Do not tell me not to get political. Do not write me to say that you read blogs to escape the news and the election. We cannot pretend that this isn't happening. For the last two months I've been too paralyzed with fear to write. Everything feels trivial, every post that I started felt completely useless, and so instead of writing about what matters I just stopped. Did I fear that a post like this would polarize me and this space (which it will), lose followers (which it will) and fill my inbox with nasty emails (which it will), or ever worse, the patronizing messages about how I need to keep it happy and cute and neutral, please, always? Was I really so afraid of that? Did I let that stop me?
God help me.
The fact that it took me this long to realize that it wasn't my paralyzing fear of what my country could be heading towards, or the despair that it's gotten THIS far with a hate-spewing madman like Trump that stopped me from writing, but my own fear about losing popularity- that shames me. I have a platform, regardless of size, and I kept quiet. I'm so ashamed. But I'm done being such a coward.
If Trump wins, maybe I will be ok. I'm white, I was born here, I was raised upper middle class, I have resources, I live in a blue bubble in a red state. Then again, maybe I won't be ok. If Obamacare is repealed no insurance company would take me- not with my rap sheet of disease. What if I became pregnant, and got sick again, and there was a choice between my life and the pregnancy? What if Roe Vs. Wade was overturned, what would happen to me then? This is not an alarmist attitude. These are things that women everywhere have to think about, because it could happen to any of us, but particularly those of us with unpredictable illnesses. There more of us out there then you'd think.
What if there was another unjustified, criminal war like the war in Iraq, and the economy tanked again, and both David and I lost our jobs? What if medicaid vanished, or social security? We both work very, very hard, but we live paycheck to paycheck, mostly because my disease has cost us everything. What if we lost our house?
But then again, we'll probably be ok. But what about the people in this country who are not as privileged as I am? Who already live in daily fear of being shamed or shot or picked on or left out or beat up? This is no comparison, but I drive around with a Hillary and Bernie bumper sticker on my car and I've been bullied, harassed, nearly driven off the road, I've considered taking those stickers off for my own safety but what about those people who can't peel off their ethnicity, religion or social status? If you're anti-Trump but you're choosing a protest, 3rd party vote- you may be just fine when he gets elected because of a privilege you may not even be aware of, but think about who will be effected, who will be punished by your choice.
And what about our country itself? I LOVE this country, I have no doubt it's the most beautiful, giant piece of land in the world. I'm happy here. I'm proud of my country in so many way- not all way- but so many ways. My country does not build walls, or turn away those who are suffering, or ban entire sections of human, or label entire religions as terrorists, or give up on the poor or doom the sick- we're not perfect, we have a lot of work ahead of us but we're moving in the right direction.
But enough with my liberal, bleeding heart. Forget about my opinion, just looks to the facts. Suddenly the far right seems to care about nothing except Immigration- the man's entire platform is built upon walls, xenophobia and fear mongering- but immigration is no more or less a 'problem' in this country than it's ever been before. Look at the facts.
And stop saying it's a christian nation. The founding fathers (immigrants themselves) created this nation to be a place where anyone could freely and openly practice whatever religion they chose, the pilgrims themselves were fleeing from religious oppression, we all learned this in the 5th grade. "This government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." - John Adams. Freedom of religion means freedom of religion, period.
Look, where I live, I hear people talking. People are angry because their jobs went overseas and the American dream starts to feel pretty damn out of reach when your job gets exported. I'm not pretending to have experienced that myself, but do you want to know why I'm a full time freelancer who pays out of pocket for private insurance? Because I CAN'T GET A JOB. I've tried, for years, I couldn't even get a job at Trader Joes, and I have a college degree and I'm really good at interviews. There are not enough jobs and too many qualified applicants, period. The moment I stepped out of college the economy tanked. I'm not lazy and I'm making it work as a freelancer but NOT for want of trying to get a full time job. It has been agonizing. I get that.
But Trump is not bringing those jobs back. Nothing is bringing those jobs back- free trade is happening, right or wrong, and it's not turning back. We have to look forward. We have to invest in renewable, American-made energy- can you fathom how many jobs are waiting for us there? In state likes mine. North Carolina could be the top state in the nation for off-shore wind power and yet lawmakers here are trying to ban the construction of wind turbines. There go the jobs. While we're at it, HB2 (unnecessary, nonsensical, fear-mongering, polarizing) has cost our state 400 million and counting. We really could have used that money.
Obviously I could go on, because everything is at stake. I won't go on, but I'll say this: if Trump is elected, I'm not moving out of the country as goes the liberal rhetoric. I'm not giving up and turning over my country to the people who would choose to elect the man endorsed by the KKK. I'm staying here and I will work to mitigate the damage, I'll involve myself in my community in ways I should have done years ago, I'll look after my neighbors, I will fight to take back our country in four years. I'll do what I am capable of to honor all the millions of people, democrat and republican, who have worked to create and preserve the freedoms and liberty that we all (should) have today and to keep moving forward because it will never be time to rest.
Finally, I'm so happy that I'll have so many of you to work alongside with when that time comes, or- even more likely- to celebrate with when Hillary Clinton triumphs on November 8th. It shouldn't have taken me this long to say all of this. Speak out, friends. No platform is too small. Do not fear the fallout. Speak out.