Dear friends who voted for Donald Trump,
I’m going to start this letter with a disclaimer: I am not an American. I am a Canadian citizen who voted for Justin Trudeau in the last federal election. That should give you an idea of which way I lean politically. If you were to look up the phrase “bleeding heart liberal” in a dictionary, you’d probably see a picture of me.
I have been quite vocal in expressing my opinions about (choke choke cough) US president-elect Donald Trump. Several of you have criticized me for this, basically saying that as a non-American, I do not have the right to an opinion about an issue that does not affect me. I believe that I’m entitled to have an opinion about anything I like, and I also believe it is disingenuous to state that this election does not affect anyone outside of the US borders.
But that is not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is the fact that many of you – most of you, in fact – have made a point of stating that you do not condone racism, misogyny or xenophobia while refusing to speak out against Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Whenever there has been a report of Trump insulting women, making fun of the disabled, proposing a ban on an entire group of people, or condoning sexual assault, your overwhelming response has been, “But Hillary!”
In essence, you have been defending the words and actions of a racist, misogynistic and xenophobic bully by ignoring those words and actions, and instead focusing on the words and actions of someone else.
For those of you who are going to argue with me over the meaning of the word “defending”, let me throw out the analogy of grade-schoolers, who are actually held to a higher standard than Donald Trump has been.
Let’s say Billy the fifth-grader is called into the principal’s office for grabbing a girl’s boob and then boasting about it to his friends. His parents are called, but instead of taking Billy to task for what he’s done, they say to the principal, “He shouldn’t get any consequences. What about Johnny? There are rumours that he grabbed a girl’s boob twice.”
In this fictional scenario, Billy’s parents did not actually say that they condoned Billy’s behaviour. But they did defend him by deflecting criticism to someone else. It doesn’t matter if Johnny grabbed a girl’s boob ten times. That doesn’t make what Billy did OK.
It’s the same with Donald Trump. If you cried out, “But Hillary!” instead of just saying that the guy was wrong to say and do the things he did, then you did defend him. And even if Hillary is the second coming of Attila the Hun, that doesn’t make what Trump says and does any less deplorable.
If you did not speak out against Trump’s statement that Mexicans are rapists and murderers (but he’s sure some of them are “nice people”), then you have contributed to a culture in which it is OK to judge people simply because of where they were born. If you dismissed the Trump tapes as “locker room talk” or deflected the discussion by talking about Bill Clinton, then you are a part of the rape culture that is pervasive in society. And if you are speaking out against the anti-Trump protests but saying nothing about the fact that the Ku Klux Klan is planning a parade to celebrate Trump’s victory, then you are complicit in racism and all of the ugliness that goes with it.
Maybe you don’t intend to be a part of all of these social ills. Maybe your actions – or your lack thereof – are rooted in thoughts that are deep in your subconscious. If that is the case, this might be a good time for you to look deep into your soul and decide what you want to do to help bring about real change and equality for everyone.
Your Canadian neighbour
Original article by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: frankieleon. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.