Hilary Hodge: Racism, sexism and bigotry
If I have learned anything this past year and a half, it’s that our nation is severely divided on many of the questions central to our identity as Americans.
Our values diverge much more than we had realized. When I say values, I actually mean values. I am not going to skirt the issue of human rights and civil rights, by allowing some excuse in the form of wishing for many paths to the same results. No.
The 2016 election was about values. When Americans went to the polls and voted for Donald Trump, those Americans sacrificed the health of our planet, and the health and safety of minorities and immigrants, fellow human beings, to forge some sort of alliance with an apolitical reality TV star and shady business man in order to bring jobs and wealth back to places that have suffered the most from the inequitable wealth distribution that Donald Trump and the rest of the 1 percent have so enjoyed.
I would call it ironic, if it weren’t so sad.
I knew that many parts of our nation were in trouble. I had taken for granted just how divided our local community is, as well. Some of the responses to my column from last week addressing my fears and anguish about the results of the 2016 general election have me greatly confounded and, in some instances, fearful for my person and for my family.
For a long time there has been an undertone in the progressive movement and civil rights movement, particularly within the LGBTQ community, that seemed to be thinking, “If others could just see us, meet us in person, know who we are, know what we valued, then they would vote for our rights.” Surely if they got to know us, they would see us as worthy human beings, deserving of equal protection.
After Proposition 8 passed in 2008, taking away from same-sex couples the equal protection of lawful marriage, the LGBTQ community had a really rude awakening. While the polling results ahead of the election made it seem that Prop 8 would be defeated, what people actually did in the voting booth was quite different. America got the same rude awakening on Nov. 9.
Hillary Clinton was polling miles ahead of Donald Trump because no one wanted to admit to a pollster over the phone that they were actually voting for the guy who openly made fun of a disabled reporter and vocally admitted that he feels entitled to sexually assault women. Donald Trump is a creep and people voted for him anyway.
I thought by now we would hear more “buyer’s remorse” from Trump voters. I thought we would hear more regret especially now that the President-elect has largely appointed industry insiders, Wall Street bankers, and special interest lobbyists to run his transition team. When Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Preibus told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press this weekend that he wouldn’t rule out requiring Muslims to sign up for some sort of registry, I naively thought there might be some reaction like, “Oh no. What have I done?”
I’m starting to learn that there are many people in our nation and in our community who just don’t care about minorities. Moreover, there are many people who see minorities as less than human and as unworthy of equal protection.
Since last week, I have been sent several emails asking me to outline and cite just exactly how Donald Trump and his political allies have displayed racism. Someone emailed to tell me, “Trump was elected because he seemed to be the only politician who is passionately concerned about protecting America’s future. I mean the American Christian Empire when I say America.”
There are people who honestly believe the steps Donald Trump and his cronies are taking are the correct steps for the health and safety of our nation.
There are people who believe that the country’s ills are directly caused by people of color and immigrants.
There are people who believe that women should not have ownership of their sexual expression, and that homosexuals are deviant people who deserve the fires of hell.
There are people who sincerely believe that all Muslims are bad people.
These people are not just radio personalities. Many of our neighbors and family members feel this way.
Up until the election, I thought that racism, sexism, and bigotry was a slow-burning flame about to be extinguished in our beautiful nation.
It turns out that racism, sexism and bigotry are not just alive and well in America, they are thriving.
Hilary Hodge lives in Grass Valley. Her column is published by The Union on Tuesdays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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