November 9, 2016
The Day After
I haven’t posted anything political, really. And I don’t know if I ever will again.
But today I and many others were in absolute shock. Numb on the inside.
I got on the bus this morning, and for the first time, I really saw the people I was riding with. People of color, older people, people with disabilities. I had the strangest urge to look away, in shame. Don’t look at me, I wanted to tell them, I didn’t vote for him.
Today, I had to look at a coworker and tell him that the president elect is endorsed by the KKK. I had to watch his eyes grow wide as he realized he too was fucked.
“Don’t look at me,” I said. “I didn’t vote for him.”
Well, no, I didn’t.
I didn’t vote for Trump. I didn’t vote third party or write in for Bernie Sanders. I am not responsible for Trump. At all.
Or am I?
When I heard about something stupid Trump said, I brushed it off. I thought, there’s no way people would put up with this bullshit. So instead of saying something, I said nothing.
When someone around me says something racist or homophobic, I do not argue. I keep my head down, my mouth shut, and I stay silent. I just want to get through the day without murdering anyone. Best not to get into an argument. It never ends well. Better to just keep quiet and let someone else speak up.
Or is it? What does my silence say to the gay person who is too scared to come out? What does it say to the transgender person who is afraid that if they use the bathroom they will lose their life?
More than that, what does my silence say to the person doing the insulting? When my dad calls the person who cut him off in traffic a “fucking N—,” what does my silence say to him? What does my silence say to the person who called M— “retarded?”
I may not be directly responsible for electing Trump. But maybe I am indirectly responsible for the culture that created him.
Silence doesn’t show acceptance. Silence doesn’t show that I care. Silence doesn’t show that I am on their side.
There is a time and a place for arguments. I’m not saying one always needs to speak up. Sometimes it is truly a good decision not to start an argument. Everything has a context, and I am not trying to judge anyone else.
I am saying that perhaps I could do a better job of learning where to draw the line. Educating myself and learning when exactly I should speak and when speaking would only do more harm than good.
Don’t look at me–I didn’t vote for Trump. And maybe it’s time to start talking about why.