “you” never did. The only thing “you” ever received was an unfollow on my part. This was a passive reaction that I feel helped enable the result of this election. I was too quiet trying to keep my contacts because I actually cherished and respected their beliefs. I will not remain silent much longer. I will now follow those contacts I gracefully unfollowed for the sake of a continued unity. I will now engage as much as possible in an attempt to quell ignorance and fight for peace.
There are some real issues at stake, these include the fight for universal healthcare, environmental protection, the protection of hard fought civil, gay and women’s rights, the fight for justice and peace, gun regulation, criminal justice reform, animal rights, closing the gap on income inequality, and fixing our election process. Progressives cannot loose sight of these issues. And unfortunately, these issues cannot be summed up on a simple meme. Progressives need to be on the front line. I need to be on the front line. I might not be ready to unite with Trump supporters for the sake of healing America, but I am declaring my unity and solidarity to those on the front line of the real struggle for a much more tolerant America and a true world peace. Those on the other side of that line, if they want my hand, they will have to cross that line and march along side me.