Acceptance Isn’t Silence

Durham, NC - 11.09.2016
Durham, NC – 11.09.2016

I am fatigued of people telling upset Americans to be quiet. The irony is incredible; we are to forgive a man – a presidential candidatefor the offensive things he says and does; we are to listen to him, give him the benefit of the doubt, and not take his words at face value, a man who name-calls at 3am on Twitter when he feels slighted. And we, private citizens, are to shut up. Even if we feel targeted, even if we are scared, even if we are grieving – we are to shut up.

We are to shut up to, presumably, make your life more peaceful. You want to be happy your candidate won. We can’t stop you from being happy. But you can’t stop us from being upset, and some of us do not take kindly to being silenced when we have feelings. Feelings: it’s almost like you can’t control them in others!

My thoughts about the President Elect’s racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia hurt your feelings, yet my feelings are totally invalid, right? Here’s some feelings for you: I am heartbroken that you would vote to limit my rights as a woman, vote for a man who mocks the very concept of sexual assault (warning – the link autoplays a video) – because, what, you think your taxes will be lower? I am crushed. I cannot imagine the sorrow that is felt by those more heavily targeted than me. You may have voted with other intentions, but the result is the same.

You tell me that this was about the economy, and I need to stop taking things personally. I have a few questions for you.

  • What is the dollar amount that my bodily autonomy and safety is worth to you? You are trying to sell me to the government; what is your asking price?
  • What is the dollar amount your freedom of religion is worth to you? What tax break will buy it?
  • How much of your tax dollars are you prepared to commit to re-litigating same sex marriage? What is the dollar amount that you will personally pay to interfere with someone else’s marriage, de-legitimize their family and possibly orphan their children?
  • How many of your tax dollars are you prepared to use to deport college students who were brought to the US as children, in no control of their own situation – paying for transporting, housing, feeding, and litigating? What is the dollar amount that you personally are willing to commit to that?
  • What is the dollar amount you’re willing to invest in the infrastructure of the run down rust belt towns? What is the dollar difference in what you would pay for goods manufactured in the US, and how much of your time will you commit to seeking these goods out?

You tell us to “accept” the election. We accept. We all know what we’re in for. We know it, and we hate it, and we are allowed to hate it. He is my president as much as he is your president; I am allowed to hold him accountable for the things he says and does. I am allowed to watch him like a hawk and speak my mind. I am allowed to hold him accountable for appointing a literal White Supremacist on his staff, after a week of people telling me to calm down because he’s not who I say he is. After a week of being told to believe him when he said a thing on this day, but not when he said the opposite thing on that day.

You never shut up about Obama’s birth certificate. You never shut up about Obamacare, even though it was passed legally. You never shut up about Benghazi, or about emails, or about the Clinton Foundation, though they were all investigated ad nauseum. You never shut up then – why should I shut up now?

The thing here, is that you can keep telling us to shut up, because that is your right. You won’t shut up about shutting up, I won’t shut up about shutting up – we have a lot in common. We both want the luxury of speaking our mind.

I respect your right to your feelings, your words, and your opinions. Respect my right to react to them.

Action Items:
  1. Since we’re on the topic of the First Amendment: Donate to the ACLU. Bonus points for setting up a small monthly donation. They are the best line of defense in protecting Constitutional rights.
  2. Also on the topic of the First Amendment: remove biased and fake news sources from your life. If someone shares something biased on Facebook, you can go to the drop down menu at the top right of the post, and click “hide all from http://www.obummerbushwarcriminals.bartsimpson”. Here is a good running list covering both sides of the aisle.
  3. Subscribe to a newspaper who does respectable reporting. I chose to financially support the Washington Post. Respectable reporting means multiple sources are represented, legitimate experts on the topic at hand are interviewed, and there are not opinions presented (unless it is an opinion piece).
  4. Educate yourself about Foster Campbell, Louisiana’s chance to flip a Senate seat on December 10th. If his message appeals to you, donate and/or spread the word.

Author: Melissa

Melissa is an artist and half-architect living in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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