Even If You Voted for Trump – You Have Work to Do. We All Do

After Trump won, these following incidents have been reported.  I am sure there are more:

  1.  Gun pulled on girl, by 4 guys calling her a n****r, and saying if there weren’t witnesses, they would kill her (https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/796752150827298821)
  2.  …Man Tries to Pull off Woman’s Hijab…(http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/She-is-Scared-Man-Tries-to-Pull-off-Womans-Hijab-at-San-Jose-State-University-400702341.html) Edit* – I have learned this was a fabricated story. Obviously, that is unfortunate, and I will do my best to ensure articles have time to be vetted (I am not a journalist, so I don’t have great resources for vetting articles)
  3. This was in Queens, NY. She was asked to go to the back of the bus. (https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/796696197134172161)
  4. Students yelling ‘cotton picker,’ heiling Hitler at this local school (http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/11/students_yelling_cotton_picker_heiling_hitler_at_this_local_school.html#incart_most-read_warren-county_article)
  5. Swastika graffiti in NY (https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/796729403338321920)
  6. White dudes saw a woman alone and yelled “grab her by the pussy” then tried to do so. (https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/796551437467664384)
  7. Vandals Set Fire to LGBT Flag (http://wxxinews.org/post/vandals-set-fire-lgbt-flag-north-winton-village-area)

There was a report of a guy flying a nazi flag over his home, near San Fransisco, but learned that it was meant to protest Trump’s win.  I have seen swastikas spray painted (5 above) and in Philly, but I wonder if those are the same.  From people who rejected the hate and bigotry of many who supported Trump, and were furious that such a force of hate managed to win the seat of leading this country.

I get that not all people who voted for Trump agree with bigotry and hate.  But what the rest of us need you all to acknowledge, is that you can’t ignore it either.  Not now, and not ever.  You may claim to not be bigoted or prejudiced, but that doesn’t absolve you of responsibility.  Whether you voted for the candidate espousing such hate, or not.  The one that I put as #1 above is the reason why.  No one should be threatened on the street, because of the color of their skin.

For those of you who don’t think #2 is that bad, I want you to question your own prejudices. Imagine you have a cross necklace, you may well have one.  Imagine your mom or grandma gave it to you. Now imagine someone tried to rip it off your neck.  If that had happened to you, or any other American citizen, who worshiped the cross, would you find that inexcusable? Then you must also defend those who wear a hijab, their right to be protected in their own religious beliefs, traditions, and paraphernalia.

I am seeing a lot of people saying we need to come together, and heal.  That we need to find common ground.  I agree that we need to do this, but before we can sit at a table, we must all agree we are equal.  Why?  Because when we attempt to do that, we will root out those who don’t believe we are all equal.  If you are ruled by hate, by 1 sect of supremacy for 1 race, 1 religion or 1 nationality, then you cannot have a seat at a table for American citizens.  We are diverse, and we are best when we have diversity of background, diversity of opinion, and diversity of tradition.

We have seen the stats that whites gave this election to trump.  I really don’t get white supremacy.  And I’m white! Here is what I don’t get.  Some people think one nationality is better than another.  Some think one religion is better than another.  But where did anyone get the idea that pasty white skin is somehow an indicator of superiority? It seems so unbelievable random and just convenient for those who are white, to try to keep the privilege they’ve been accustomed to having.

In America, we have some groups that are under attack, and one thing I am learning is that white men in this country feel marginalized. They don’t want to lose the power they’ve had, to people who have never had any power.  What I think is missing from this conversation, is that if we can make us all equal, we can all have equal power.  You don’t need power over another person or group of people, in order to protect your own power.  You just don’t.

So we have groups that feel they are losing their power:

  1. straight white men

Groups that are struggling to have equality, which means having their own power:

  1. Blacks
  2. Latinos
  3. Jews
  4. Muslims
  5. Native Americans
  6. LGBT
  7. Women

We must start the conversation by making a framework about the power we have vs the power we should be entitled to.  True freedom means you have a freedom to any opportunity you wish to pursue, so long as that pursuit does not infringe on the freedom of another.

The first list I posted above, is the price we pay for not paying attention.  I don’t care who you voted for.  If you are white in this country, you have more power than those who are not. It is time for us to acknowledge that, and not suggest that we are absolved of responsibility for the crimes against minorities.  Just because we aren’t committing the crime, our silence is allowing it to perpetuate.  If we do not condemn violence against minorities, we are saying it’s not really that big of a deal, if the civil rights and basic safety of American citizens are attacked.

This is on every American.  Even if you don’t understand the race, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, that really means nothing.  You can work on understand those who are different than you, on your own time. This isn’t understanding each others’ differences.  This is about protecting all American citizens as having an equal right to an equal amount of freedom and civil liberties. From walking down the street without being attacked (verbally or physically), to having the police provide an equal level of protection, to every group listed above. straight white men, and all the groups listed after them, and all those I did not list.

I think the misconception is that giving equal rights, providing rights to another group, means you have to give up your own rights.  It doesn’t.  What it may do, is take away your power to control that group.  I have been watching the Amazon Original series “Good Girls Revolt” recently.  Besides being a fantastic show, it highlights the struggle women have faced in this country, culminating in the protests and fights that took place in the 60’s and 70’s.  These women stood up and said that they didn’t need or want men speaking for them.  They wanted and equal opportunity at the same jobs, for the same pay.  We still aren’t there yet, because the fight for equality is a fight for your own power, against those who have the power over you.  It takes all of us standing together, and it takes some of those with the power, acknowledging that it is not their right to wield it in the first place.

We can and must do this work, regardless of who is our President, and which party controls Congress.  If you want to wake up, I recommend you follow Shaun King, on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ShaunKing).  He finds the cases that don’t get the attention of ones like Treyvon Martin’s did.  That kid’s tragic story is just one story out of thousands.  He has worked on articles (he is a journalist) for ways we can repair our communities with police, and fix the institutional racism that is indoctrinated in many police forces.

We all get that blue lives matter. No one disputes that police face an incredibly dangerous job, and that most of them do it to honestly protect and serve.  But many don’t seem to understand the reason behind black lives matter.  There is a long history of violent white supremacists infiltrating police forces.  We must hold the good cops to calling out the bad cops, and that is no small order.  These guys work together under incredible pressure, and tight budgets, with limited resources.  They are family and operate under an oath of having each other’s backs.

But what happens when having the other guy’s back, means you are no longer doing your duty to protect and serve an American citizen?  That is the first oath, and must be upheld.  If a police officer abuses their authority, the system of protection for all citizens fails us.  If another police officer tries to call out the first police officer, they are protecting the citizens equally, but betraying their friend, their colleague, their fellow officer.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be in that situation.  But that’s the incredibly difficult job of a police officer.  To look past what is easy, and do what is hard.  I know I am just scratching the surface, but we all must try.

People are being lost to hate and bigotry, which has a long history of manifesting into violence.  We must identify the attackers, and condemn them.  Lock them up, and figure out how to rehabilitate them. But they cannot be free to roam the streets, while they seek to attack citizens of this country.  If you can agree with that necessary rule of our law, then we can start to sit at a table and understand our differences.  Then maybe, we can try to heal.

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