dexeron: (Angst)
[personal profile] dexeron
Although my Livejournal is, in general, friends-only, I've made this post public so that I can link others to it from other platforms.

---

Several weeks back, I made a post (over on Facebook, since I'm so rarely here these days) about making a conscious effort to be less abrasive in political posts, to do better at trying to balance integrity with compassion, and practicality. I also asked to be called-out when I fail at that, so I'll ask for a bit of forbearance with regards to this post, because I'm quite emotional now, writing this. The day after any election is a heated time. The day after this election, well, I'm sure you can all understand.

I'll try to be more magnanimous tomorrow.

---

I think I can sum up my thoughts on the election of Donald Trump in two points.

Firstly, to every person who despised Trump, who agreed with every criticism of him, who usually votes Democrat (or at least votes against Republicans,) yet were still unable to bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton in this election, and either stayed home, voted third party, or (absurdly) voted for Trump:

I hope you are satisfied.

In all of the swing states that Trump won, the margin of victory was tight. Those of you who lived in swing states who stayed home or failed to vote for Clinton, there's no gentle way to put this: you are to blame. You had the chance to get out and vote against fascism, and you failed to do so. The Republicans simply managed to get more folks out there this time, and while I have my own disgust for how easily someone like Trump managed to get people (who ought to know better) to vote for an open fascist, none of that would have mattered had more of us gotten out and voted. If only half of the folks in my own state who voted third party had voted for Clinton, she would have won, handily, and as we are a major swing state on the east coast, that would have changed the national calculus significantly. You can try to spin that however you want: "Clinton was a weak candidate!" "Sanders could have won!" "Clinton was corrupt/hawkish/shrill/elitist." It doesn't matter. You made the decision, when faced with the choice between Clinton and Trump, to withhold a vote from the only candidate in this race who actually might potentially beat him. You voted, in effect, for Donald Trump, for a racist fascist, and you will have to work that ethical conundrum out for yourself.

I think the influence of those that stayed home was greater than those who voted third party, but I think both groups share a measure of responsibility here. In the face of such an obviously unqualified candidate who has said the things he has said (and influenced the violence from others that he has) to have stayed home or withheld a vote from the one person in a position to defeat him was irresponsible.

For those who lived in "locked-in" blue states, like New York, I still think there is some blame to go around. Not for how you voted. I know folks who hated Trump (and Republicans in general,) but also hated Clinton, and decided to vote third party. I can't fault them that; their states still went to Clinton. I have told folks I know who lived in New York, for months, to vote their conscience. Folks in New York didn't hurt Clinton by voting for Stein or Johnson. Again: I can't fault them for that.

What I can fault them for is months of carrying water for Russian propagandists and the Republican party. Months of repeating every debunked lie about Hillary Clinton. Months of (gleefully!) forwarding every possible conspiracy theory or negative piece, regardless of whether it was from a reputable source, regardless of whether it was true, all because it attacked someone they didn't like. To you folks I must ask: do you think your words exist in a vacuum? Your vote may have caused no harm, but do you really think your voice (combined with that of every other "ideologically pure" holier-than-thou "both parties are the same" cynic) didn't have any influence on the larger conversation in those states where votes did matter? You carried water for the Republican party. You helped to spread their smears, smears which I must again point out were almost entirely false. For three decades, people have been pointing at Hillary Clinton and the "smoke" surrounding her, screaming "where there's smoke, there's fire," ignoring the fact that, for thirty years, it's always just been a frothing elephant working a smoke machine this entire time. You have helped to hold up the curtain hiding that elephant - hell, you plugged in the damn machine for it. Congratulations.

But see, it's not me you have to apologize to. I'm a straight white male who has great health insurance through his employer. A Trump Presidency won't harm me in the slightest. I'll survive, as folks like me always do.

No, the people you need to apologize to are the folks who are at risk of losing their insurance coverage when the ACA is gutted. The people with pre-existing conditions who will lose the insurance the ACA finally won for them (and possibly their lives.) People at risk in sensitive environmental regions that will continue to deteriorate under a President who laughs at the consensus of qualified scientists. Disenfranchised communities whose access to the ballot will be further eroded under a right-ward leaning Supreme Court toying with the already weakened Voting Rights Act. LBGTQ folks whose rights will be eroded by an upswell of religious moralists who (laughably) think that this President is at all serious when he claims to be one of them, but who (rightly) know that he will support their attacks on any families who look different than their own. Women whose reproductive freedom is in jeopardy under one of the most anti-choice Vice Presidents in recent history. Minorities and immigrants who will be threatened not just with legislation designed to target them, but by the emboldening of hate groups who, up until now, mostly stayed in the shadows, but who have triumphantly been walking more openly ever since Trump began to encourage them.

That's my second point. You have basically said to every one of these people: "Fuck you; my hated of Hillary Clinton is more important than your lives."

I am speaking to both groups now, those who lived in swing states and those in the "locked-in" states. You all need to consider the reality you helped to shape: a Republican President working with a Republican Congress and a Republican Supreme Court over the next four (or perhaps eight) years. (And of course, this doesn't even get into the issue of a literally fascist malignant narcissist sitting in our White House. You were worried that Clinton might be too "hawkish?" You were worried about wars that Clinton might get us into? Enjoy the next four years of this guy as our "Diplomat in Chief" with his finger on the trigger.)

This is what you have wrought.

But, to quote R.E.M. (from, arguably, the best album of the '90s):

I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting,
But I feel better having screamed. Don't you?


So maybe I should leave you with a call to action, instead of just finger pointing.

The war for America's soul, the war to ensure freedom for everyone (not just the traditionally powerful,) the war to ensure the rights of minorities even as we enact the will of the majority, the war to ensure the blessings of liberty to everyone: that's not something we fight just once every four years in a ballot booth. That fight goes on every day, not just in legislatures and in courts, but on the streets every time someone speak up in the face of injustice (or fails to do so.) The fight goes on. The real fight always starts the day after election day. To every one of you who failed to do everything in your power to fight this fascist, you now have a job to do.

You have a duty now, for the next four years. You need to stand up, every time you see injustice, every time you see minorities victimized, every time you see the religious using their privileges to persecute (all while screaming about their own "persecution,") every time you see unjust laws being proposed, every time you see people filled with hate attacking others, every time you see fascism rearing its head. You need to stand up and be heard.

I don't mean you need to make Livejournal or Facebook posts. I mean you, all of you who failed to stand up when it counted to stop a fascist from entering the White House, need to stand up, today, now, and start getting involved. You no longer have any excuse. This is how you atone: you stand up and join the rest of the people who are out there (and have been out there,) every day, fighting for equality and justice. You get off of your couch where you've been playing armchair pundit for the last several months carrying water for the GOP, the Russians, and Julian Assange, and you actually start to do the actual work of fighting injustice. Maybe that means joining your local branch of the Democratic Party. Maybe that means joining some other local group. Maybe it means marching, or writing letters to legislators, or just talking with friends and family about what you believe. It's not hard to find ways to get involved. But this is your job now.

You see, for many of us (and that includes most folks who voted third party or stayed home) things will be fine under a Trump Presidency. It's a minor blip on the radar, an itch, an inconvenience.

For too many others, it's life or death, and so it is our job to make sure that those folks are protected over the next four (or eight) years, that someone is willing to stand up in the face of injustice and say "no."

That is where our fight begins: not on election day, but on the day after, and every day after that.

That is what your duty is, now that you have voted your conscience. You must now stand up and fight for justice in the world you chose to create.

This is your invitation to join in the real fight.

Think about what you have done.

Then go.

Fight.

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Daniel Lustig

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