It’s been a few days since the impossible happened. Donald Trump is going to be the 45th president of the United States. In this forum, I haven’t written about politics specifically, but I have explored issues that matter to me—equality, acceptance, social justice. These are values that define who I am—and they feel threatened now.
I’ve heard some say, “Well, let’s move on. Elections come and go. This won’t really affect any of us.” As a white, heterosexual, Christian woman, I have the luxury—privilege if you will—of taking that stance. I don’t have to worry that someone will declare my marriage “invalid.” It’s doubtful that Lutheran churches are going to be vulnerable to hate crimes like mosques are. No one is going to deport my German-American mother. This is the definition of White Heterosexual Privilege—the option to go about your life because your identity is considered mainstream, normal, nonthreatening—being one of "us."
The whole campaign has been about dividing the country into “us” versus “them.” And we know who falls into which categories. Mexican immigrants are “rapists or criminals.” Muslims are a threat to our safety. African Americans are assumed to all live in squalor in “inner cities.” And women are reduced to body parts--“those legs,” and jokes about sexual assault are brushed aside as “locker room talk.”
This was a historical election. And I know that many of the folks who voted for Trump are suffering and have felt hopeless. Many have not felt the effects of the improving economy. They see their jobs and livelihood going away. I hope Trump can make their lives better. But to achieve that, we’ve potentially sold our souls. But only if we remain passive.
These past few days I’ve been struck by the words and thoughts of clients, colleagues, friends, and family members. The urge to “do something” is strong. And there is so much hope in that. There is a lot of anger right now, but I think that energy can be harnessed toward something positive.
And in the spirit of that, I pledge the following:
- I will continue to call out and push back against the objectification of women.
- I will refuse to tolerate rape culture.
- I will stand as an ally with my LGBTQ friends and family members.
- I will celebrate our nation’s diversity and rich immigrant heritage.
- I will support and honor people’s right to worship as they choose, which includes those who choose to be free from religion.
- I will be a responsible steward of the earth and environment.
- When in doubt, I will choose kindness over fear, acceptance over marginalization, and love over hate.
I will do these imperfectly—and often fail. But it’s a start. Who’s with me?
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