We thought the violence and intimidation at Trump rallies was bad. We thought Trump’s calls for the opposition to be sued, jailed, or assaulted crossed the line (including our report about a protester being intentionally hit by a car at a polling place yesterday). We thought Trump’s outright racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic comments were inexcusable. Just wait.
Today, Donald Trump’s legions of dedicated followers, aptly labeled “deplorables,” have an overwhelming sense of vindication and validation. Their racist, sexist, homophobic and otherwise discriminatory views have been given a sense of public acceptance they haven’t had for decades. The “political correctness” (also known as decency) that Trump and his alt-right following have railed against during his campaign is fading away with Trump’s victory. Those who hold these vile views now feel they have the support of the next leader of our nation and feel emboldened by that idea. The closet deplorables, who couldn’t be honest with pollsters but voted for Trump behind a plastic privacy divider where no one else could judge them, have won this election and cleared a pathway for the veils to be removed.
I’m not suggesting everyone who voted for Trump shares these sentiments or aligns with the deplorables, but let’s be honest — there are plenty who do. And those who are members of the bigoted subset of Trump voters who see the world through a fog of ignorance will quickly overshadow those who aren’t.
These emboldened masses mustn’t be allowed to thrive. The rest of us, the majority of us, will need to be vigilant and send a message that their bigoted views and behavior are not acceptable in a free society regardless of who occupies the White House. We can no longer be quiet and look the other way when we witness injustice, discrimination, hate speech, or other oppressive measures just because they don’t affect us personally. Now is the time to unify against the rise of the alt-right and defend the free society we’re all proud to be a part of. Bigotry, racism, and ignorance cannot prevail.
Once the anger, resentment, and fear begins to dim ever so slightly, consider what your role will be in this fight. Will you huddle into a corner and just hope it all goes away? Or will you do something about it for the love of country? Will you stand up for those who will need the most help during this improbable rise to power? Will you unite with others to combat fear, ignorance and discrimination? Will you prove that love trumps hate? I hope you will.
Become an activist and speak out for a cause you believe in. Donate to an organization who’s doing the work you feel is important. Help to raise awareness for those who are marginalized and oppressed. Volunteer for a group already doing good works that can do more with your help. There are plenty of things we can do. There has never been a better time to show our fellow Americans and the world who we really are.
Be Rational. Be Outspoken. Be Heard.