The 2016 election cycle is finally over, but for many, the fight is just beginning. While Hillary might not have been the right candidate for many people, I do not understand how Trump could gather enough votes to actually win the election.
One thing I do know, however, is that as a straight white male in America, I can no longer sit back and just watch this country turn to shit. What’s worse, however, is finding out that I am the only member of my immediate family who did not vote for Trump.
Only the closest of friends (and my brothers) know the environment that I grew up in. In the months leading up to election day, I suffered through their racist and narrow-minded posts on Facebook. I asked them to unfollow; they would not comply. I muted them, but that felt wrong. My ultimate decision was to close my Facebook account following the election, and I’ve turned my Twitter account to Private.
Prior to taking those steps, however, I received an email from my mother, telling me that I shouldn’t be mad about the election, or at everyone. My mom…I love her, but that woman knows how to push buttons.
If Trump has his way with the country he vows to “Make…Great Again,” he will most likely revert any progress this country has made in my lifetime (which, for those who are keeping score, is 51 years). His and Pence’s policies will have a direct negative impact on the lives of many of my friends, and for many in this country.
Below is my response to her, but it is also meant for my father who decries email and technology. (Names have been changed to protect those who may become targets of hate.)
Some of the language in the email I sent is offensive. The racial slurs are meant to remind my parents of the environment in which I was raised, and how that shaped who I am today. By exposing the racism and bigotry that surrounded me in my youth, I hope this is something we can all learn from.
I’m not mad at everyone, Mom; more so disgusted. Trump’s America is not one that I want to live in or be a part of, but here I am, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit back and watch him and the Republican Establishment undo all of the progress that this country has made—again.
While I wasn’t a fan of Bill Clinton, I did vote for him because I saw the good that he was doing. I voted for George W. Bush the first time around because I didn’t like Al Gore at the time, and that was a mistake. George W. Bush got this country into two endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was upset when George W. was reelected, and kept thinking, “How can America be so stupid to reelect this idiot?”. Under George W. Bush—along with his cronies Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld—our economy worsened, they introduced a level of fear in this country by giving the CIA, FBI, and NSA carte blanche to surveil the citizens of this country—without warrants—and their use of rendition to torture prisoners is unparalleled, even by our worst enemies. Those very actions have led to many of our allies backing away, while leaving a dark stain on our country.
When President Obama was elected and took office, he inherited a massive debt left by the Bush administration. He had to deal with the financial crisis, the housing crisis, and if that wasn’t enough, the automobile industry almost went under, too. If it were not for President Obama and the government bailing out those three institutions, this country would have plummeted into a recession on parallel with, or worse than, the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The healthcare system in this country is a disgrace. The Affordable Care Act (or, ObamaCare, if you want to use the derogatory term used by Republicans) helped to make healthcare affordable to millions of people who were uninsured. I don’t know if you remember my friend JP, but he is one of those people whom without the ACA would probably be dead by now. And what is Trump’s first action going to be? He says to repeal the ACA without any other plan in place, just so the Republicans can put in their own plan or just let it all rot. If JP loses medical coverage, he will die, Mom. So maybe rather than saying “Thanks, Obama” with a smirk, think about what this means.
But what I find more disgusting is that this country elected a BIGGER buffoon than George W. Bush to be the next President. You watch, Mom, Trump and the Republican Establishment are going to turn this country inside-out and not in a good way. All of the progress this country has made in my lifetime—over the last 50-60 years—will be gone.
We will end up with a HUGE debt, not a surplus. Trump’s company has gone bankrupt four times; something that he is proud of. He boasts about not having to pay taxes while the rest of us pay more than our fair share in comparison to the taxes he and the people who earn more than a million dollars a year pay.
Trump talks about how generous he is, but he refuses to disclose his taxes or to provide a list of charities to which he has donated. Trump has said throughout his campaign that he donated to veteran’s groups, but there is no proof of that. All he has to do is disclose his tax records as proof, but he refuses to do that, and until he does, he’s just telling lies.
Trump has been indicted for bilking millions from people who attended Trump University. That case is scheduled to go to trial soon. He has also been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl, Mom. 13!
A Trump Administration will dismantle any rights that a woman has to make decisions about her own healthcare. For proof of that, all you have to do is look at what the Republicans in Texas have tried to do in their own state. The government should not tell you what you can or cannot do with your own body, Mom. They have brought religious [fanaticism] into the government, which is in conflict with the ideal of separation of church and state.
By appointing Supreme Court Justices that are way far on the Religious Right, the Trump administration will undo Roe v Wade and unravel marriage equality. That means many of my friends, including Barney Rubble (you used to play bingo with his mom, right?) will have their marriages nullified because the Republicans will strip away his and Fred’s right to be married to each other. The same goes for my friends Wilma and Betty, Tom and Jerry, Richie and Fonzi, Velma and Daphne…shall I keep listing their names?
This country was founded on immigration. The Statue of Liberty bears a plaque inscribed with the sonnet, “The New Colossus,” which states:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
What Trump has proposed is an end to immigration and naturalization. To mass-deport people, families, and children. To block entry to people who are fleeing war-torn countries and oppressive regimes in search of hope and safety for them and their families. Mom, THIS is the very foundation of our country! Somewhere in our lineage, we—the Flintstones and Rubbles—came to North America from somewhere in Europe without invitation, but in search of a better life.
If we turn our back on the rest of the world, we should expect the same in return when the time comes. Is that how you want our country to be viewed? As isolationists? As xenophobes?
And speaking of xenophobia, let’s talk about race, shall we? It’s the big pink elephant that’s in the corner whenever we are together…
What Trump’s base of voters would prefer, is to “Make America White Again”. You cannot tell me that is false, because I have seen numerous images of people wearing shirts and hats with that very wording on it.
Trump’s father was in the KKK. Trump received an endorsement by David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The only paper in the US to endorse Trump was The Crusader, the official newspaper of the KKK.
Do you see a pattern here?
Trump had the full backing—and most likely the voting block—from the Ku Klux Klan. This country elected a known racist and bigot to the highest office in the land. And worse, he will be able to appoint Supreme Court Justices that share similar beliefs.
You cannot deny the racist environment we grew up in. You and Dad both regularly used [racial slurs] to refer to people who weren’t white. Nigger. Chink. Jap. Porch monkey. Spear-chucker. Spic. Wetback. Sand nigger. Turban-head. It’s a long list. I heard those and more growing up in our home and, honestly, all around me in Michigan. You speak fondly of the time when [REDACTED] drove into Detroit to let the dobes run in a park “to chase the niggers”.
It’s not funny, Mom! It’s disgusting. Appalling.
I also remember the time when a black family moved into our neighborhood, on Mockingbird Lane. That family was run out of our neighborhood. Their daughter was in my class, and she had no friends. One day, I walked home from school with her because she was walking alone. I remember this quite vividly, Mom…dad drove by in his pickup on his way home from work. We were on Stone Way, just past the house on the corner that Captain Caveman rode the mini-bike into, and dad saw me walking down the sidewalk with this girl. He slowed down as he passed, hit is horn once to get our attention, and he wagged his finger at me. When I got home, Dad said that he never wanted to see me walking with “that colored girl” again. If he did, he promised to beat the shit out of me. I was in 5th or 6th grade at the time; imagine how terrified I was.
I also remember dad telling us that you and he would disown us if we ever dated or brought a girlfriend home who wasn’t white. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
That was the environment I grew up in—we grew up in—but that is not who I am. And that is not the country I want to live in.
So, no, I am not mad at everyone who voted for Trump. I am disgusted by the America they want my home to become. I am saddened and fearful for my friends who may lose their health benefits and die or see their marriages dissolved, and for some, to be run out of the country because of their ethnicity.
That is not my America.
I love you, Mom. We may not believe in the same things, but I do love you.