This election was not normal, in so many ways.
The elevation to president-elect of a demagogue who clearly has no idea what America is even supposed to be about is disturbing to those of us who love our First Amendment. And, by the way, before you call me a “libtard” or a “POS liberal” or a “sheeple,” I’ll tell you right here: I love our Second Amendment rights, too. I think our Bill of Rights is extraordinary and important. Donald Trump clearly does not. He’s a fourth grader subject to temper tantrums who now holds the highest office in the world: A fourth grader who skipped civics.
The rabid Trump supporters will have none of it, of course. That’s okay. He’s their guy. Time to call me a liar…forgot that one. They can just move along. I’m not here to try to convince them of anything.
The lukewarm Trump supporters, though, crack me up. They really do. They voted for him for a variety of reasons: They hated Hillary, they wanted to send a big FU to DC, the president has no power anyway. I love that one. Everything was Obama’s fault for the last eight years, but now that your guy is a nutcase, you say the office has no power.
One of those 30-something’s who voted against Hillary (she would not say she voted FOR Trump), very glibly and patronizingly just looked at me sideways and said, “It’ll be fine.”
And you know this how?
You, who have lived your entire life with abortion as a right, not having any clue how many women died before it was legal, not having any idea at all how much work and time and danger millions of women and activists put in working for that right, you are telling ME it will be “fine”?
You, who saw same sex marriage just happen, as if by magic, not having any clue how it took decades and decades of work in state legislatures, in the courts, and people getting their heads bashed in, you are telling ME it will be “fine”? (Google “Stonewall riots”). You cannot even imagine that a woman could have her child taken away because she was a lesbian. You cannot even imagine that you could get kicked out of your apartment or fired from your job if your boss decided you were too mannish for a woman or two effeminate for a man. You cannot even imagine how putrid the Acushnet River was like before those pesky environmentalists started getting all those regulations passed. There wouldn’t be a tree left on many a mountain in this country if not for the tree huggers.
Do you even know that women have been able to vote for LESS than 100 years? Do you even know that it was an amendment to the constitution, an amendment that happened more than 140 years after the country was formed? And it got passed because women literally put their bodies on the line to march and protest; and they got thrown in jail for it.
The freedoms you enjoy, you young 30-something, did not happen by magic. They happened by hard work, over a long time, by a lot of people.
And all of you Trumpers basically said that none of it mattered to you.
Do I think you’re all racists and bigots and sexist misogynists? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. What I do know is that racism, bigotry, sexism and misogyny were not deal breakers for you. You were willing to risk all of that for whatever other reasons made you vote for a vile, hateful, thin-skinned bully: My president, thanks to you.
So, will it be okay? I hope so. But if it is, it will not be by magic. It will not be because we are Americans or because of our precious exceptionalism. It will be because people of good conscience will continue to work tirelessly to make it okay. The activists and agitators and elitist liberal talking heads that you despise so much will not be silent.
If it is okay, it will be because of the ACLU, The New York Times, Washington Post, The First Amendment Coalition, The Center for Investigative Reporting, the Sierra Club, The Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD and all organizations that fight bigotry and refuse to be silent. It will be okay because of all the individuals and organizations that have the smarts to recognize fascism, and have the courage to fight it, and that refuse to stay silent.
This Thanksgiving, as disheartened as I am by all those who threw me and so many others under the bus, I am thankful for my fellow Americans who did not let the vague promise of a little more in your pockets allow you to vote for a bloviating bamboozler who has no idea what this great country is even supposed to be about. And I note that there were about 1.7 million more of us who saw through his chicanery, than those who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked.
And I am hopeful when I look at the map of how young people voted. God bless ’em, the whole “woman thing” did not get in their way at all. They are stunned that someone so qualified got beat out by someone so uniquely unqualified. I’ve never been so happy to see the generation gap in action.
So, if you are of a mind to help it be fine, give to the organizations I’m going to list below or others of their ilk; volunteer at the ones that have offices close to you; write letters to the editor. The most dangerous thing right now is for good people to do nothing or to go silent. Remember, more people voted against Trump than voted for him. He and his cronies have the power, but it is not absolute.
ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union, fighting for individual rights. “The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country.”
New York Times: The country’s defacto Newspaper of Record, and the only one that stood up to the bully. Buy a subscription to show your support. The NYT has won more Pulitzer Prizes than any other newspaper. It’s one of the largest in the country.
Washington Post: One of the most decorated newspapers in the world, and the one that investigated the Watergate scandal. One of the largest in the country.
Wall Street Journal: One of the largest newspapers in the country, with a business focus.
The First Amendment Coalition: Dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs.
GLAAD: The world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization
Center for Reproductive Rights: Working to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.
Immigrant Assistance Center: Helping immigrants overcome language, cultural and economic barriers. In Greater New Bedford, Mass.
AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science: If you don’t believe that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, as our new president believes.
The Center for Investigative Reporting: Working to engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling in order to spark action, improve lives and protect our democracy.
Human Rights Campaign: America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality.
International Refugee Assistance Project: Organizing law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons.
Lambda: National organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV.
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund: The nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization.
MIRA, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition: The largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund: America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice.
NARAL: Working to protect and expand reproductive freedom, including abortion rights, birth control, sex education and healthy pregnancies.
Natural Resources Defense Council: Working to safeguard the earth, its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
NPR, National Public Radio: A mission-driven, multimedia news organization and radio program producer focusing on in-depth, quality news. Relies heavily on support from audiences at member stations throughout the country.
Planned Parenthood: Founded on the revolutionary idea that women should have the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams — no ceilings, no limits.
ProPublica: An independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
RespectAbility: On the front lines in the battle to reduce stigmas, failed government policies, and other obstacles that deny people with disabilities the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
The Sierra Club: The nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.
The Southern Poverty Law Center: Dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
The Trevor Project: The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it is not meant to be. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments section.