Dear loved ones with opposing views,
I know this is not an easy time for you right now either. You have probably been called racist, sexist, bigoted, ignorant or a slew of other profanities not worth repeating.
I know some of you very closely. I know you are filled with love, hope and truly want a better country just as much as the rest of us, and to be called such things may not only seem out of line, but it is hurtful. And I know it isn’t fair to you. Having somewhat conservative values, or wanting to shake up the system doesn’t mean you should automatically be branded a racist, and I want to fix that. I want to help bring us back together, but I need your help with a couple of things.
First, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. Trump has said some awful things. His recording describing sexual assault, calling immigrants rapists, and mocking disabled people are just a few of the many inappropriate things he has done these last few months.
I know that you, my loving, caring, rational loved ones, didn’t vote for him because he said these things. That these were not the positions you stood behind, but the sad truth is, for some it was. You can see it in extreme cases, but it is there. The previously quiet and voiceless extremists, the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and just your garden variety closeted racist, they think they have found a voice in Trump. And the sad reality, even if you believe he doesn’t stand for that himself, he has yet to stand in opposition of it. And we need him to. We need you to constantly hold him to the high moral standards that you yourself uphold. For whatever reason you voted for him, it wasn’t to support hatred, so don’t let it stand.
Next, we really need you to stop it with the posts calling the losers “whiny.” Stop complaining about safe spaces and people being easily offended. If you don’t need them, don’t use them, but there is something you need to understand. Yesterday, less than 24 hours after Trump won, racists have vandalized school grounds and public spaces, homophobes have chased, mocked, threatened, and even violently attacked members of the LGBT community. Women across the country continue to feel that the rest of the country thinks of them as objects. This not an opinion, this is reality. And in the recent domination of every branch of government, these people now feel like they have no one to hear their concerns. So I ask you, prove them wrong.
Trump was elected to become president of the United States by the so-called “silent majority,” and I’m asking you to stop being silent. America needs you to stand up against racism and sexism. I know you are against those things, so please stop defending them. Stop shaming those who feel neglected. Stop telling people to get over it when they are experiencing something you can’t even fathom.
Your majority is no longer silenced; the world is listening. Now make sure you use that power for making this a better place for all humankind.
I know how hard this can be. And with the protests and high tension that will surely grow over the next few months, it is probably only going to get even harder. But I implore you to remember, just like how some racists voting for Trump doesn’t make you a racist, please don’t lump everyone against him together too. Most of us are scared of what we have to lose. You don’t have to agree with why we are scared, but please don’t invalidate this feeling. I know that to simply describe the tension in our country as “palpable” right now might be a bit of understatement, but we need clear minds on both sides if there is ever a chance of getting through this in one piece.
So here it is. The deal I propose. I can’t promise I won’t complain, that I won’t speak out against our new president or Congress, or that I won’t join rallies when I feel they are warranted, but I do promise you this: I promise to analyze each and every idea proposed with an open and rational mind, and to NOT protest or complain just for the sake of dissonance, but I need you to promise something as well. I need you to promise to continue to fight for equality.
In his victory speech Trump promised to “be president for all of Americans,” and I need you, as his level-headed base, to hold him to this. It’s up to those who put him in power to remind him of his word.
Your majority is no longer silenced; the world is listening. Now make sure you use that power for making this a better place for all humankind, and help us leave this as best a place as we can for our next generation.
A version of this post originally appeared on Slippy Slappy Samsonite.