I have plenty of family and friends who may not have been stoked on the idea of a Donald Trump presidency, but voted for him all the same. I have family and friends who claimed the “there’s no good option here” of the 2016 election and yet managed to choose one. And I have plenty of family and friend who, in the aftermath of the election, were upset people assumed unkind things of them, appalled they were considered to be of the same morality of Donald Trump simply because they cast a vote for them.
Dear friends and family, there are arguments to be made about that. But this is not the time. This is the time for you to embrace the fact you voted this man into office. You were part of the 46 percent that gave him and his ideas one of the most powerful seats in the world.
And so we need you ― you, those who voted for Donald Trump; you, those who are the reason he is sitting in the oval office; you, those whose community make up his base of supporters ― to be braver than our President. We need you to do what he seemingly cannot.
We need you to say the words “white supremacy.”
We need you to say the word “Nazis.”
We need you to say the word “terrorism.”
And then we need you to denounce these things. We need you to deem them evil. We need you to stand on your platforms, stand in the midst of your communities, stand in your red hats, and say they are wrong. Audibly, loudly, clearly say they are wrong.
Is that so hard? I’m hoping it isn’t.
I’m hoping the kind, decent people who were so upset last November for being “unfairly” judged by the candidate they voted for are still kind, decent people ― the kind who are against white supremacy. The kind who recognize what masses of white men carrying torches stand for; the kind of people who see this is not okay. The kind that will speak up and say this is not okay.
I’m hoping that, although we don’t agree on much, we can agree neo-Nazis shouldn’t be marching in our streets. We can agree the war fought over this ideology (you know which war I’m talking about? It involved the entire world) was the right thing to do. We can agree there is no room for these kinds of beliefs in 2017. As there shouldn’t have been in 1939. We can agree we need to put a stop to these beliefs.
I’m hoping you can see a car intentionally driving into a crowd of people as blatant terrorism. As it was in France. As it was in Britain. And as it now is, in America. I’m hoping you can say that word terrorism, and apply it to a white man. I’m hoping you can see that terrorism isn’t a byproduct of Islam. I’m hoping you can see a white American terrorist killed more people this year than any refugees.
I’m hoping you can see these labels matter, these words we use matter. I’m hoping you use them accordingly. I’m hoping you have the bravery and courage that our current president does not ― to use words that have consequences.
Words with consequences are easy when we label Black Lives Matter protests as “violent”, when we label Colin Kaepernick’s actions as “too political.” Words with consequences get harder when we call a white supremacy protest an “alt-right” rally. Words are easy when any violence connected to a Muslim is automatically terrorism, when any black person shot by police is deemed a thug. Words get harder when the terrorist is the white boy from Ohio, when there are Nazis walking the streets in polo shirts.
Words, seemingly, are easy for our President to use to defend sexual assault, mock people with disabilities, make assumptions about people of other nationalities, define women by their looks, and attempt to start nuclear wars via Twitter. Yet words, apparently, are a lot harder for him where racism runs rampant, hatred runs deep, and evil runs free.
We need your words and we need your action. If this is not the America you desire, we need you to say so. If you don’t support this, you need to denounce it. If you don’t back this, you need to stand against it.
Silence is not an option. Silence is standing with the oppressor.
We no longer have to guess if we, too, would be marching in the streets during the Civil Rights Movement.
We no longer have to guess if we, too, would be willing to hide Jews in Nazi Germany.
We no longer have to guess if we would be the disciples weeping at Jesus’ feet or the ones in the crowd yelling to crucify him.
The time is now. There are not “many sides.” We need you on the right one.