The election is almost over. The racism and bigotry summoned by Trump are not.
"What?" I said.
"Well, look," he replied, "I told my friend - who is gay, and normally rational - that I might vote for Trump, and he went nuts. But it's because I think Trump would be better for the military."
I tried to explain.
I tried to tell him how yes, his gay and minority friends would probably react extremely emotionally to him saying he'd support someone who slandered and vilified them. That they'd probably be really upset that he'd be okay with a candidate who opposed marriage equality or said quite a few horrible things about LGBTQ people, or just as bad things about minorities. That when you say you want to support someone who seems to think you'd be just as better off dead, it's not a logical issue anymore. It's a moral issue.
This isn't news. It's not surprising. Hell, it's so common at this point that it's bloody mundane.
Here's what bothered me: I tried to explain what it might be like for him.
"What if," I said to this person (who like the majority of adults in the USA, has gotten a divorce), "there was a candidate who was extremely Christian and followed Jesus' real teachings on divorce? Who followed Matthew 19:9 and Deuteronomy 22:22 and said that those who had gotten a divorce should be put to death? And your friend they supported this candidate who literally said you should be put to death, but just because they supported the military?"
"Oh, that'd never happen," said my friend. He flat-out denied that anything like the everyday lived experience of his gay and minority friends could possibly happen to him.
And that, friends, is privilege.
That is the (false) comfort of thinking that surely you are not one of the outsiders. That surely you are not one of the people who will be discriminated against.
And that thinking is universally wrong.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
- Martin Niemöller
For all the comparisons to Hitler the 2nd amendment crowd throws around, there's only one side using racial and religious lines to determine who is "good" - and that's the racist alt-right facists (yes, literally) that rallied behind Donald Trump.
The results are just starting to trickle in as I write this.
But the bigots and racists - the so-called alt-right - are emboldened in a way far greater than they were by being legitimized by Geraldo back in 1988.
No matter who wins the presidential election today, we will have to be vigilant so that the bigots do not force their way unopposed onto our national stage.
If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer.
...why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanised state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right - or rather, your moral duty - to eliminate this system?
We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience.
1Remember my artistic license policy.