"H'aint we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?" --Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry FinnOne can only debate so many online trolls. This one hates Jews. That one hates Muslims. This one thinks blacks protesting systemic mistreatment in nearly every facet of life from banking to the prison population is "terrorists making up lies." It's exhausting trying to reply to all of them. And even worse when they're family--or friends, or friends of friends. Normally, the advice is to not feed the trolls...they want a response. They want you to engage them in argument because suddenly you've validated them by stopping to even entertain the idea. When your family says something ridiculous, you must stop and decide if the battle is worth the effort. Do I ruin a relationship over their ignorance? So we stay quiet.
But it's getting harder to stay quiet when the nominee of one of the two major political parties encourages the fear and selfishness. It's made this nonsense--and it is nonsense--mainstream. Last night's Republican National Convention--aside from the anti-Catholic tattoos walking around outside or the wife of the nominee lifting her speech from the current First Lady--featured a sitting Congressman insist that white people have done more for civilization than people of different skin tones (Steve King, IA) and tales of scary "illegal immigrant" bogeymen here to rape and murder. (Meanwhile, the same party complaining of this lets assault weapons roam our streets at-will. A real, actual massive threat.)
We're better than this, America. And I want to thank each and every one of you I see in my feed battling these horrible, disgusting ideas. To those of you who, for whatever reason, aren't planning on voting for Hillary Clinton in November I ask this...it's really more of a plea...please don't associate yourself with it. I know, I know, you think Hillary is a lying, manipulative bitch who is corrupt and bought by Wall St. Blah, blah, blah. We get it. But if you truly don't see that she would make a better President than Donald Trump then you're not a reasonable human being. And, no, Jill Stein, another 3rd party, or not voting is not an option. One of those two people will be sitting in the White House in January. And if you're not actively trying to stop not just Trump but this hateful, ignorant, divisive rhetoric coming out of the Republican Party right now then you're just as bad. You're throwing your hat in with the bigots, the paranoid, the people rooting for the oppressors. That's not the America I want for my children.
The America I want is hopeful. Is helpful. Is ready to lend a hand to others--whether they're migrants risking their lives to come enjoy our freedom or if they're the poor or marginalized. The America I believe in doesn't care what language you speak or what your religion is...because the America that writes off people based on their social group, bullies, and taunts is the America that was on display last night on the GOP convention floor.
My fear right now is less that Trump will win in November...he can't if you all vote. My real fear is that Americans won't step up to counter the loud, disgusting voices of Trump-ism that are a real threat to our way of life. The America that we're seeing in the mirror right now is vile, awful, and nothing to be proud of. We've been down this road before...Trump's brand of militancy, fascism, nationalism, and rage eventually ends with people in ovens, civil war, and darkness.
We are better than that. Act like it. If you see something, call it out. Vote the worst of it out of office. Stand up for principles of peace and not hatred. We still have time to fix this, my fellow Americans. But it's not going to be pretty.