Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
In my youth I thought politics was very black and white. I wanted nothing to do with you if you were Christian or Republican. “Don’t get personal” people, usually Christians and Republicans, always said to me. But for me, it was personal. The things I was passionate about were the things that these two factions were intent on taking away from me, and that affected me personally. I think it’s hypocritical of someone to tell you to not take something personally when what they’re trying to do is take away your personal freedoms. Over the years I’ve tried harder to find common ground. I’m trying to see what I like about people as individuals, and remember that we’re friends and that we all have to be friends when all of this is over. And I’ve seen polite discussions change some perspectives, and I know they’ve changed mine. After last Tuesday, I think my younger self had it right.
I am so damn tired of trying to see it from the other side. I’m trying to discuss nuance while they paint us and our candidates with the broadest of hateful brushes.
I’m tired of pretending that it’s somehow reasonable to teach creationism in public schools with my tax dollars, while you tell me that two same sex people who love each other, getting married, somehow threatens your marriage.
You voted for Trump – I am tired of trying to see things your way while you sit in your holier-than-thou churches/white power meetups, refusing to see things mine. Did I just lump you in with white supremacists? No, you did that to yourselves. You voted for the same candidate as the KKK. You voted for a candidate endorsed by the KKK. For the rest of your life, you have to know that you voted the same way as the KKK. Does that feel good to you? Here’s a hint – it really shouldn’t, especially if you call yourself a Christian.
I’m tired of pussy footing around what offends your morals while couching what offends mine, because racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia offend mine.
Let me say it right here – if you voted for Trump, I do think you are a racist. I do think you’re homophobic. I do think you’re a misogynist. Racism, and homophobia, and misogyny are all a spectrum, and you’re on it. You might not be a ‘cheering while a black man gets lynched’ racist, but boy, did you just sell them the rope and look the other way.
Don’t like getting painted with the broad brush of racism? Now you know what it feels like when you get told that you want to rip a baby out of a mother’s womb at nine months when that’s not what happens. That’s NEVER, what happens. You wanna call yourself a Christian? Then look inside yourself and try to find some compassion for these women who get told in their third trimester that their baby’s not going to live. They’ve already had the shower. They’ve already decorated the nursery. They already know the sex, and probably have a name picked out. But look at all that, and keep screaming ‘baby killers’ at them, and not voting for the candidates who are defending their biological necessity to have to do the unthinkable – and I think I’m still cool calling you a racist.
I tried to be polite, but now I just don’t give a damn, because let’s be honest, we don’t live in polite America anymore. We live in ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ America now. So thank you for that, being polite was exhausting.
And don’t come at me with how you just didn’t like Hillary, this was bigger than Hillary. This wasn’t your standard “I just want lower taxes and smaller government” Republican – we had Germans warning us that this guy was scary. And still you cried – emails and Benghazi or “that voice.” And still there’s been mountains of evidence proving that nothing that you think Hillary did was that big of a deal or even true. Some of the finest minds in the world have drawn you graphs and charts proving that no crimes were actually committed, and you were either too dumb or willfully ignorant to care.
And if you really cared about crimes, you’d care about any of the three pending against your candidate. Take your pick. I’d start with the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl, but if you voted for Trump, you probably don’t care much what happens to women. Doesn’t matter anyway, she received so many death threats from your political peers that she dropped the charges. But ask me again why more women don’t come forward.
And speaking of smaller government and lower taxes, enjoy not getting mine. If Trump actually does what he says he’s going to do, then your petty backwards state and your small angry towns can pay for your own school to not educate your children. I live in California, the largest economy in the United States, and the sixth largest in the world. We’ll be fine. But have fun affording all those children your health insurance won’t pay for your birth control to prevent. I’m just kidding – you’re not going to have insurance. Won’t that be just great again!
And while I’m done being polite, if you voted third party, unfriend me. I don’t care how much we enjoy each other on every other level. I don’t care how badly you wanted to make your third party a viable option. Fuck you. You basically told me, and the LGBT community, and people of color, that our needs take a back seat to your need to have another option. Well done! Now we’re not just riding in the back seat, we’re actually being dragged behind the car.
And how’s that third party coming? Tell me, what are you doing about it today? Are you volunteering for your third party so that you can get more candidates for the state and local elections? Are you working hard so you can figure out how to make them a viable option for the midterms? I look forward to seeing who you present to us to save us from all of this in 2020, if there’s anything actually left to save. Also, while I’m on it, if you’re one of these people this week, telling me how Bernie would have defeated Trump – unfriend me. But kudos to you for living in a world where you think being Jewish wouldn’t have mattered to a Trump supporter. I’d like to buy property there. Tell me, what are the schools like that far up your own ass?
The truth is, that for those of us on this side, there is no ‘when all this is over.’ Things are just getting started. We think last Wednesday was bad – we don’t know what bad is yet. This isn’t something you get over, this is something you endure. We’re going to face attacks on every right we fought the last sixty years to gain. The deck is so stacked against us that we may not win. The best we can hope for is gridlock. And that’s just nationally. Internationally, who the fuck knows what this lunatic is going to do. And the scarier thought, is that the only thing worse than this guy, is the guy who’s one angry tweet away from the Presidency – Mike Pence – advocate for gay conversion therapy and mandatory funerals for fetuses.
So now’s the time you might want to see things from my side. Because, if we’re all going to have to be friends after this, imagine me having to be polite and having to respect your vote to take away my rights and freedoms and those of my friends, while we fight desperately to try to hang onto them, because that is what you did.
To say nothing about what you just said about us as women. I haven’t gotten to that yet, because if I do, I may start screaming, and if I start I might not stop. So let me just say that you’ve told every woman out there that being sexually harassed, does not matter. Being sexually assaulted, does not matter. Working hard, does not matter. You took the most qualified candidate we’ve had in decades – a woman – and belittled her every mistake and misstep, while taking the least qualified candidate we have ever had, a man, and ignoring every mistake he ever made. But no – you’re not sexist.
And if you’re a woman, girl, you’ve got issues. And I say that as someone who crawled out of the bitter, self-hating womb of one of these women. I mean, I know that these women are damaged, and that I should feel some compassion for them. But I’m not there yet, because I am so sick of damaged people damaging the rest of us. And isn’t this somewhat of an abusive relationship at this point? If you have friends and family like this, cut them off! They didn’t give two shits about your freedoms and happiness last Tuesday, you don’t have to pretend that it’s all cool to pass them a plate of Turkey two weeks from now. It’s like we’re all abused partners saying to each other – “but you don’t know what he’s like when he’s not racist.”
Being racist isn’t the same as liking Dire Straits. This isn’t the same as just disagreeing about musical tastes. Being racist is always racist, and if you voted for Trump, you’re racist.
So, protect yourself, friends. God knows those assholes always do.
Tess Rafferty is a writer, comic, and activist.
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