Forgive me if this sounds un-enlightened, but stop telling me not to be angry about the results of this election.
Stop the kumbaya appeals for unity.
I appreciate your open-mindedness, and pleas that we are all one—not Republicans, not Democrats, but Americans—but I’m afraid I need to call bullshit.
I was born in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, a white and rural community. When I was eight-years-old, my parents moved me to Seattle’s Eastside, so I could grow up in an ethnically diverse community.
I didn’t have many white friends after that.
My Eastside high school was a melting pot of Asian, African American, Polynesian, Hispanic, Indian and Caucasian. I’ve found it disconcerting scrolling through my social media news feeds to see how many of my Montana friends are encouraging us to move on from the election results.
It’s really easy as a white person in a rural state to say that the people have spoken, and that it’s now time to rally behind our President-elect. But let me remind everyone of a couple of things.
First, yes, the people have spoken, and the people have voted for Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote. Let’s not forget the history of the Electoral College and the role that slavery played in its creation, tipping the balance to the rural areas and white conservative voters.
But back to all of the Pollyanna pleas that have been filling my feed—that we are all in this together and everyone has a right to his or her opinion. I suppose this is true, being that this is America.
With that said, when people cast a vote for a candidate who ran an openly racist, bigoted, xenophobic, sexist, misogynistic campaign (a “pussy grabber”—Trump’s words, not mine), when they cast a vote for a climate denier when our planet’s oceans, forests and rivers are facing unprecedented threats, and when the climate science is clear—they are putting my daughter and the future of our planet at risk.
When they cast a vote that is detrimental to my daughter, my daughter’s Navajo god-mother, Hispanic god-mother, Black and Filipino godfather and all of the beautiful people I grew up with on Seattle’s Eastside, well, I’m sorry, I’m not that forgiving.
I’m angry, I’m pissed off, and I encourage all of you to not get hijacked by the kumbaya appeals. It’s okay to be angry, confused and scared.
The facts are clear.
This man made fun of a brave, courageous and inspiring reporter who is disabled, something no middle schooler with a conscience would do, and people overlooked his disturbing, bullying behavior?
The election of Donald Trump has emboldened acts of racism across the country. The election of Donald Trump has inspired school children to chant “Build the wall,” and “White power.” It has inspired the KKK to announce a celebration in honor of Trump being elected.
Don’t ask me, and others like me, to just let this go.
Off the Indian reservations, Montana is a homogeneous bubble, and I find it insensitive, offensive and short-sighted when people who don’t “get it” tell us to get over it—especially Republicans who have obstructed our government for the last eight years and still, to this day, can’t seem to get over the fact that Mr. Obama is our President.
Get over the fact that an electoral college has given us a pussy grabber who calls Mexicans “killers” and “rapists,” mocks handicapped people, discriminates against African Americans, wants to build a wall, deport Mexicans and ban Muslim people from entering the US, and who just happens to be a sexual-assaulting misogynist who refers to women as “fat pigs” and “dogs” while justifying the sexual assault of women in the military as a consequence of allowing them to serve our country?
Get over the fact that our President-elect calls climate change a “hoax” and has vowed to gut the EPA?
Or his waging a war on the Affordable Healthcare Act and people with disabilities—threatening to take away health insurance from millions of Americans and depriving middle and low-income families of the insurance subsidies they depend upon?
We need to get over all of that—and in seven days—or we are un-American?
Well, we aren’t over it. And I for one, hope we don’t get over it.
My hope is that the election of Donald Trump will indeed inspire change, but not the kind of change his supporters envision.
Donald Trump is our President-elect, this is a fact. Be angry, be honest, be scared. Be and feel whatever it is you feel, but by all means, be willing to fight with mindfulness and compassion.
Be willing to fight Trump’s racist, sexist, discriminatory and environment-ravaging policies with a passionate but peaceful fire.
If we offend people, fuck it, they’ve offended us by voting for him.
Don’t let them guilt you into thinking there’s something wrong with being angry. There’s something wrong with voting for a candidate that has no moral compass. Don’t let the cries for unity fool you.
Where were those pleas the last eight years?
But do have hope. Have faith that we can and will rise above the hate. And by all means, keep fighting the good fight my friends.
Image: Isai Ramos/Unsplash
Michael W. Leach is an author, speaker, activist, dad and rabble rousing green guy spreading his “Be Audacious” message in hopes of inspiring a more compassionate, mindful, daring and sustainable society. When not wearing his super dad cape, he can be found (or not found, he’s very elusive) at a local coffee shop (though he doesn’t drink coffee) writing fiery and passionate pieces as his contribution to the cause. Friends call him an agitator and instigator, but he describes himself as a dad and writer. His books “Grizzlies on My Mind: Essays of Love, Heartache and Adventure from Yellowstone Country” and “Be Audacious: Inspiring Your Legacy and Living a Life That Matters,” speak to the heart of the issues that inspire his insomnia and captivate his daytime reveries: wild places, the environment and social activism. He lives, loves and dreams with his wife and daughter in Bozeman, Montana.