This post was originally published on Medium on November 10, 2016.
Today, I saw a number of Facebook posts admonishing people who were expressing grief and protest over the presidential election. “Just get over it,” they said. “Stop whining.” I found them to be offensive.
I can’t just “get over it”.
My first reaction to the election of a man so repugnant and so unworthy of any office, much less the highest in the land, was not unlike that of someone who has experienced trauma. Shock. Disbelief. Avoidance. Ugly cry. As it settled in, and as I watched videos of people protesting in the streets, I became more resolute in my need to not “get over it”.
Violence is never justified as a means of protest, and any violent action taken for a cause in which I believe will not get my support. Civil disobedience, however, is more than justified now. I may be on the front line of a protest soon myself. Be prepared for a sustained outcry from me and many others about the man that has just been elected to the presidency. If people who voted for him didn’t want it, they should have backed a less radical candidate.
I have been on the losing end of elections before. This is different. The victors before were not people who were radically intent on destroying our nation’s foreign partnerships. They were not people who had long histories of racist and misogynistic behaviors. They were not people who had trafficked in conspiracy theories and promoted outright lies. They were not people who had no understanding about the dynamics of nuclear weapons. They were not people who had long track records of fraudulent business practices histories of stiffing small businesses that provided services to them. They were not people who grabbed women’s genitals without consent.
This was not just any election that pitted the Republican philosophy against the Democratic philosophy. Donald Trump is not the Republican equivalent of a Barack Obama. He is not a Mitt Romney or John McCain. These people, whether or not you agreed with their political ideas, were knowledgeable and had moral compasses that you could trust. Donald Trump is a maniacal racist and misogynist who has harmed numerous people throughout his career. He has given me no evidence of a moral compass. He demonstrates no knowledge or wisdom about foreign or domestic affairs. He has promoted the restriction of rights to certain groups of people. He is a phony and a fraud, and he is so incompetent, putting the nuclear codes in his hands is more than dangerous.
I don’t know if it was naiveté, ignorance or outright racism that led people to vote for this man who is so inadequate and unworthy of the presidency. Whatever it was that led to his election, there are many who oppose everything he stands for. I am one of them.
Whining? Pulease. Who was it a few days ago that was bellyaching about a rigged election? Who had to have his Twitter account wrestled away from him because he didn’t have the maturity to avoid petty social media tirades against people who criticized him? I will not sit idly by and allow this man to destroy the things I hold most dear about my country. It is my right to speak through action and speech. I intend to assert that right voraciously. Be prepared for a lot of First Amendment remedies from me.
As time goes on, I will adjust to the stunning reality that a man who cannot comport to the standards of behavior expected of the average high school student will soon be running the country. I will not be silent, however. I will not embrace this reality with acceptance. I will only allow the minimal level of tolerance required to be an American citizen. I respect the office, but I reject the man. He may hold the office, but he will never represent me.
I will protest every unjust and unreasonable action he takes at every juncture I can. I will do so in peace, but not silence.
I will not let it go. I will not get over it. And I will not stop speaking out, no matter how futile it may be. Toni Morrison says, “In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”
These are those times.