Will Everything REALLY Be Alright? [OPINION]
On Election Night, my teenage daughter and I sat on the couch watching the results roll in with growing concern. When it became clear that Donald Trump would stun the world and win the presidency, my daughter walked over to me, wrapped her arms around my neck, and began to cry hysterically.
As any parent will tell you, seeing your child in distress is one of the most heart-wrenching things you can experience. I put my arms around her and so desperately wanted to tell her that everything would be alright... but I couldn't.
I couldn't lie to my daughter.
You see, my daughter is LGBT and her girlfriend is Mexican.
For my family, the idea that my daughter is LGBT was no big deal. Her mother and I knew as far back as middle school. Most parents (if they are even the least bit observant) will pick up on things. They will realize the truth (as long as they are willing to accept it) long before their child admits it.
When she told us there was no big pronouncement, no "coming out" if you will. It just came up in casual conversation and we were none the different.
That's how far this country has come. The idea that someone is LGBT has become "no big deal." Often times family, friends, co-workers figure it out on their own.
We have come a long way for the betterment of our society. We still have a ways to go, but at least we were marching forward.
Now, I fear, we might start marching backwards. Not just for the LGBT community, but for immigrants (illegal or not), Muslims, the disabled, women and other minorities.
After the election, I kept hearing people on both sides of the aisle say "give him a chance." "Wait and see." This despite his onslaught of racist, homophobic, misogynistic and discriminatory dialogue that hearkens back to the worst of American history.
So, I hoped for the best.
Sadly, based on the people Trump is discussing and tapping for his cabinet, I think the best will not be forthcoming.
From his vice-president (who has a long anti-gay history), to his chief strategist (a leading member of the white nationalist, alt-right movement), to his early national security choices (leaders in anti-immigration policy), he is filling his White House with people who have openly talked about pushing back on some of the rights that minority groups have gained over the years (and that includes the years of the Bush White House). They are against many of the things that define us. That define my daughter.
You see, we don't define ourselves (or shouldn't define ourselves) by what we do for a living or what we own or how much we make. We define ourselves as wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. We are defined by those we love and those who love us.
When we die, people don't look back and say "he was a really great welder." They say he was a "great father" or she was a "terrific daughter."
The people Donald Trump is surrounding himself with are those people determined to remove those very definitions from many of the people around us. They don't wan't people to be able to marry those they love. They want to separate families, friends, loved ones, because they see them as lesser, or different, or wrong.
These are the same type of people who thought it was wrong for whites and blacks to marry, or felt Japanese internment camps were perfectly acceptable. I think of Trump's vow to build a wall and I see images of the Berlin Wall, lined with barbed wire and machine guns.
To those people who voted for Trump and say that they don't have anything against "the gays" or "the blacks" (to use Trump's exact words), that they voted for Trump because he was going to bring back jobs and help the working class - just don't.
You don't get to pick and choose the things you like and don't like about Donald Trump. He isn't "just" going to try to bring back jobs and fix the working class. He is going to do those things those "other" things as well.
By voting for him, you told my daughter that the very things that define her as a human being (who she loves, who she marries, who she raises) are not important as long as Trump lowers your taxes, or protects your right to carry a high-capacity military-style assault weapon, or builds a wall in a state over a thousand miles away.
So, you tell me. How do I tell my daughter that everything is going to be alright?
Oh and on the wall thing - he promised to build a 30 foot wall. Did you know you can buy a 32-foot ladder at Home Depot for $300?
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