The morning after the election, I posted these words on my Facebook page:
Our nation has finally shown its true colors as completely racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexist, and inhuman. Unreal.
About 24 hours later, I deleted the post because it was written in a moment of anger, and I worried that it was not entirely accurate.
Revisiting those words several days after the election, after much reading on election statistics and exit polls, I realize sadly that there was quite a bit of truth to the message. The more I have read, the more clear it has become that while Hillary Clinton may have won the popular vote in the United States, there was a vast majority of White voters who supported Trump.
Is the nation “completely” anything? Perhaps not; rarely is something so concretely one thing or the other. However, the nation as a whole made a profound statement to its own citizens and the world this past week in support of racism, homophobia, misogyny, and beyond. The phrase Make America Great Again, which actually should support diversity, has been coined as a slogan for White supremacy.
I am not a political analyst, but I have been shocked and horrified by the exit poll numbers:
The message to the country: Racism wins
As this election fades into the distance, explanations for the outcome will become gentler and more opaque. In a reflexive effort to find ways to be hopeful, we’ll spin a collective fairy tale about how a neglected group of white Americans who themselves were victims simply wanted change and used their votes to demand it, opening our eyes to their perspectives.
There will be a push to “understand” them, and this will be presented as the mature and moral thing to do. In the name of coming together, and in an attempt to avoid finger-pointing that many will warn could further divide the nation, we’ll normalize the way they see the world. We’ll twist history and tweak data and adjust our values to frame their outlook as reasonable.
And when that happens — when the deep bigotry that fueled the result is forgotten or explained away — racism will win yet again.
Many people seem to think that Trump cannot really be as bad as his campaign platforms would suggest. While I hope this is true, I am not under any illusion and my denial has long since passed.
Many people have called for unity and support of the president elect as we move forward. I do not agree. I recognize that it is quite possible that apathy may return to the American people, but I am hoping that the next four years will see an increase in activism.
I hope people are as alarmed and horrified as I am that racism is as rampant and strong in this country as the election results purport. I think it people need to feel angry and need to take action. While I do not support perpetuating the kind of intolerance and violence promoted by Trump and his supporters, I think it is time for people to take an active stance against White supremacy. The people who support diversity, empathy, and true freedom need to step up and speak out against the alternative because the alternative is fascism.
I encourage you to reflect on the kind of America you would like to see and dialogue with other people on the steps that can be taken to make this idea a reality. I would love to hear your thoughts, so long as they are respectful.