Optimism can feed into normalization, and racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and classism are not normal.
Post-election attitudes have been loud, fearful and have moved to divide the country more than heal. Conservatives around the country are attempting to reach out to Clinton supporters across the nation asking to “Give him [Trump] a chance.” This optimism from the Right is their attempt to normalize the rhetoric and fear mongering tactics that we were subjected to for a year and a half.
However, we must call this optimism for what it is: a chance for the Right to undermine the legitimate fears people have for their safety by capitalizing on the dangerous rhetoric that Trump and supporters are illustrating… a chance to suppress minority voices.
Diversity and intersectionality are interwoven within the fabrics of our democracy. If we allow the plight of fascism and a unique party faction to pluck away at the closely stitched threads, we threaten the safety and dignity of our Constitution. The rhetoric Mr. Trump and many of his supporters have emulated throughout the 2016 Election have given voice to a dangerous voice; a voice to racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism xenophobia and classism.
Many Trump supporters have been spooked by the thought of a liberal calling them one of the many “ism’s” and have gone to extreme lengths to defend themselves. I speak directly to those of you who find yourself in this predicament: I will give you the benefit of the doubt and take what you say for truth, however, you recognized all those things throughout the election and decided that that was all okay. For the millions of minorities, persons with disability, LGBTQIA+, Muslims and African Americans who can not afford the same privilege you flaunt, what do you say to them?
Mr. Trump has had more than one chance to apologize for the way he conducted his campaign and take as hard a stance on his supporters committing hate crimes as he did about Secretary Clinton’s emails… yet he has failed on both accounts. It was blind optimism that gave hope that Mr. Trump would correct his behavior as he prepared to assume the most powerful position not only in the United States but in the global community.
Mr. Trump’s ideology has become abundantly clear as he begins to fill his cabinet. He has begun his transition to the White House by appointing Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist. Stephen Bannon has described himself as a leader of the alt-right who opposes immigration and “globalism.” He is the editor of Breitbart news. A New York Times article wrote about Breitbart saying, “Critics, including some conservatives formerly associated with it, have denounced Breitbart in its current incarnation as a hate site steeped in misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, white nationalism and anti-Semitism.” As the editor, Mr. Bannon has helped publish articles titled: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and also “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.”
Most recently the conservative news site published an article on November 13th titled, “Wave of Fake ‘Hate Crimes’ Sweep Anti-Trump Social Media.” Yet the FBI a day later released a report citing hate crimes surging 6%, specifically against Muslim- Americans in the wake of Donald Trump being elected. Breitbart has made its way to becoming the Chief Strategist of the President-elect of the United States of America and Stephen Bannon himself, is steering the helm.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Following Mr. Bannon’s appointment, Mr. Trump went on to appoint Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as his Attorney General. Sen. Jeff Sessions once referred to the American Civil Liberties Union and the N.A.A.C.P. as “un-American” for “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people”
On June 5th, 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be a Federal district judge in Alabama for numerous racially insensitive statements he made during his tenure as U.S. Attorney in Mobile, Ala. The opposition to Sessions came from both Democrats and Republicans. If Mr. Sessions can not uphold the fundamental principle of the Civil Rights Act, a cornerstone of the Department of Justice, how can he be a fully functioning Attorney General when he has deep rooted racism interwoven throughout his resume? Yet, if the 2016 Election has taught us anything, it is that qualifications take a back seat to fear mongering politics.
Mr. Trump has also appointed Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to Director of the C.I.A., who has served on the House Select Benghazi Committee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. An individual who has had his fair share of controversies throughout his career. He aided in wasting $6.8 million of taxpayers dollars on 10 separate investigations into the events of Benghazi, Libya… in which Secretary Clinton was cleared every single time of any wrong doing. He also stood on the House floor on June 11th, 2013 and proudly claimed:
“Mr. Speaker, it’s been just under two months since the attacks in Boston, and in those intervening weeks, the silence of Muslim leaders has been deafening” in the wake of the Boston Bombings.
Yet Mr. Pompeo’s claims were entirely false and had misguided information rooted in xenophobia and ignorance. The Boston Bombings occurred on April 15th at approximately 2:49 p.m. However in his ignorance Mr. Pompeo failed to recognize (all on the same day) that at 5:17 p.m. the Universal Muslim Association of America spoke out against the terrorist attack. At 5:53 p.m., the Muslim Public Affairs Council spoke out against the terrorist attack. At 7:46 p.m. the Council on American- Islamic Relations spoke out against the terrorist attack. At 8 p.m. the Muslim Peace Coalition spoke out against the terrorist attack. At 10:52 p.m. the Islamic Society of North America spoke out against the terrorist attack. And at 12:09 a.m. on April 16th, the Islamic Society of North America spoke out against the terrorist attack.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) issued a release saying, “As Bostonians, and inspired by the values of mercy and justice central to our faith, the American-Muslim community stands ready to help. We have close to 40 ISBCC volunteers on site who are committed to assist in relief efforts and also donate blood. Should the City call upon us, we are also ready to transform the ISBCC into a disaster relief center.” This man will steer the direction of Central Intelligence Agency, a man who has exercised poor judgment, a xenophobic attitude and will carry that with him to one of the most powerful agencies in our bureaucracy.
The people in which Mr. Trump has decided to surround himself with have expunged the idea of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has carried over into his transition to the White House as he surrounds himself with racists, sexists and members of the alt-right who find it appropriate to forget that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution exists.
We must not simply forget the hate-driven campaign that Mr. Trump ran during both the primary and general election. By appointing hate-filled individuals who repudiate the fundamental principle of Equal Protection, he has failed to reverse course and be what he has self-described himself as a “President for All Americans.” The hypocrisy illustrated by Mr. Trump is comical and has made our Nation look weak after decades of being the country who set the example. Yet as Mr. Trump continues down a path of fear mongering tactics rooted in hate, he will be met by over 61 million voters (a majority) who will oppose the dangerous and racist game he wishes to play.
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.