I know some of you stated that you believed Donald Trump’s misogynist and racist remarks were just rhetoric and, even if they weren’t, those were not your beliefs and you are neither racist nor sexist. Many of you feared what Hillary Clinton had to offer. And, because of that, you felt you had to vote for Trump to preserve policy you do endorse. And I can understand that to some degree. Hillary was not my first pick. I was a Bernie supporter and I can admit, for me, part of the reason why I voted for Hillary was because I am afraid of Trump. It was not the only reason, but it did play a part. And I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on matters of fiscal policy and that’s okay. We can agree to disagree on that. I can easily live with that (and have for as many years as I’ve voted and known you). Being able to debate back and forth is what makes America great.
But, in the next 4 years, I would ask that if you truly disagree with bigotry that you speak up and fight against policy and rhetoric that endorses it even if it comes from a political figure you voted for. Write to your representatives in government, call them, sign petitions or join in marches to say you do not support policies or practices that hurt and hold back the civil rights of your friends of color, your friends of different religious beliefs, your friends of differing sexual orientation. You have nothing to lose in doing so. You will still have a Republican-run government.
But, if you sit on the sidelines and continue to say, “it’s just rhetoric,” we are in danger of losing very much as a free country. Racism and Sexism do not get better by ignoring. History is littered with lessons of those who ignored it and none of those examples lead to making a country great again. So, if you are an ally against bigotry, you will need to stand up and be counted as such.
As someone who opposes bigotry, when Trump picks an editor of a alt-right news site that's praised by Nazis and the KKK as his senior campaign advisor, picks a man who publicly encourages fear of Muslims as his national security advisor and picks a politician whose nomination for a federal judge position was rejected based on his racist comments for Attorney General, you should be alarmed and you should be furious. This has nothing to do with fiscal spending, nothing to do with small government vs big government. This is an early example of Trump’s “rhetoric” turning into policy and it has everything to do with choosing whether you support those who practice bigotry or support people of color, different religious beliefs and different sexual orientation. We all need to decide where we stand on this. Being silent won't make you neutral.
“It’s just rhetoric,” is not an excuse – particularly when the person using that rhetoric is a figurehead for what your country stands for. So, if you detest bigotry, please stand up to these people and policies and be counted not as “liberal” or “Democrat” or “conservative” or “Republican,” but as an American who demands that our government adheres to our country's inherent belief that all of us are created equal.