Emboldened

Like almost everybody I know, I’ve been struggling since the election. Well beyond “my side lost”, the weight of what happened that night has been nearly impossible to carry. It almost buried me that night; horror, despair, anger, disgust, the view that this cataclysmic event launched us into a new, terrifying epoch. As I’d been saying for months leading up to the election, the worry isn’t *just* about this abysmal human being elected to the highest office in the land, it’s also about his followers, who have been emboldened to action in unpredictable and dangerous ways.

Part of what I’ve been angry about is that I have been beating this drum ceaselessly for so long, soon after The Donald was nominated and Bernie lost. I’ve been talking to conservative friends and liberals alike, sharing the message of fighting The Donald’s march to power with as much strength and volume as we could muster. I’ve had public conversations and private, face-to-face and Facebook, text and on the phone.

In response, I was told to stop being “so negative”, that I was talking about politics “too much”, that HRC was “just as bad”, that I should leave it in Jesus’ hands, and, in a special private message (#blessed), that I was promoting abortion. I was muted, blocked, and unfriended by dozens of “friends”.

Since the election, those of this group who didn’t unfriend me have been unceremoniously unfriended. By me.

Well, I did have a little ceremony; it involved a great growling whoop and a middle finger extended toward the monitor.

What I feared came to pass. Exactly the people with whom The Donald’s disgusting rhetoric resonated have begun a campaign of hate crimes and “lesser” offenses across the country. I don’t need to document it here; you’ve all seen them. Swastikas spray painted on mosques, women being grabbed by random men on the street who accompanied their assault with “it’s Trump’s America now! I can do what I want!”, people in wheelchairs threatened with assault. Actual violence against people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, people with disabilities. Actual violence, threats, intimidation, defacing property, all intended to prove to the victims that they were powerless to stop this evil.

And I’ve been and become angrier as people I once respected for their moral strength, for their faith, have been silent about what is happening to their fellow man. Living, breathing, born people who live right next door. Silence.

The sewer rats of the conservative right have left the safety of the underground and are running amok. They’ve been emboldened by the election of their golden-haired leader; watching him get the keys to the kingdom has released them from all sense of shame and decency.

But here’s the thing.

Lots of people have been emboldened by this election. I’m surrounded now by people for whom the election was a shocking, jarring alarm, shaking them from sleep. Finally, these kind, loving souls have realized what people of color and other marginalized groups have been telling them for years; this country is full of deeper, darker ugliness than we ever cared to admit, and we have a profound responsibility to fight back.

Since 11/8, I have personally met five women, people who have never been involved in public service, who are running for office.

Since 11/8, I’ve witnessed outspoken, public defense of people of color–on the street. I’ve read countless more stories detailing protective stances of vulnerable people; I have no reason to believe they aren’t true.

Since 11/8, my husband, long a student of politics but never an active participant, has stepped into the role of activist.

Since 11/8, I’m more connected to my community now than I ever have been before, and this interaction has a strength and support I’ve never experienced. People are organized, energized, and intensely focused. There is a range of targets; environmental protection, assistance for immigrants and people of color in schools and on the street, citizen lobbying, small- and large-bore activism by people who were strangers until two weeks ago.

You want to know who’s emboldened by this election? The meek. They’ve decided enough is enough and they are, as Barack Obama likes to say, fired up and ready to go. While I’d like to hear from my silent, fence-sitting friends who backed away carefully from  “confrontation” about issues like this, I see a great surge of protective energy from the complacent left, an angry and determined force coalescing around sites previously marked by grief and defeat. We are turning our outrage and fury into determination.

Watch out, all you middle-America hate-filled bags of immorality. I know you’re expecting to come in with your confederate flags and swastikas and red baseball caps and run people off, claiming you’re king of the hill now.

You’ve got a surprise coming. You’re not the only ones headed to that hill. You may have King Rat Golden Hair on your side, but you’ve got nothing to match the network of organized broken-heart liberals who know what you represent. You are darkness and filth, hatred and oppression, the vile, maggot-filled underbelly that spawned the dozens of mass murders in recent U.S. memory, that gave us Sarah Palin and The Tea Party and, finally, The Donald.

We see you. And we’re not afraid of you. You want to hurt our brothers and neighbors, our daughters and friends? You’ll have to go through us.

You’ve got a fight on your hands.

.hell

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