Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Enough Already

I haven't written anything "political" on my blog since the morning after the election. I chose that day to share my own grief, my own fears for the future of my sons. I know a lot of people shared those deep feelings of heartache along with me and continue to do so.

I watched as the next few weeks have gone by as people have torn each other apart. How people who are angry have protested or rioted. How people who are hurt have shared that hurt in public forums for the first time. How people who are elated have either stayed silent to show restraint for those hurting or have gloated in hurtful ways.

Yes, my feed is full of many types. Those who are appalled right now. Those who aren't saying anything. And those who, largely, are telling the rest of us to move on. Get over it. Agree to disagree.

Yesterday, though, I watched a video. It was of an alt-right group hosting a conference in Washington, D.C. I felt like I was watching something that had to be fake. The anti-semitic remarks, the white nationalist pride, literally the use of the following words from Richard B. Spencer:

"To be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer, a conqueror...And we recognize the central lie of American race relations. We don't exploit other groups, we don't gain anything from their presence. They need us, and not the other way around...We were not meant to beg for moral validation from some of the most despicable creatures to ever populate the planet...America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity."

To hear and see something like this, proudly broadcast, was like watching a scene from a documentary from Nazi Germany made into color. To watch this happening in my own country brought a deep sense of shame.

People have largely laughed off the comparisons over the last year that some people have made of Trump to Hitler as overblown or unhistorical - I myself quoted Martin Niemoller in a post 6 months ago about remaining silent in the face of hateful rhetoric and stand by that post.

Do I think they are the same? Of course not. I have Jewish ancestry. I remember the long, painful day I once spent with my aunt in the National Holocaust Museum and how we combed the database looking up family members to learn their exact fate. I do not think Trump is Hitler. I do not think we are on the cusp of a holocaust in America.

What I do think is that the way he has spoken about many people groups, the way he has unashamedly mocked people, used inflammatory rhetoric, refused to denounce hate groups who have supported him...I do think that that behavior has opened the door to the absolute mess we are now seeing.

People who have always existed in hateful lifestyles and opinions now feel free to do it publicly in a way we haven't seen in decades. At least not on a national scale.

And as a mother and, frankly, a human being, I am appalled. Appalled that in 2016 there is a rising tide of people joining white supremacist groups in this country. Appalled that people didn't see this coming, that wrote off his rhetoric as "mere words." Appalled by the rise in hate crimes. Appalled that the best Trump can do is say "stop it" and do nothing at all to convince us he means it. Appalled that he is more offended by the cast of a Broadway show respectfully engaging his running mate than by the words of this group in D.C.

Words are powerful, my friends. Haven't we learned that by now?

So yes, I've sat by and watched our country spew hate at each other. I've seen people say that those who are hurting are "sore losers" who just have to move on. I have wondered if I even have anything to add to all the words being thrown around. But if I don't say something, I'm not sure I can look my sons in the eyes any longer.

What in the actual hell are we moving on to? WHAT? 

What I wish I had seen over the past week was just one pro-Trump friend of mine denouncing the Muslim registry. JUST ONE.

What I wish I had seen over the past 24 hours was just one person in my feed who unashamedly voted for Trump calling for him to denounce the alt-right movement as distinctly UN-American and, frankly, more dangerous than the foreign terrorism he so clearly fears and uses to demonize large swathes of people.

What I wish I had seen since he was elected was family and friends who voted for him denouncing his choices for cabinet members, his cronyism, the ways he is already doubling back on promises he made to them to clean up Washington and do things differently.

Because the bottom line, at least according to those who voted for him in my feed, is that they found him more trustworthy than Hillary.

Really? Trustworthy?

Friends, what are our children going to see right now?

Men who have their hands raised in the same salute that Nazis made to Hitler 80 years ago?

Or a president who will come out and say "Enough is enough" and move towards the people he has alienated over the past year and a half?

Will they see us bickering and name calling?

Or a generation of adults who are willing to fight for what is right when hate is attempting to define our generation?

I, at least, know what my sons will see and hear in this home.

We will preach love. We will preach forgiveness. We will preach truth.

And preaching those things means that we will stand up and say "no."

No to white supremacy. No to the alt-right. No to appointments of people who clearly only care about one group of Americans. No to people who would attempt to criminalize being Muslim. (And to those who would argue that they aren't attempting to criminalize but just register them...please read your history books. Nothing good ever comes to those who are set apart as "other." Tutsis, Jews, Poles, Armenians, Native Americans...the list goes on.)

Unfriend me if you will. Tell me I'm being overly emotional or overreacting. I don't think having a visceral reaction to an white nationalist rally is overly emotional. I think it's human. I will not be silent, I will not be complacent.

I would much rather fall on the side of vigilance and wariness than on the side of "wait and see" on this one.

And I will not move on if it means our country will become a more dangerous, more openly hateful place.

President-elect Trump, it's your move. Are you going to keep wasting our time on twitter or are you going to speak up? Enough already.

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