On January 21st, 2017, my best friend Laura and I will be joining the thousands of women protesting the election of Donald Trump.
I’m protesting Donald Trump for many reasons on that day, but here’s how I would sum it up: I think that Donald Trump is morally repugnant. I think that he’s dangerous to all Americans, but especially those Americans who have been, and are still, marginalized during other arguably less volatile presidencies. And I think that if you object to Trump’s words, his actions, and perhaps most of all, his flagrant disregard for the truth, then it’s your responsibility and also obligation to speak out against him.
When I write something anti-Trump, I have the fear that someone else will hear the shrill note of the self-righteous in what I write. Or that they’ll remember the moments in which I’ve been a hypocrite, when I’ve dipped my toes into less moral waters, like when I prioritize a flip (or cutting or demeaning) “joke” or comment over what I know to be right and truthful.
And sometimes I question my motivations. Am I a “white liberal elite" or a "smug white liberal," just a mouthpiece who is talking again and again about values which I’ve read about in books, but who fails to act on them when it really counts? (Because that’s the part that I still haven’t figured out: how to be someone who acts, instead of someone who just complains. I’m good at complaining.)
And lastly, when I write about Trump, I don’t always have 100% certainty that I’m responding to his words and actions, and those of his supporters, in the “right” way. How can I navigate this post-Trump world when a large part of me feels drawn to those calls for empathy, kindness, and love, but when another large part of me, probably larger than the first, feels like now is the time to be angry and to use that anger to be a better advocate for others and myself?
That’s when I think about figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and many, many others (including Twitter warriors like Chrissy Teigen and Victoria Aveyard), and I think that there’s a way that we can speak from our feelings of anger/ frustration/disgust and love.
I’m marching and I’m speaking out about Trump—even if I don’t always have the right words to use—because this is one time in my life when I feel like staying silent would be the wrong thing to do. When I feel like staying silent would be more disrespectful and more detrimental to others and to myself, and when staying silent would be the wrong type of behavior to model for my son.
I’m terrified of a Donald Trump presidency in a way that I’ve never been about a national event before. I’m terrified that my son is going to grow up under a president who thinks that it’s acceptable to mock the disabled, to call immigrants “rapists and murderers,” to repeatedly insult women (and who has been accused of sexually assaulting women), to judge people based solely on where they are from, to call for a Muslim ban, to refuse to release his tax returns and to lay out specific plans which address his numerous conflicts of interest, to praise Putin and criticize our president, to encourage violence. I’m terrified that Trump thinks that it’s acceptable to repeatedly lie, even when we have Tweets and tapes and witnesses to reveal his lies. And, as my husband reminds me, it’s perhaps even scarier that his supporters aren’t equally bothered by these lies. (See Chrissy Teigen’s recent hilarious and also sad Tweet about Trump and hot dogs).
And I know, as someone* wrote, that it’s a privilege of sorts that this is one of the first times in my life that I’m terrified of the power that someone else will have over my life, my son’s life, my husband’s life, and my other family members' and best friends'. After all, I identify as a heterosexual white woman who comes from what I would call an upper middle-class background. I have had my own struggles—but besides the typical anxious feelings that a woman might get when she’s by herself out in the world, plus a few other random incidents—I don’t regularly worry about my personal safety. And I definitely don't worry about whether I might be able to stay married to the person that I love. Or whether I (or my family members) might be deported. Or whether I might lose my insurance. Or whether I’m going to be the victim of a racist act, big or small.
If I’m judged on the basis of what I look like, or who I’m married to, or what my religious faith is, or where I’m from, it’s not at all in the same way that so many other Americans are judged.
I’m sickened by the thought that Trump isn’t even President yet and it seems like things have become so untenable.
I’m tired of feeling like we’re in a game of limbo and the bar is constantly lowered, but it’s not Trump or the other people in his cabinet who are having to scrape the bottom, it’s us. They’re just the ones who are holding onto the bar.
On January 21st, I’m marching for myself, my son, my husband, my family and friends, and every other American. I’m marching for the people who are marginalized and who were targeted by Trump during the campaign and during his president-elect period. I’m marching for every person who is not a straight, white, American male, and I’m marching for the straight, white, American males, too.
I’m doing it proudly, and because I want to finally start doing something, even if it’s logging steps and carrying a sign. Please join us—in person in Lexington, Kentucky, or in your own city.
Let’s show Trump that we won’t back down and that we’re not impressed by his Tweets and his exclamation points.
This is my goal for as long as Trump is President, and I’m going to really demonstrate it on January 21st: I’m going to stand up for what I believe in--even if my voice is annoying to some (and occasionally myself)—and I’m going to be an active advocate for the people who are even more terrified than I am.
*I’m sorry that I couldn’t find this person. I'm pretty sure that I read this on Twitter.
About the Author
When my toddler and infant sleep--or are otherwise engaged--I write, read, and eat lots of chocolate.