We Need More Than Safety Pins

published November 13, 2016

Donald Trump is a coward

All bullies are. They don’t pick on someone their own size. They surround themselves with other bullies and go after people they feel are most vulnerable. A charismatic coward appears strong, but only when loyal supporters are close enough to convince him he’s loved and respected. I don’t believe that’s what Trump felt at rallies. He interpreted it that way, but his most vocal followers were filled with the opposite. They didn’t love him as much as they hated Hillary, immigration, or elites. Now that Hillary is gone several of them have turned their hatred to entire groups of people. Millions of us ain’t having that, including many who voted for Trump.

Uncomfortable Fact for Liberals #1: Millions of Trump supporters are good people

The rallies are over now

Trump must know they were behind his illusion of power because he wants to keep having them once he’s President. I’ve already seen articles equating that to Hitler’s spirited propaganda campaigns and it’s a fair comparison. He needs the screaming praise because he’s likely to be the most hated President in history. I’m not too worried about that. This isn’t the 1930’s. We live in a digital age where reliable communication allows swift organization. The baffled good people of Germany couldn’t mount a protest to the horrors around them, but I don’t believe that will be the case here. If Trump wants to hold more rallies, he can expect just as many Marches on Washington.

We are still stronger together

The worst parts of who we are as a people are emboldened in ways the country hasn’t seen since before the Civil Rights Movement, but we are mobilized and connected in powerful ways too. If racist bullies want to spray graffiti they’re going to learn that we’ll clean it up as many times as they lay it down. If they’ve got a hankering for hate crimes, they’re going to get court-side seats to laws even the new Führer can’t stop. If he follows through on registering Muslims, many Christians and Atheists will register ourselves as Muslim alongside them. He can’t single people out if we stand with everyone he goes after.

Game of Thrones, American Edition

I’m prepared to give Donald a chance. I’ve waited for months to return to my normal, pre-election life with a sense of security that someone is actually driving this thing. Trump might pull it together. I hope he does and proves me to be the anxious bed-wetting liberal that I am, but if he goes all Ramsay Bolton on us I’m compelled to act at this point. I’m pretty pissed off about that.

I was motivated before. I thought Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate and am one of those people who think Bernie would have wiped the floor with Trump, but I gave to her campaign. I don’t have a ton of disposable income, but felt compelled to give as much as I felt compelled to vote for her from my Bernie-broken heart. Every time I sent HRC a little cash I knew it would help more if I volunteered. I didn’t volunteer because despite all my fretting, I wasn’t that excited about her and thought she had this in the bag.

But oh shit, a literal billion dollars wasn’t enough to get her elected? Cash is not the answer anymore? White man’s horror! We’re going to need financial resources to keep fighting for social justice and air we can breathe, but I think we’ve got to wade out into the shit now too. So, wear your safety pin, donate your extra cash, but there’s no indication that’s enough anymore.

Helpful things we learned from the most zealous Bernie supporters

It wasn’t about Bernie. It was about The Cause. Millions of #BernieOrBust advocates turned on him as soon as The Democratic Convention, booed him as he called for unity when hours before they shouted his name. In many instances they shouted his name at him. It was hard to wrap my mind around at first, but eventually made sense. It was The Cause that made them continue to campaign for Bernie as a write-in or to tragically transpose his message on third party candidates less hateful but as unqualified as Trump.

Remember Ramsay Bolton

Trump’s angriest minions don’t love him anymore than they hate Hillary. Their true love is The Cause. Many other Trump voters cast their ballots realizing his grotesque flaws, but with hopes for the future. We can’t group them together with the ass holes spray painting swastikas and the N-word on things.

I have patience and compassion for those other Trump voters, the ones who are broke and insulted that HRC thought fellow millionaires like Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen could tell them how to vote. I hope many more of my liberal friends find some love for their fellow Americans and listen to what their concerns are.

I know that’s tough, because it’s tough for me too. I asked Trump supporters to unfriend me on Facebook and a big part of me still feels raw towards every last one of them gambling with millions of minority lives that are not their own. They have as much of an obligation as I do now to stand up against injustice in Trump’s tenure. If they voted for him with good intentions they don’t get to continue to ignore what their candidate does to their fellow Americans once he’s President.

And there’s a huge problem. Now that he’s elected Trump has to meet his most extreme supporter’s expectations of building walls, deporting millions, and shutting out an entire religion.

When he tries to follow through on that, he’s going to meet resistance. He’s going to have to take on the ACLU and the Constitution. He’s going to feel the full weight and crushing apparatus of American government. He’s got to answer to us too, and here I’m counting you, Trump supporter who just wants to make a decent living. If you want to continue to say you’re not like those Trump supporters you don’t get to ignore the suffering of your fellow Americans post election. This is on all of us.

So yeah, about that wall

I don’t see Trump having the stomach for a fight with superior political adversaries. I see him walking back the wall, stepping back from the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, and not attempting mass deportations. I see him keeping provisions of the ACA and getting enough push back on climate issues to have to compromise. If he repeals marriage equality I think he’ll see more states legalize it and he’s going to have a hard time bringing work to angry racists if companies refuse to do business in states that revoke marriage rights to LGBTQ citizens. Go ask North Carolina how that bathroom bill is working out for the state’s economy. If he tries to go national against Roe v Wade there’s decades-long cans of whoop ass waiting.

That Electoral College Thing

Uncomfortable Fact for Liberals #2: Our job as concerned citizens is not to take him down.

It breaks my broken heart to see all this energy going into the Electoral College argument. It’s like the 22nd Amendment, any changes will take effect for future elections. We can’t unring this gawd-awful bell and this is energy we could spend on something that helps us right now.

Activism from people not interested in Activism

Yeah, I might wear a safety pin, but it’s going to take a lot more than a new riff on a bumper sticker from comfortable white people like me to avoid an avalanche of tragedies. I don’t even know yet all that I could be doing, but I better figure out how to use my skills to help the good guys. Any non-profit out there need a website built?

As for Trump, I think he’ll end up like Ramsay Bolton. You can’t twist the nature of something into a hateful and destructive force and think you’ll be safe once the transformation is complete. The angry people who elected him will suffer as much as those of us now horrified. He doesn’t need the people that put him in power as much anymore, at least not for another 3 years. He needs political allies to get anything he wants. Presidents don’t have the absolute power of businessman like Trump. The angry white man who is still waiting in 4 years for his high-paid, unskilled manufacturing job is going to be a whole lot more pissed off than I am right now.

If we take care of each other, we’ll get through this

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