Monday, November 14, 2016

Standing Up To the Bully

*Please note that many of us have been guilty this year of following or believing some biased and unqualified media sources that perpetuated dangerous lies. Much of this is to blame (both our laziness in where we get our news and the sources' propensity to feed the lies) for where we stand right now. That said, all links in this blog post have come from credible sources. The writing and thoughts are all mine. Enjoy.

The day that Trump announced his candidacy for POTUS I laughed. Right along with a majority of Americans who were thinking 'Surely this is a big joke, right?' And we spent the next couple of months fluctuating between guffaws and horrified shock. Surely someone who opened his campaign by calling an entire nation rapists and drug dealers wouldn't get support from enough people to be elected. Someone with no qualifications whatsoever, no public service record, no military record, no higher education.

Oh how wrong we were.

And the ugliness just kept on rolling in. Women, refugees, immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, the disabled, you name it, pretty much every minority group was at the receiving end of his ugly remarks and violent rhetoric.

And we waited to hear about his policies. Sound bytes surfaced that suggested that he was actually fairly liberal—he was pro-choice (yay!) until the day he ran for POTUS (what?!); he used to want to legalize drugs (yeah!); he wanted universal healthcare and an assault weapons ban. You can find the long list of his liberal leanings in this great article. So really, this guys has no values, no real convictions. Sure, people can change, but it's pretty clear that he changed his stances just to get the votes of an apparently gullible base.

So are we right to be scared?

Misogyny reigned in Trump's presidential campaign. Acting like a petty child, he took to Twitter to make inappropriate accusations and deplorable comments about women who dared to stand up to and speak out about him. As if there weren't enough examples of his despicably wretched treatment of women, we were treated to his hot mic recording where he told the whole world that he could sexually abuse women because he was famous. Yup. And the guy who giggled at this was fired from his job immediately. Trump? Not so much. We made him our next President.

Minorities feel they have no place in this country now. If being endorsed by the KKK isn't enough to tell us that his view of Blacks isn't atrocious enough, we can look to his description of Black America—implying that all Blacks live in the inner city, are poor, are violent, pretty much every negative stereotype of an entire group. And well, we all know how he thinks about Hispanic people—with his plans to have Mexico pay for his wall to keep out all of those rapists and drug dealers. Muslims didn't dodge his attacks either. He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Men, women, children—people fleeing dangerous situations, hoping for a better life, just like all of our ancestors (unless you are Native American). Oh, and LGBTQ people? Yeah, their terrified. Trump might pretend to be a friend to their community (even if he doesn't know which direction the rainbow goes), but his VP has one of the worst records for treatment of LGBTQ people with his Religious Freedom Bill in Indiana. For more about Trump's treatment of minorities read this article in the Atlantic.

Then we've got the Supreme Court. Oh yeah, that. I actually saw people saying they'd forget all of Trump's evils in favor of getting a right-leaning judge appointed in Scalia's spot. Never mind that the Republicans in congress have refused (violating the Constitution) to hold hearings on Obama's pick—Merrick Garland, a highly qualified and very moderate upholder of the Constitution, which is what SCOTUS judges are expected to be. They aren't there to uphold one party or the other, but to uphold the Constitution. Even right-leaning media are suggesting that a Trump nominee will be dangerous—pointing to Trump's obvious lack of understanding of the Constitution and disregard for it (he's said he would force the military to commit war crimes, jail journalists who voice negative opinions of him, etc.). Here's a piece of journalistic gold:

"Nonetheless, those who cite the Supreme Court as a compelling reason to vote for Trump are of the befuddling opinion that the same man who has demonstrated willful ignorance of the Constitution, who has promised to subvert the Constitution, and whose dealings with the judiciary demonstrate contempt for the Constitution, is the man who will save it." (

There are recommendations that we should revert to a six-justice Supreme Court like it was originally, therefore eliminating the political angling of the court. If Trump were to nominate a justice, we could see the overturning of Roe v. Wade (a huge hit to Women's rights) along with other devastating setbacks.

Best and most ironic of all?  He used to be a big fan of Hillary Clinton (woot!). Oh, but when he was trying to fire up the Republican base he flip flopped again and went low, attacking her health (she had pneumonia), her marriage, deeply personal attacks that went well beyond what we normally see in politics. And his followers loved it.

What can we learn from all this? It's hard to say. He is a lose cannon for sure. No one knows what direction he will go in. He's already started changing positions on some of his campaign promises—sure, all candidates say things they don't follow through on, but the thing with him is that no one knows what he even believes about many of the major issues. So all we can discern for now is that he will be changing his positions and he will likely be influenced by the people he's surrounded himself with. And that's isn't looking too good for us either.

What it all boils down to is that Trump is the bully on the bus, the guy yelling expletives in the face of the handicapped, the poor, the Black person, the Hispanic person, the woman, the child, telling them they aren't worthy, they don't get a seat on his bus—and those who voted for him are either sitting quietly ignoring what's going on, paying no attention to the pain and suffering, the hurt of their fellow human; or worse, they're cheering him on, patting him on the back and joining him in his taunts. The rest of us have to speak up for the bullied ones. We cannot sit by and allow it to happen on our watch.

We can wear safety pins to indicate our safeness to those feeling fearful. We can post signs to our classrooms to let kids know that all are welcome, we can work through various service agencies to help those who are feeling anxious about whether they have a place in Trump's America. We can peacefully protest to let the world know that we are not down with the bullying. We can live by the Methodist motto so loved by Hillary:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” (John Wesley)

Here's a great list of ways we can do good, offered in this article from Slate. And we can get involved politically. Volunteer, attend meetings, join groups like Pantsuit Nation, any way you can get involved to help elect good people into office at the midterms in two years and in four years, when hopefully more people have realized that hindsight really is 20/20. 

It's time to tell the bully to sit down, he doesn't get to treat people that way on our watch.

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