If the protests have you confused or irritated …

… Then a clarification is needed: People are not protesting a Republican win via the electoral college.  People are afraid and their fear is real and legitimate.  What they are in fact protesting is the hate speech, the bigotry, the racism and the sexism that Trump’s campaign communicated, endorsed and even promised in policy terms.  They are protesting exclusion and acts of discrimination against marginalized and vulnerable groups (read: women, African-Americans, disabled people, LGBT, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, etc).  There are large groups of people, huge groups of Americans, who feel legitimately afraid for the lives, their liberties, their families and their futures.

That’s ridiculous and overreacting. Why would they feel that afraid?

Because the President-elect told them, expressly and explicitly, that those things are all in jeopardy.  It’s been pretty spelled out and continues to be signaled with a white nationalist Anti-Semite named his chief strategist yesterday. And then, when his more vocal supporters at his rallies shouted out even nastier and more hateful vitriol, he didn’t tell them it was inappropriate or not tolerated.  He often laughed and egged them on. Unlike John McCain’s beautiful example here of disavowing hate speech and racism from supporters during his 2008 campaign.

So Trump is President.  26% of America elected him President and that was enough.  The protesters, the people speaking out in pain and fear are not arguing that. We are in a post-election world now.  And it really doesn’t matter who you voted for anymore.

Let me stop here and say clearly:  If you are in my life and voted for Trump, I don’t believe you are a hateful bigot or a racist. I don’t believe that the mocking and demeaning language of his campaign about people of color, women, families with gay parents, a Muslim veteran KIA, and the disabled totally resonated with you and made you want to high five Trump.  Rather, I think you just overlooked xenophobic, homophobic, racist and misogynistic rhetoric because something else must have mattered more to you.

And all that matters right now is that if you believe in the equal value of all humans, in their basic human rights and liberties – then will you make your voice clear and tell them you will stand by those values and uphold respect for other humans?

What does that look like?

  • It could look like finding a way to tell a Muslim citizen who has been told they will have register and carry ID cards because of their faith or a hard-working immigrant who might face deportation, who fear violence or ridicule, (whose children are already facing shameful actions in the past week) that you want them to be safe. Can you agree to stand by their basic human right to feel safe?
  • It might look like telling my brother who’s on disability and Medicaid and might need a heart transplant in a few years – but won’t get it if he loses his health insurance – and millions of other lives that are similarly, truly on the line that you do care about the health of your fellow citizens, even those that can’t secure it from private insurance.
  • It might look like you telling my nephew who is so distraught because he identifies as disabled, and he watched the video clip of Trump crudely mocking disabled people, that you find that horrendous too and that’s not your America.
  • It might look you telling my friend’s neighbor whose crotch was grabbed Thursday by a man while he told her to “get used to it,” that that is unconscionable and wrong and you are so sorry it happened.
  • It might look like you telling my brilliant Indian-American doctor and actress friend, who faces discrimination in the South, and now says that she gets the message that America doesn’t want her – that we do want her and need her. … Or another dear Southeast Asian entrepreneur friend who was told by a yelling passerby on Saturday to “go home to her own country” … that she is home.
  • It might look like you telling my friend who is legitimately afraid her marriage will be legally overturned, her family destroyed, her child confused and brokenhearted that that is not okay and you will speak out when and if the vote comes.
  • It might look you telling my African-American friend’s brother who drives around with his license in the overhead visor so if he’s ever pulled over maybe he won’t be shot for reaching for his wallet – who now sees KKK celebratory rallies planned in North Carolina and racial epithets and swastikas painted all over Philadelphia – that his life matters.

We are not protesting the election.  We are not wearing safety pins because Hillary didn’t win.  We are expressing solidarity and strength and protection for these stories, these many many brothers and sisters. And for ourselves and our own basic humanity.  Do you have friends like these?  I’d wager you do whether you know it or not. Have you heard stories that have unfolded in the past 4 days?  The sharp rise in hate crimes since the election is being reported. Can you close your eyes and remove the colors red and blue from your vision and try on any one of these stories, like pulling on a sweater, to imagine what that kind of fear might actually feel like?  And if you don’t know particular people in your own life facing these issues, then maybe you could just make a blanket statement to say that your America is not one of discrimination, hate and exclusion. That you stand with those who believe in respect and dignity for all.

You could say it as simply as Richard Rohr does: “For the vulnerable who have now been rendered more vulnerable, I lament and pray and promise to stand with you.”

This is beyond politics right now.  If you are reading the protests as being about the election result itself, as sore losers, you are misunderstanding.  We would not be speaking out and on the streets were it a McCain win, a Romney win, hell – even Rubio or Jeb Bush or maybe even Cruz.  This is different than an Obama win in ’08 or ’12, or even W.’s wins in the two terms before. Americans’ basic human rights were not in direct threat in any of those scenarios.

If you want unity, if you want us all to move on, then try to understand what the protests are and are not about. Find in that understanding some empathy for the most vulnerable among us. And maybe find a way to say that demeaning, mocking, advocating for violence or a stripping down of personal rights and civil liberties is not what you endorse, and it’s not the person you are.

You don’t have to denounce your party or your vote.  But if you want credibility in telling us to move forward, you do need to reaffirm that everyone has a seat at the table (especially the many who were told during the campaign that they didn’t) and that you will actively help those who feel fearful and threatened.

Then call for unity. Then call for us to march forward. Unity means everyone.

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35 thoughts on “If the protests have you confused or irritated …

      1. Nice try, but the news has abundant interviews with protestors stating they are protesting the election of Donald Trump. It is obvious your group is trying to avoid responsibility for unprofessional conduct and do some damage control. Good luck.

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  1. I have been sharing similar conversations with many of my friends and family Elizabeth but you articulated these post election issues with a personal face that I hope will resonate with Trump supporters in a deeply personal way. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Unfortunately it probably will not with most of the Trump supporters I know. Unless it personally happens to them or there is proof of it happening to somebody they personally know they deny it happens. They are incapable of empathy for family members, never mi d perfect strangers.:(

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  2. Excellent commentary for this sad, sad time. I am affected by this election in so many ways that have nothing to do with political parties. I grieve as if I have had a death in my family. I am not grieving for a Democratic defeat, though I am sorry I was part of a larger vote that became moot because of the Electoral College. I’m political enough to know it is not Republican or Democrat or Independent that we need fear. I mourn the loss of the long strides we have taken as a country during my lifetime alone. I mourn that we still had far to go, and I so hope this is only a brief 4-year set back. Could that be possible? I fear the unknown truth of what is to come. Heaven help our nation. Let us all keep strong. Let us believe that the checks and balances of our government will still work. Thank you, Elizabeth, for this most pertinent and important stance for our friends and families. They deserve and need to grieve, and, for a while, express their anger at what has happened, in every non-violent way they can muster. I vow to be there when they are ready again to set this country straight in goodness and charity. You have said it very well.

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  3. Well articulated. I was wondering if you could provide non biased videos that show him expressing this rhetoric. I have searched for it and have not been able to find it.

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    1. Hi Mike, yes. I’d be happy to. They’ve been pretty well documented and televised, but I can send clips on the negative rhetoric on disabled, women, Mexicans, Muslims and African-Americans. I’ve 3 work deadlines tomorrow, so it will Thursday.

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      1. Mike — These are all direct source clips from an outlet of record (CNN). There are many many more.

        Trump crudely mocks physical condition of a reporter with disability

        Trumps brags about sexual assault – grabbing, groping, kissing women without their consent

        Trump’s “Ban Muslims” rant at NC political rally 12/7/15

        Ban on All Muslims – Fox News

        Trump: Mexico sending drug dealers and rapists. “Some, I assume, are good people”

        Federal judge can’t be unbiased because of his Mexican heritage

        Trump on Race, and Controversial Stop and Frisk tactic (racial profiling), African Americans live in hell. From Debates

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  4. Anything Trump might have said was restated in lies by Clinton’s DNC and their supporting media. None of this can be supported by a direct quote by Trump. Same old Jackass Party scare tactics usually used to manipulate minorities, now swallowed whole by younger, inexperienced voters.

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    1. Phillip, see list of direct quote source clips above quoting hate speech and bigotry. None of this was restated by the HRC campaign and the people who were targeted by this rhetoric (and what it then condones on the street level) are rightfully afraid and threatened. I am one of those threatened. I am not an “younger, inexperienced voter,” nor are many others expressed their deep sadness and concern. This is a discussion about humanity at this point, not partisan affiliations. I hope you can see that and I wish you well

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    2. He said these things himself. But you all deny it. Is the left the only one listening to what Trump actually said? Not what the media said, what actually came out of Trump’s mouth.

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  5. Yesterday I visited with two of the African-American women that take care of my brother. It was surprising to me that they were not upset by the election results like I expected. One said “The president is not my leader. God is, so I am not worried or upset”. The other one said, ” Let’s give him a chance. Let’s see what happens after he is in office”. When I asked them if they were afraid that people might try to degrade them for being black, they said that white people had been nothing but nice to them since the election except for one crazy white lady who asked if she could cut one of them and cut herself so she could show others they both bled red. I am thinking like my two friends, Debra and Viola, and will wait and see if Trump acts better during his time in office than he did to get elected before getting too upset. And I will do my part to show love toward those who might be worried. As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts so well through your blog – and Happy Thanksgiving! I remember fondly the one I was able to share with you and Steve in 1999.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This helped, a little. I have dear friends of years – even decades – and it breaks my heart to think that these people, with whom I have loved and worked , are really misogynistic, homophobic racists who bought a sociopath’s self-serving rhetoric. I can hope, and pray, and there was some other reason why they chose to follow such a person.

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  7. I have watched every video clip & I can understand why some people may have concerns. But I don’t understand why Trump wanting to close our boarders to NEW Muslims immigrants wanting to enter the country until the government can check them properly & restricting our Mexico boarder to slow illegal immigrants makes him a racist.
    Anyone who crosses any country’s boarders illegally is automatically a criminal. That’s why they are called illegal immigrants!
    Before you start judging me, I have had many many friends who are illegal immigrants. My kids go to school with their kids. I went to school with them. I’ve stayed at their houses as a child. I don’t hate all Mexicans. My favorite cousin is married to a Mexican American. They have Mexican American kids that I love dearly. I am familiar with real Mexican people from Mexico, not just a statistic or rumor. Not all of them are “bad” people. I have personally heard their experiences & seen the evidence of their journeys. I know how they made it here. Everyone I talked to about this had to make some very hard decisions when they were getting here. Most all had to steel food so that they didn’t starve. Some broke into houses or barns to get away from the elements. Several had to cut fences to get through. Or even steal vehicles / ATVs to make their trip shorter or easier for the elderly or children. These aren’t terrible people but they had to commit crimes to get here. At minimum they were all trespassing on other people’s property.
    In Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, & California there is huge cost of property damage & theft. The average immigrants break into people’s homes, take food, personal property, gas & cut fences so that ranchers loose their livestock. The “real” criminals do so much worse. They have no regard for the average citizen. The people who live on the boarders & deal with it daily, should be more important than the criminals ( illegal immigrants) who are crossing the boarders.
    What Trump said is also true. Many, many of them are sex traffickers (rapist), drug dealers, & not to mention thieves. Allowing even one of those types of criminals through our boarders is too many!
    I am also very confused about why gays & lesbian are concerned about their legal marriage being over turned. I haven’t seen anything that would make them think that. ( I also had lesbian roommates for about 8 months in 2014 I don’t hate LGBT people.)
    I do completely disagree with Trump making fun of the disabled reporter. I think that was very disrespectful. I also think that’s where a lot of people were willing to over looked that because they were more concerned with our boarders & the overall dismay of our government. ( I also have a rare medical condition since 2008. )
    Even in the video of Trump & Clinton debating he may not have said things is the most PC way but his overall point was to improve high crime areas. I think instead of listening to every exact word he says maybe we need to try to understand his point behind what he was saying. He wants America to be strong & protected. He wants to improve all the lives of all classes of Americans. There are blacks & Hispanic ( African Americans / Latinos ) who live daily in terrible conditions in high crime areas. There’s whites & Asians that live in those same situations. There are people that could be shot by gangs simply because they were walking down the street. He wants to eliminate gun violence & crime. He also wants to protect the police.
    He’s not the easiest guy to love. He’s very blunt. He’s not always PC. He’s even publicly made an ass of himself, but I think his overall intentions are good. He’s never said he is going to start taking away the rights of American citizens. He continues to say he wants to change & improve America. So even after this very well written explanation of why people are protesting I still don’t understand why they are making decisions based on fear & the possibility of things that haven’t even happened yet.
    I would also like everyone who reads this to know that if he starts stripping away any Americans civil rights I will gladly stand right next to protesters & fight for your rights until they are restored! But until he does that I will give him a chance to prove what he will or won’t do.

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    1. I believe the problem is that he can’t deliver on most of his promises. The Wall most likely won’t be built. It would cost billions of dollars, and Congress won’t approve that much debt. We can’t increase the deficit by that amount. Obama was already deporting the criminals, and he has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president. However, he is also limited by money. He spent all the money that was allocated to him. Trump can’t bring back the factories either, nor can he bring back coal mining. He used whatever rhetoric he needed to get elected. If that was racist to appeal to people’s fears, then that’s what he said. My fear is that he’s a narcissist and his promises aren’t because of a genuine empathy for the people of America, but because it puts him in control. His personality type is unpredictable and unstable. But as you said, time will tell.

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      1. The problem is that Trump didn’t make those qualifications. He didn’t day Mexicans coming here illegally were rapists and criminals, he just said Mexicans coming here are. He didn’t day stop allowing new Muslims immigrants/refugees into the country, he said stop allowing all Muslims – even those born and raised here who traveled out of the U.S., or soldiers fighting for our country returning from duty. (A stupid idea to begin with, since all a terrorist would have to do is lie and say they weren’t a Muslim.)

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      2. You made some valuable points but for the most part those are all campaign promises. The possibility of him not being able to fill all of those obligations aren’t huge fears to protest. Not being able to build a wall or bring back a factory has nothing to do with loosing civil liberties.
        About immigration from Mexico… Can you show me any proof of Obama deporting all those illegal immigrants? He has constantly cut funding for boarder control in Texas. Which would in turn not accurately account for the amount of immigrants crossing so the numbers may have risen.
        Land owners in multiple states are paying private militias to monitor their lands. My son-in-law was offered several jobs to teach weapons training & tactics. Can you imagine if citizens were having to hire private police forces to protect them in their towns & cities ?!? That’s when people start feeling like they don’t matter to America.
        Here’s a complete side note- my family used to travel to Texas border towns to vacation a few times a year. We haven’t been in years because of the violence from drug runners & human trafficking. Literally people are leaving their homes unsold because of the dangers. I have friends whose parents are in Mexico but they won’t go visit because of how scared they are. Down here we really need someone who at least thinks that securing our borders is important. Even if he doesn’t build a wall maybe he’ll send some kind of support. Things need to change. Obama didn’t do enough for the bigger picture of immigration. I guess that’s why the About Muslims something does need to be done & I don’t think good law abiding citizens should be removed from their homes. To your point tho he, very specifically, said in an interview, that he didn’t intend any Muslims that were currently in America. & in that clip above, He said that we needed to be able to be vigilant of terrorist activity within fear of backlash.
        Also there were reforms in place that stopped the mining industry. So he is actually able to return jobs for miners. I was in Kentucky & West Virginia a few years ago & I can confirm lobbyists & environmentalist played a huge role in things there due to Acts in place. Idk exactly which ones tho. But people would protest & hide taking pictures of what they were doing there. I think it was because they were only able to mine so much at a time. I don’t know exactly all of the details but those states were really struggling. People need help.
        There’s are cities all over America that are almost like ghost towns because of jobs being shipped overseas. If a businessman can’t get some of those jobs back no one ever will. There are things that governments can do to bring jobs to places so why can’t they use those same abilities like tax breaks & incentives to bring jobs back to America?

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  8. It may be a protest in beginning through “fear” but since when does the protest that turned into a riot is result in fear of imminent of deportation, changes in future policy? From the moment that Trump is declared winner, protest/riot ensued. I have disabilities, but that doesn’t mean I would be afraid and join in protest and nor should I. However, I do recognize Trump as president elect. Sure, I have some concerns in what he plans to do, but there is a better way to handle this upset vote. It needs to be done the right way in right channels. Go to senate and work with one of your state representative to work toward maybe have laws changed. I do stand with immigrants if and when they had entered our country through legal means, but , if illegal immigrants had not entered in USA legally,and wanted to stay, then they must apply for visa, show how they can be contributing to our country, not protesting and rioting , causing millions dollars damage. I believe it is both the fear and people voting for Clinton are upset and causing more of others to fear in hope to have a better outcome with another upcoming vote to reconsidered their previous vote

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