On dealbreakers and the election

The US election has come to pass.  I am heartbroken.  Sad, angry, afraid.  I am not alone.

And there are white people who voted for Trump saying they voted for him because of his policies on the economy, immigration, foreign relations, etc.

Here’s a story.  A true story.  During one of the previous elections, I was considering voting for the Green party candidates.  I agreed with a lot of their proposed policies.  However, I then read that the candidate was Catholic and that affected their stance on abortion (in a way that limited abortion).  For me, a threat to a woman’s bodily autonomy is a dealbreaker.  So I didn’t vote Green party.

The fact that Trump’s racism, misogyny, and other bigoted policies/ideas/beliefs were not dealbreakers for a significant percentage of white people is disturbing.  (I am only speaking to the motivations of white American voters here.  I am a white woman.  I will not speak to the motivations of POC who voted for Trump.)

For too long, white people have insisted that racism no longer exists, or that they don’t see race, just people.  Well, guess what?  I see you.

The world sees you.

And I hope with every last ounce of what Americans are supposed to consider great about America (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.) that you pick up a big mirror and look.  Look at yourselves.  Hard.

We see you.

In a way, it’s good.  The racism and other bigotries are all out in the open now.  No more couching them in the language of “colour-blindness” or hey-you-can-marry-now-why-are-you-still-complaining.  No more microaggressions and subtle discriminations.

This post is not simply to guilt-trip the white people who voted for Trump.  I recognize that I, as a white woman, must accept some portion of blame, even though I voted for Hillary.

I should have been louder about supporting Hillary and about why I did.  (I have voted for third-party candidates in the past.  This time, however, I saw the clear danger Trump and Pence presented and knew I had to vote for Hillary, because she could win.  The US’s two-party system is flawed and frustrating.  However, there were too many lives at stake this time.)

I should have worked harder at expressing my fears and exposing the ridiculousness of letting a man with zero experience and a ton of arrogance, bigotry, and a lack of caring into the highest office of power in the United States.

Yes, there are some people I never would have convinced.  Some people are like a wall™ you can never get through, or even over, to their hearts.

Now the work of all of us is much harder.  It is coming together to protect those most vulnerable, most in danger from the out-in-the-open racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, and ableism.  It is being louder than hate.

Yes, a part of me wants to wash my hands of America.  I have that privilege.  I live in Canada.  I can choose not to visit the States so long as Trump is in office.  I can even seek Canadian citizenship.

There is also a part of me that can’t turn my back on the mess.  I have friends and family in the States.  I am too invested in my ideals of equality/equity and freedom.  People will be harmed in Trump’s America.  I will not ignore that.

What will we do now?  Do it now.

 

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