Coming Out Democrat - A Liberal Love Story
While I have always been a politically convicted person, I have never been very public with my beliefs. Raised in the rural Midwest, I grew up thinking of Democrat as a four letter word. I was raised by two wonderful and open-minded parents who will vote as fiscal conservatives as long as they live. My little Republican pocket of southern Ohio surrounded me, so much that I can say definitively that I only knew 4 Democrats before I got to high school. I have a distinct memory of calling my middle school band teacher a douche bag because he bad-mouthed Bush during class (I still laugh-cringe at that one). It took me a long time to reconcile my upbringing with my burgeoning world view. I moved to Chicago where I was confronted with diversity and poverty for the first time in my life. Even now, I internally shy away from calling myself a liberal or identifying as a Democrat and never mention politics on Facebook or at family gatherings. My little people-pleaser non-confrontational brain just went on thinking my bleeding heart liberal thoughts as I scrolled past "Go Trump!" posts from people who share my last name.
No more. I'm coming out. I'M A GODDAMN DEMOCRAT BLEEDING HEART LIBERAL AND I'M MAD AS HELL. I spent this entire election shaking my head and saying "this can't be real. This will never happen". Welp. It's here. It happened. A man who doesn't believe in global warming, a man who publicly mocked a disabled reporter, a man who has intimidated and harassed women for the entirety of his career has been elected as president of these great United States.
A man who has been accused of rape. Multiple times.
Twelve. TWELVE! Not one, not two, but TWELVE WOMEN risked public ridicule and defamation in order to accuse this man and we still elected him president! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK YOU GUYS?! This is beyond my candidate losing the election, I would not have been ashamed of John McCain. I would not have been ashamed of Mitt Romney. But today, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that the message my country has sent to the world is that the bottom line is more important than people.
I hear it again and again, from people who I love and respect, it's not about the social issues. It's simple economics! I'm protecting my retirement fund. I worked hard for my social security! Honestly, I'm a little envious that you can rest in your privilege with the complacency of a generation that will not be around to deal with the mess you've made. That your choice to prioritize money over human rights will teach a generation of girls that wealth is more important than their safety. That wealth is more important than their health. That wealth is more important than protecting the religious sanctuary on which this country was founded.
Yesterday I was mad. I was so so so mad. I was so mad that I was ready to give up. Ready to emigrate to some liberal minded Nordic country or disappear in the Rocky Mountains. But not today. Today I am ready to fight. I am ready to march and link arms and tell the world that Americans are NOT Trump. We are not a nation of hate and racism and misogyny.
I will not let that pussy grabbing Cheetos fingers take away a country that has given hope to millions. Given refuge and freedom and fostered art and music and love. We are the birthplace of Ben and Jerry's. We are home to Beyonce. This is a place worth saving.
So what can we do? How do we help? First, stand together. Put your arms around your friends and protect them with your love. One of the hardest thing about the last couple of days for me has been the knowledge that I cannot share this grief and anger with much of my family because they voted for the other side. I have fallen on my friends to grieve and commiserate and form a plan of action. Be a shoulder for a friend. Walk a lady home from the bar. Give the middle finger to a racist asshole. Show solidarity with LGBTQ people, Muslim people, Jewish people, people of color, immigrants, and marginalized Americans. Show them that they are not alone and we will not let them be swept back under the rug of history.
Next. Be informed. VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS. Candidacy is not built in a day or even a year. We have to start now to create an army of informed, educated, and qualified candidates for the next round.
This is the US Gov website for finding your local election site so you can stay updated on voter registration and polling places.
Then: volunteer. Donate. Teach. Create. And don't forget to stay hungry.
Here are the sites for a few organizations to get you started.
Vote Run Lead develops programs to help get more women into leadership
NextGen Climate works politically to protect the environment
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Human Rights Campaign advocates for LBGTQ rights
Or any of these additional organizations:
Finally. Remember that we are all Americans. We are all in this together. In the words of my dearly beloved Albus Dumbledore, "Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."