Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Stranger in a Strange Land

I feel like a stranger in my own country. Racist and misogynistic hate crimes are proliferating throughout the US, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to President. The KKK and American Nazi party are celebrating, because they feel that they now have a friend in the White House. And Trump just appointed a white supremacist to be his chief of staff, so they are probably right. Not only that, but his other appointees are calling for a new House Un-American Activities Committee, just as during the McCarthy era, and Trump has declared that he plans to “round up” all undocumented immigrants and incarcerate them, and he plans to force all Muslims to register with the government, both of which sound suspiciously like what Hitler did to the Jews. It was for the “good of the nation” Hitler told his citizens, just as Trump is telling us.

How can this be happening? Did no one pay attention during history class in high school? I feel like the British must have felt during the Nazi bombings - under siege in my own country. But it’s not some external enemy that is attacking us, but it is our own government. The GOP now control both the White House and Congress, and their plans are going to set our country back by decades: rescind the Affordable Care Act, dismantle or severely cripple Social Security and Medicare, remove environmental protections and limits on drilling and mining, stop investing in alternative/sustainable energy sources, remove civil rights from the LGBTQI community, etc. Just as we were on the brink of becoming a better nation, with guaranteed health benefits like the rest of the civilized world and civil rights for all, we are now faced with at least 4 years of destruction.

And I feel so helpless. My gay friends are in fear of losing their marriages, and in fear of their very lives. My female Muslim friends are afraid to wear the hijab in public, and also fear for their lives and the lives of their children. My Black friends are also in fear for their lives. I am in fear of losing my Social Security Disability benefits, as are other disabled people I know. Other friends are now going to be unable to retire, because they will need to keep working in order to afford health care. How does any of this make America “great” again??

I used to believe that the majority of Americans were good, decent people, and that there were just a few “crazies” out there who hated minorities. I now fear that the “crazies” are in the majority. At the very least, the good and decent people who voted for Trump were willing to excuse his racism and bigotry in favor of his economic plans or his (supposed) pro-life stance. They basically looked at a bigot and said, “Well, that’s ok - he’s going to fix the economy.” And that may even be worse than the overt racism of the KKK. This is a racism that says economic plans are of more importance than human rights. And that is truly terrifying, because now these people will go along with whatever Trump does, because they’ve already decided they can ignore his racism and bigotry. So they will keep on ignoring it. Meanwhile, Trump is leading our country down the very same path that Hitler did in pre-war Germany.

No, I no longer recognize my America. And I no longer feel safe in this new America.