I am a white, heterosexual woman. To some, that invalidates anything I have to say about the fears expressed by many minorities and members of protected classes following #Donald Trump's election as President. That's fine. But I believe that the excessive fear and anger and the spreading of the fear thought-meme in social media is harming people. It is making people feel that they are safe or are justified in doing inexcusable things.
Reactions to Election 2016
It has already harmed an eight year-old child in Texas. His mother reacted to learning that her son voted for Donald Trump in a school mock election by sending him outside with a sign reading, “My Mom kicked me out because I voted for Trump” and loudly berating him. The mother later claimed to police that she was “just joking,” but her child does not seem amused in the video that she made of him and posted to her Facebook page. In Portland, Oregon anti-Trump rioters smashed shop windows and placed metal barricades across a rail track. They also threw objects at police. Social media sites abound with people expressing their dismay that Donald Trump won the election and their fear for what they believe it portends for members of protected classes during his administration. And how supportive of women dare we call ourselves when some among us protest Trump’s election by picketing outside Trump Tower, carrying signs reading, “Rape Melania?”
In 2003 this phenomenon was called Bush Derangement Syndrome by columnist and Fox News contributor Dr. Charles Krauthammer and may or may not have had some similar term applied to it after the 2012 re-election of President Obama. So it is not new, and one hopes that it will die down soon, as it has died down before. The re-occurrence of this is, at the least, annoying. Is it really that impossible for us to behave like adults and to deal with disappointment and fear in a mature fashion?
Why Election 2016 is not the end of the world
I do not think that attitudes toward minorities will appreciably worsen under Donald Trump's administration from what they have been under President Obama's. There is no reason in the world for bigots and misogynists to feel freer to express themselves now than they felt to express themselves on Monday, November 7. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, citizens would not have been less free to express overt bigotry, homophobia, or misogyny than they currently are. Why not? Because we still have the institutions of the police force to arrest them, the court system to prosecute them, and the sometimes overwhelming power of social censure to give them pause before acting.
In the wake of this election I have seen people declare that, "Trump is not my President!" Well, yes, actually, he is. He is my President-elect, too, and I didn't vote for him. That does not give me or anyone an excuse to go around acting like a soccer fan whose team lost a Cup final. And for those who fear that Trump's election signals that it is now open season on gays, African-Americans, women, and Mexicans--please think about something.
How do we want to conduct ourselves during the upcoming four years and beyond? Do we want to give in to fear, or do we want to stand up against anyone who is intolerant of others for their skin color, culture, gender, or sexuality? Can we not remain aware of how bad the worst of humankind is and then do our utmost to exemplify the best it can be? Can we not be friendly to the Muslim woman shunned in our grocery store? Can we not take the time to learn how other people live and what problems they face? Can we not, all of us, make it politely but firmly clear to people expressing prejudice that we do not welcome their behavior? That is the kind of world I want to live in. #Election 2016