Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why Am I Afraid?

With regards to social justice issues, I am most often aware of my privilege.  As a cisgender white man living in the United States, I possess a great deal of it. It is out of the small piece of my identity that makes me a minority, the gay piece that my fear is stemming from. For me, I don't feel like it's just about my candidate losing an election.  I might not like the message, but I agree and strongly believe in the people's right to choose their messenger, but this messenger does, I feel, have the ability to do real and serious harm to me as a person and to so many others whether it is through his direct actions or through the indirect actions of others.  Our president-elect very clearly implied that, because the 2nd Amendment is intact, that voters could do something about Secretary Clinton if they chose to. If we want to talk about someone who should be in jail, for me, that statement should have resulted in an investigation and an arrest.

This candidate has inspired violence and has been followed by violence everywhere he goes.  He has made comments that clearly lay out his xenophobic nature.  America is browning, and that frightens him and many others, but most of the fear is generated in rural areas where people experience very little of immigrant populations, and, in terms of immigration from Mexico, immigration is at a net negative.  More people are returning to Mexico than are coming to the United States.

I do fear that a President Trump and certainly a Vice President Pence will try to take away my right to marry.  I also worry that a Supreme Court, loaded with 2 or 3 Trump appointees, will declare local and statewide LGBT protections unconstitutional thereby throwing me back into the position that I left a few years ago where I had to fear losing my home and/or employment every day just because of who I am. More than governmental actions though, I fear the empowerment that he has given to his supporters to use violence to address their feelings towards those who are different from them.

Mike Pence, soon to be out Vice President, has made no secret of his love for conversion therapy, a dangerous and ineffective form of therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This practice, in addition to not being able to do what those who practice it say that it does, has been damaging and has resulted in physical harm to those, especially minors, that have been placed into this kind of "treatment" by their parents with some resorting to suicide.

I fear for my own safety.  I fear being called a "faggot," drug into an alley, being beaten until I am bloodied, and, then, being left for someone to find whether they find me dead or alive.  Honestly, that damage has been done already, but, now, we get to spend the next four years with every school yard bully looking to their television and seeing that crude language and intimidation can be a path to the highest office in the land.  On the subject of checks and balances, there are no checks and balances now.  The Republicans control both houses of Congress, and they will soon control the Court.  Trump will get whatever he wants. Plus, I hardly expect him to respect those checks and balances even if someone does try to oppose him. We have seen the emotional control and maturity with which he responds to those who disagree with him.

Do I wish the best for our country? Absolutely, I do, but I fear that the damage that may be done ecologically, socially, and politically may be done over the next four years may be irreparable? I do.

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