Edit, 7:00 PM…I just want to note I have exactly two Facebook friends who’ve posted about what happened in Charlottesville this weekend. In our effort not to upset each other and start social media wars about politics (which I agree with, because nothing is ever resolved via Facebook or any other social media platform), are we now not speaking up in the face of evil? Evil is not politics. Evil is, well, EVIL. It’s okay to get on Facebook and go: Hey, yo, this is messed up. You can be any political party and denounce evil. It’s okay, I promise. Even if you like Donald Trump…you can get on Facebook and go: Charlottesville is not okay! In fact, you know what else you can do, even if you like and support the president? You can get on Facebook and go: Charlottesville is not okay! And I wish the President would have been stronger in his condemnation. He really kind of blew it. It’s okay to criticize the President of the United States, I promise. He may take to Twitter and call you a bunch of names, but the planet will continue to turn.
As the mother of a biracial child, I need to talk about what is happening in Charlottesville. In 2017, not 1967. Or 1867. Because it’s crazy. America, you have officially lost your damn mind.
I have friends and family who are firm supporters of Donald Trump. They deeply believe he is a good man and is helping this country. They honestly believe Barack Obama ruined everything. They think Donald Trump will save us.
Today I am going to say they are wrong. They are very very very very very very very very very (keep going with ten more minutes of verys) wrong. They are on the wrong side of history. They are on the wrong side of spirit. They are on the wrong side of love. They are on the wrong side of wrong. I cannot be more absolute or explicit about this. I do not know how better to express this to them, if they are reading. I know I don’t want to talk about it any more with them. I no longer wish to hear that he’s a good, decent man who cares deeply about America and helping fix it. He does not. He simply does not. I have seen enough. I am no longer going to make jokes about him – he is scary. I am no longer going to try to be even slightly magnaminous about how maybe America can get through the next 3 or so years only kind of scathed. I am done. I am done.
Let me be very very clear:
Donald Trump is NOT a good man. He treats women like objects, not human beings. I didn’t like George W. Bush. But George W. Bush was and is a good man.
Donald Trump is NOT a decent man. He lies. All the time. I like Bill Clinton, but I recognize Bill Clinton had a problem with his private parts and the truth. Yet Bill Clinton is still more of a decent man than Donald Trump.
Donald Trump does not care deeply about America. He golfs and is obsessed with who agrees with him and who doesn’t. If you don’t, you are his enemy. I didn’t like George H. W. Bush, but George H. W. Bush cared deeply about America. He golfed, and was not obsessed with who agreed with and didn’t. His enemies were America’s enemies…not the American press or people.
And now? Donald Trump is directly affecting my life, my heart. He is giving racists the courage to spread their hate out in the open. They didn’t even bother with hoods, y’all. Not even a face mask. I feel a sudden need to not let my child out of my sight for a second. I feel the need to shield her from certain areas of this country. From certain people – white men in particular – who decorate their cars and trucks and homes a certain way. I feel a sudden fear that one day she’ll be living her life, happily going along, and some very respectable looking white person will see her hair or her skin tone and destroy her day and question her right to be here, to be happy and successful. Are you hearing what I’m saying White America? Choose wisely.
None of what’s happening stops my love for the people in my life who support this sorry excuse of a human being currently occupying the White House. I cannot unlove someone I’ve decided to love. But our interactions are going to have to change at this point, after this weekend. I need you to turn off Fox News when I’m at your house. I need you not to speak about Donald Trump in any kind of positive terms. I need you to understand how upsetting this weekend was for me – the videos of white men with torches in the middle of the night chanting hatred brought up images I’ve only seen in history textbooks, or old film footage in documentaries on Martin Luther King Day. I need you to understand this.
Over the last several weeks I have felt tremendous, deep, almost blindingly painful contempt for one human being I loved with all of me, someone who was one of my best blessings, who has proven to me pretty firmly he doesn’t want to be anymore and I never mattered. I’ve raged and said coded and unloving. quite un-Amy-like things on social media.
But I will not be coded about this: if I love you, you will always have my love. We can hang out, we can be family and friends, but we will not, under any circumstance, discuss the good points of Donald John Trump. Because he has none. Because if we do you will get an earful of rage and it will damage our relationship. I promise. Because if you support Donald Trump, you are supporting someone who absolutely, with no doubt in my mind anymore, coddles white supremacists. He does not, did not, will not condemn them. What he said was there was hatred and bigotry on many sides. And that is No. Absolutely NO.
In case you are confused about why I feel so strongly about this, let me enlighten you further:
There are exactly two sides to hatred and bigotry: people who are, and people who aren’t. Fin. There isn’t one side of people who are, one side of people who aren’t, one side of people who have some misgivings, one side of people who hate their own kind, one side of people who hate people who hate their own kind, one side of people who…WHUT? Stop that. There are TWO sides, and only TWO: bigots vs not-bigots.
Still confused? Still not sure I’m on the right side of history with this? Allow me to further elaborate:
Life is full of grey areas. This is not one of them. You either embrace and accept other people no matter their skin tone or you don’t. THE END. If you’re like Trump, and prone to want to see some hatred and bigotry from people upset with white “men” marching around a Confederate statue in former Confederate, slave state bitching about how oppressed they are? If you can find even a tiny bit of sympathy for the individual who felt the need to ram his car into a crowd of people? If you think a girl who went out to stand up for people who don’t look like her and ended up dead was probably asking for it…she should have just stayed home that day? If the president’s words about there being many sides to this kind of hate-filled behavior seem pretty sensible to you? YOU ARE PART OF AMERICA’S PROBLEM. I don’t care what Sean Hannity or Fox Friends tells you. I don’t care what your grandpa said. You have chosen the wrong side.
Because there are not “many sides” to this. There are two. TWO. Right. Wrong. Bigoted. Not bigoted. Love. Hate.
Choose your side wisely. Our country is being eaten alive. And no, I’m not being dramatic. I’m being very clear and realistic.
Meanwhile: I love my new job. Given the diversity I am surrounded with every day, I practically work at the U.N. and I love it. I love that there are like 30 different languages, and children sit with children who were born on the other side of the world. And they learn together. And they play together. And nobody wants to angry grab a tiki torch.
Ditto for the church Miss M and I attend. Every Sunday, we greet each other with Namaste before the service begins. All the colors of the rainbow hugging hello and shaking hands and making sure we all know we see the light of God in each other. Not a tiki torch in sight. I went there today because my heart has been full of heartbreak and rage, and this weekend’s events didn’t help it a single bit. Sometimes you just need to surround yourself with the light of God and people who look at the not-oppressed bitching about being oppressed and go: something ain’t right.
Donald Trump is a child of God. But his light is so dim with his need for power and money and ego validation, he’s willing to stand in front of the world and say the words “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
News flash, Trump fans: that’s not a condemnation from your hero. White supremacists heard that and gave a rebel yell – they heard a big ole high five. It was the “on many sides” part. And the fact he had to mention himself as not part of the problem, when his entire Twitter feed – his very own words – is nothing but a green light for events like Charlottesville.
My prediction is it will spread. Charlottesville was the first. People who hate other people based on religion, sexual orientation, skin color, and country of origin are mentally ill. They were poisoned as children, and they will not stop. YOU may not agree their stance, but every time you say nothing to a racist joke…every time you say “well, Affirmative Action really has made things bad for white men”…every time you agree with the suggestion there are many sides to hatred and bigotry? You are enabling them. You are feeding their disease. As the mother of a child who is a mixture of African, European, and Native American ancestry, I am promising you this.
Last night, I was up in Trump country driving to a friend’s. I watched a car of two black people signal to an SUV driven by white people that they were asking them to be let over so they could turn right. The SUV hesitated as if they were saying yes, come over…then sped up at the last second to not let them in. It’s those little things, white friends. They add up. Look around, notice. See other people. Choose wisely.