Freedom is the Cornerstone of Our Democracy

gettyimages-622094040edit_custom-aa767d2d42608686645ec97a6c619411ebd4d45a-s900-c85I think the moment my feelings changed from sad and terrified to outraged and inspired was when I heard the following statement: “The peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of our democracy. We have a responsibility to come together and find common ground. Only by recognizing and respecting the important contributions that all Americans make to our country’s success can we build an inclusive and stronger future for America.”

For a moment, I bought into it. I want peace just as much as the next “nasty woman.” It didn’t take long though before I started thinking critically about what this statement represented to me. What I found was that it’s just another way for the patriarchy to tell me to, “Calm down. Be quiet. Don’t be confrontational. Don’t be argumentative. Don’t be so opinionated.”

I believe the cornerstone of our democracy is freedom. Freedom to speak out, freedom to fight for what you believe in. If I fought Donald Trump’s candidacy for the past 18 months only to suddenly say, “Oh well…we tried,” when he’s elected, and stopped objecting to everything he represents, what would that reveal about me? This election wasn’t a contest to me. Using the word “win” in an election has always bothered me. This was not a season of Survivor or The Apprentice. This was and still is a fight for equality for all Americans. I didn’t just start advocating for causes I believe in when Trump announced his candidacy. I’ve been doing it for years, and I’ll never stop.

Trump will not suddenly become someone other than the heinous, unimaginably unfit person that he’s been all along just because the Electoral College makes him President. Yes, he is our President Elect. I know this, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. However, I will never “unite for him” or accept him as my President. I denounce everything about him. I always have, and will continue to do so until he is no longer our President.

In fact, now that he’s won, the fight is more important than ever. These are no longer just words coming out of an insane person’s mouth; he’s now in a position to act on his promises to inflict unconstitutional hell on just about every marginalized group you can think of. Just yesterday, not even 24 hours after the election results were in, a transgender teenager who I love very much was bullied in school. She’d gone two years without an incident. I’ve heard numerous other stories as well from people who are encountering empowered Trump supporters chomping at the bit to spew their hatred that common decency once prohibited them from doing.

Even if Trump had been a model citizen his entire life and the perfect candidate all along, even if the only thing he had done to disqualify him as a candidate for POTUS had been that very last anti-Semitic ad we endured on election eve, even then – I’d fight just as hard to undo the damage that he inflicted on that one group of people. Yes, half of my family is now Jewish. But make no mistake; I’d react the same even if I’d never met a Jew in my life. I care, because we’re all human. We all deserve respect and decency. We shouldn’t have to “have a Jewish/Muslim/Black/Gay etc. friend” in order to empathize.

Chris Christie who faces ten years in prison for multiple counts of misconduct and abuse of official capacity in office (not to mention he threw a water bottle at his female Chief of Staff during a meeting!) is now slated to lead Trump’s transition team. Mentally-ill Rudy Giuliani just might be our next Attorney General. You think it’s time to accept things and move on? I say it’s time to get even more serious about condemning these people and the danger they pose to our country. We’ve worked too hard and gained too much to sit back and watch it all fail now.

I will not unite under a President Trump. I will, however, unite with my LGBTQI, Muslim, Jewish, Black, handicapped, addicted, struggling fellow Americans. I’ll unite with any person of decency and empathy and love for fellow man. I’ll unite with my fellow bad-ass nasty women because let’s not pretend that this result wasn’t HUGELY the result of embedded misogyny and fierce protection of white male power.

The beauty is that you and I don’t have to agree. The beauty is that freedom is the cornerstone of our democracy. We have a responsibility to come together and fight for what we believe in, to fight for those among us who can’t fight, or who have been fighting for far too long and just can’t do it any longer. “Only by recognizing and respecting the important contributions that all Americans make to our country’s success can we build an inclusive and stronger future for America.”

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