I pledge intolerance to bigotry. I will wear a safety pin as long as Trump is president, as a warning to any bullying Trump-supporting bullies
(12-01-2016, updated 07-13-2018) So, bullies beware: I’m a middle-aged white woman suffering from obesity, and I’m not afraid to use it. I will not stand by and do nothing.
Things changed profoundly in this country on November 8. Mostly for the worse. In so far as things changing for the better, as far as the better half waking up and smelling the shit–it was all too little, too late. The media did too little to stand up to half the voting public (minus two million or so), which ultimately turned out to be okay with a presidential candidate who displayed his personal bigotry — racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia, who bullied any minority you can think of and then some, and who gleefully encouraged these undemocratic and just plain deplorable behaviors in his followers. Even now the media is mostly pussy-footing around the fact that Trump and his voters are in fact deplorable. Article upon article discusses “how to talk about racism so racists will listen” (spoiler alert: whatever you do, you’re not supposed to mention the word racism), how the Trump voters were mainly concerned with the economy, etc, etc.
It’s not that they were willing to overlook Trump’s racism, xenophobia, misogyny and Islamophobia because he seemed the right choice for the economy. No, they overlooked the fact that everything he has ever done has been to enrich himself, that he often did that at the expense of those beneath him in his pecking-order world, that he bragged about paying as little in taxes as possible, that he declared bankruptcy several times, always at the expense of others and no pain to himself, that even during his campaign he put himself and his business first whenever he had the chance, that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and that he looked down from his golden elevator at the “poorly educated”.
They overlooked all that because he said the things they were thinking: the racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, xenophobic thoughts that they were thinking. And now that Trump will be the next president, these folks feel that they, too, can finally say what they have been thinking all this time. Hell, the ultra-right white supremacists are positively orgasmic at the thought of having Steve Bannon as Trump’s brain in the White House–their views and bigotry will now be mainstream.
And the proof is here for all to see: Trump voters do not spray swastikas on walls because of the economy, they don’t scream at women wearing hijabs because they feel unheard. The daughter of good friends of mine is in college right now. She’s Korean-American, barely five feet tall and not even ninety pounds. The other day she was late to class, so there was hardly anyone in the halls. Two big fat white guys decided it was funny to block the doors so she couldn’t get in. Six doors in a row, and every time she went to the next door, they moved, too, laughing their heads off. But she moved all the way to the door at the far end, with those idiots following her and blocking her, and because she’s smaller and faster and a hell of a lot smarter, she then ran to the door on the other end and got in and continued to her class. These “students” were not blocking her way because they were economically disenfranchised. They did this because they were racist, misogynistic assholes. We’ve all heard about or personally experienced this kind of bullying and worse since the election.
This is not okay! This is not normal! This is not understandable! Predictable, yes, explainable, yes, but definitely not okay! Not to me, anyway. I’ll wear the safety pin until Trump leaves the White House, to remind myself and others of the fact that this isn’t normal, because we will probably get used to some really weird stuff. But it is seriously scary stuff. I’m not afraid for myself that much–I’m afraid for all my black, brown, LGBTQ, disabled, foreign and female friends, family and acquaintances. And for me, the most effective way not to be afraid is to be angry. I won’t tolerate these folks. I am not ready to be part of the “healing” and the “coming together” that some are promoting. I don’t want to come together with racists. I don’t even want to visualize any healing with misogynists. I’m not going to be all kumbaya with bullies and bigots. I distance myself from them–they are not welcome in my house. I will distance myself from them unless they identify themselves by their behavior–in that case I will be all over them, literally.
I pledge to wear a safety pin–or some more effective visual differentiation if it comes along–as long as this deplorable, developmentally stunted, Constitution-trampling, pussy-grabbing goldfish sits in the White House. I will wear it not so much as a symbol of solidarity with all the people Trump, his handlers and his followers hate, which should be a given, but as a warning to anyone who might consider bullying someone in my presence. I may not be armed and I may not know karate, because I’m a pacifist after all. But I do weigh two hundred pounds (for now)–I can trip them up and sit on them until the police arrive. And if the police are the bullies, I will use my white privilege to get in their faces as well. (They might arrest me and put me in jail, but since I’m a middle-aged white woman with a lot of built-in padding, I’ll probably live to blog about it.)
I’m not saying and doing this because I want to be woke, or because I view all minorities or women as victims, or because I feel guilty for my white privilege–I’m saying and doing this because I’m PISSED OFF!
So what are you doing to prevent this new order from becoming the new normal? Are you wearing a safety pin? Let me know in a comment. And if you’re a Trump voter and you don’t agree with me, you can comment, too, as long as you use complete sentences and your arguments are based on facts.
(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “I Pledge Intolerance to Bigotry”, 12-01-2016)
- Header image: mine