“Mr. Trump, you have the power to start to heal our divides. Denounce the actions of your supporters who see your election as a license to hate.” – George Takei
“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, because I’m going to bring this country together.” – Donald Trump
I need some cathartic bloodletting, I need to scream how I really feel about this election – I need to do it until my voice is raw. I need to shout “injustice, hypocrisy” from the rooftops until someone hears me. But today, Donald Trump took George Takei’s words to heart, and we can begin healing again…there is no need to complain anymore, there is no way his policies could negatively impact anyone, or even that he has ever meant anything that he said. No, he is just here to make America Great Again, to be the change candidate that we all needed to fix the American political system. He’s smart, he knows things, he might be able to teach the Generals a thing or two about ISIS! How stupid we were to warn them that someday they will face consequences from the American foreign policy apparatus, they are too stupid to assume that could ever happen!
But could it be that nothing has ever felt so disingenuous and empty? Maybe I prefer he be transparent about his bias and bigotry, just as he and the people he has surrounded himself with typically have been. Yes, this at least rings true.
Hate dressed with the shallow trappings of “tolerance” has no meaning to the oppressed. Trump’s posturing as an exemplar of unity only provides an example for apologists to point to, not an actual cure for victims. It shows that he lacks any sort of consistent conviction, that he is willing to under one circumstance oppress, and another attempt to extort victims. Trump is not a cure for ignorance, he is ignorance.
His statement ignores the problematic language and assumptions that Trump himself uses; such a move has no meaning when it lacks any sort of critical self-reflection. Nothing could be more hollow than a President asking his followers not to be bigots and/or racists while engaging in the exact policies and activities that lead to oppression. He rewards and encourages hyper-nationalist fear mongering centered around “others” in society. How can I, or anyone else trust him to bring people together, unless it is in the same manner that he has done so from the outset?
The hate now is visible and pervasive, if Trump wants to solve the issue, he has to see how he himself has contributed to it. Sure, he dressed the wound and told his followers “hey, you can be racist bigots, but don’t actively attack people.” Yes, if they were to listen to him, perhaps things would be a little bit better on the surface…but deep down? Everything would remain fundamentally the same.
I would like to not go to a school where a Trump election empowers people to write “Trump 2016, die n*****” on our bathroom stalls, or white nationalist groups to distribute propaganda throughout small town Alabama neighborhoods. But this dream world of group love and a post-racial society doesn’t exist.
It isn’t just the extreme elements of his base that are problematic (and the people who tacitly support them), but Trump himself is a central player in this cycle of hate. His words don’t make me – a gay man – feel safer. His words don’t make other minorities feel safer. If you place a blindfold on someone who is about to die by the firing squad, it does not make the bullets any less real.
Trump says that “gay marriage” is final, but it won’t be when instead of just replacing Antonin Scalia, he is also replacing Anthony Kennedy or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Republican Party Platform ultimately is what a Trump presidency will enact, and here is what it has to say about sexual orientation and gender identity:
“one man and one woman” (pg. 31), we“do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”
“We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities” (pg. 32). That includes adoption agencies, and doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (pg. 37) who “should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession.”
His advocacy of stop and frisk, deportation, private prisons, and the manner in which talks about minorities suggests a criminal justice platform that transforms police agencies, ICE and border patrol into something like a massive American version of a pre-WWII era Gestapo. Not only are his solutions entirely inhumane, they are asininely impractical. Estimates indicate that deporting all of the undocumented people in this country would require a tremendous expenditure of resources:
“We found that to remove all undocumented immigrants in two years, the federal government would need to increase federal immigration apprehension workers from 4,844 to 90,582, immigration detention personnel from 5,203 to 53,381, federal immigration attorneys from 1,430 to 32,445, and immigration courts from 58 to 1,316,” … “In addition, the number of immigration detention beds would need to increase from 34,000 to 348,831 and to physically transport all undocumented immigrants out of the country the government would need to charter a minimum of 17,296 flights and 30,701 bus trips each year.”
The Wall is also absurdly impractical (see my breakdown here), and it would serve as a visible reminder of our xenophobia and fear. If Trump were serious about stopping illegal immigration, a multi-billion dollar dick waiving project isn’t the way to do it.
There is no way around it, Donald Trump is dangerous to minority groups, and his calls to action empower supremacists. I will never feel safe as long as he is my president, and neither will my friends who have asked if he is going to take away their rights or their visas. He will never make my friends feel safe who are being told to “go back to where you came from,” or “Trump 2016, die n*****.” It will never make my friends, who are asking how to physically defend themselves from the hate-mongers that have been empowered by this campaign to verbally and physically assault them, feel safe. It will never make the people feel safe all across this country who have been told that if they wear a hijab they will be lit on fire, who are being stabbed because of the country they come from, beaten because of their sexual orientation, assaulted because of their race, harassed at school, or who are seeing their churches burned down because they serve black people. We want to believe that these attitudes had disappeared in the United States, or that they were latent, or at the very least a trait of the fringe of society. But now I’m not so sure; not when I see so many friends who have been actively attacked for their identities.
And with all that being said, perhaps it says something that even the presence of Donald Trump in the same room as you or the important women in your lives is dangerous because of his open admissions of sexual assault. It isn’t just his power that makes him dangerous, Donald Trump is dangerous.
Just how bad will it be for us under a Trump Presidency? If we take him and the Republican party at their word, pretty fucking terrible.
Perhaps that was cathartic, or perhaps I need to yell louder.