Life

I REGRET MY SILENCE

I am willing to accept that many people who voted for Trump are not racist, sexist, bigoted, hateful people. People we love and care deeply about voted for him. People I respect and hold in high regard voted for him. People I consider to be powerful role models for my children. What I cannot understand is how those very people could justify that vote. I respect my republican friends. We have long, thoughtful discussions 365 days of the year about issues that matter. I have learned from them and they from me to look at things from different perspectives. That nothing — NOTHING — is black and white. I may live in a liberal bubble, but I appreciate and seek out other viewpoints. People around this country are hurting and I believe ALL their voices matter.

This election wasn’t about politics for many of us. It wasn’t about policies. I happen to agree with Hillary’s policies. I happen to think President Obama is a great, decent man, though I most certainly do not agree with every single thing he did as our president. But even if you don’t like their policies and couldn’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary, how did you vote for Trump? He threatened to ban all Muslims and subject them to religious tests. He said he’d punish women who have abortions. He retweeted white supremacists and let his campaign be run by one. He stoked the flames of racism. He encouraged people to beat up protestors at his rallies. He thinks climate change is a hoax started by the Chinese. He defrauded students, used his foundation to benefit himself, refused to pay the very people who built his buildings. He tried to delegitimize this country’s first black president. He said he’ll implement Stop and Frisk and lied about its failures and racist consequences. He called Black Lives Matter a “threat” and wants to suppress the movement. He called Mexicans rapists. He stands accused of sexual assault. Repeated sexual assault. And he admitted it. On video. We all heard it. His Vice President Mike Pence believes in gay conversion therapy and hides behind his bible to justify taking away a woman’s access to affordable health care. He passed a law encouraging businesses to discriminate and refuse service to LGBTQ people. He is responsible for an HIV outbreak in his home state.

These are facts, not opinions. But people voted for him. Good people. Kind people. People I love. This is hard to reconcile.

My daughter goes to a Jewish preschool in a liberal city and her classmates are walking past swastikas on their way to school. How do we explain that? And how do we as a society accept this? Don’t tell me it’s not Trump’s fault. People are responsible for their own actions, absolutely, but when you run on a platform of hate there are consequences. Where is Donald Trump today? He’s tweeting that protests against him are “unfair” when he should be using his platform to denounce every single act of violence being committed in his name all around this country.

To those of you who wish this would all just go away, who keep telling us to move on and get over it, and who never wanted to “talk politics” in the first place, I will not be silenced. My voice will only get louder. To those who think we should accept this outcome and move on, I ask where were you when Mitch McConnell and his team of obstructionists vowed before Pres. Obama was even sworn into office to block every single thing he did? Don’t tell me to support this president if you didn’t support the one we have now. That is the definition of hypocrisy.

I don’t like politics, but I pay attention to what’s happening in Washington and in my home state and city every single day. This isn’t about politics.

I voted for Hillary Clinton for countless reasons that have everything to do with her values, her character and who she is as a human being; in recognition of the great work she has done for her entire life. I voted for her because I agree with many of her policy proposals. I voted for her not because I thought she’d spend her term bettering the lives of only liberals around this country, but because I genuinely, with all my heart, believe she would have fought for every single person in this country. I voted for Hillary Clinton because my daughter woke up this morning and asked if she could wear her brother’s bat wings and be a super hero and I want her to know she can be anything she wants to be. That her voice matters and is valuable. That no one can touch her body without her permission, or holler at her on the street or disregard her intelligence because she is female. That she should fight for what she believes in and for everyone around her. I vow to fight for my little super hero and to teach my son to fight ALONGSIDE his sister. To be the man his father is. I vow to get more involved. I feel deep shame for not doing enough to stand up against hate not just during this election but throughout my life so far. For staying quiet because my Facebook friends were sick and tired of hearing everyone talk about politics and because this is a blog about pretty things.

I will never make that mistake again.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Marie November 11, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    So so powerful! Thank you for using your platform! Thank you for speaking up when it may cause you to lose a few followers, when it may be uncomfortable to do so. Thank you! I too feel shame for not doing more. And I too will not make that mistake again!

    • Reply Risa Page November 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you, Marie. If people to choose to unfollow me (and they have, I’ve seen my Instagram numbers go down after I post about politics), that is their choice. I want to engage in meaningful dialogue. I’m willing to try to understand. If others aren’t then that’s their burden to carry.

  • Reply Rachel Kravitz November 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you for your words. I was looking for some of this tonight. I am having trouble going on with regular day to day activities as if everything is just normal. We went to a department store to pick up something we had already purchased, and watching everyone just go on with their business was not computing. I think this has motivated many of us more than ever before. #stillwithher

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