When People Pull a Lugubrious Face

We have a problem. We need everyone to be part of the solution. 
This week, I’ve been reminded of my favorite line from Go Set a Watchman, which I wrote about in my dissertation:
“As I sit here and breathe, I never thought the good God would let me live to see someone walk into the middle of a revolution, pull a lugubrious face, and say, ‘What’s the matter?” ― Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman
The novel takes place in Alabama shortly after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. A grown-up Scout Finch returns home from New York City and can’t wrap her head around why the people she grew up around are suddenly so racist and why the black woman who raised her is now so distant. Much of the drama of the novel rests on Scout learning not to be so oblivious. People’s feelings haven’t changed. The political climate has forced them into the light, beyond the norms and politeness of Southern gentility. (It’s a great book, by the way.)

I have seen a lot of people on the internet this week calling people babies and entitled and stupid for being upset about the election or for protesting or for being afraid. First of all, that’s rich considering the obstructionism of Congress over the last eight years. More importantly, however, I have seen more people writing about fear for their lives or their safety. I have seen reports of harassment, assault, and threats at the hands of those who feel like they have won the right to be racist or sexist monsters because of the rhetoric of our president-elect and those who endorsed him. You do not have the right to be a monster. No matter your politics, you do not have the right to verbally or physically assault your fellow citizens. You do not have the right to violate their constitutional rights.

2fc7aedabba383f448717e5b9638b521Listen to me carefully, please. The upset and protest and tears are not about losing the election. This anguish people express is about feeling that the election was a referendum on the character of the country, and the country is now in the hands of a man with no character. This is about people being scared for their civil rights, based on statements the president-elect campaigned on.

 

If you voted for Donald Trump for reasons that are not racist, sexist, homophobic, or xenophobic, it is now essential that you speak up on behalf of minorities who are afraid for their own security. Your voice has been heard and changes will be made. It is essential, however, for you not to ignore how hate groups such as the KKK feel emboldened by his election to treat people like second class citizens or to violently lash out at them. I’m not talking partisan politics right now. I’m talking things that are actually happening, right now, in our country. As my husband said, the election has to do with more than just the candidate himself, but the impact his or her words and actions have on the larger population. Not everyone will understand or pay attention to foreign policy, but they will understand a powerful man laughing that he can grab women “by the pussy.”

If you think that is dramatic, you need to pay more attention. Here are some resources, from the many available, some of them crowd-sourced if you’re one who distrusts the media:

(With thanks to my friend Megan, for tirelessly posting examples to Facebook.)

Please, don’t pull a lugubrious face and brush these fears under the rug. If you are calling for unity, you need to be part of that unity by speaking out against those who are saying things that suggest that the United States is a country just for white men or that men can treat women however they please. If you do not say anything, you are complicit. Your silence is support and agreement. It reflects on your character and your values. People are watching. Show up. Please.

Speak up if Trump tries to silence the press. Speak up if you see someone threatening another person. Speak up if you hear someone say something shitty, hateful, sexist, or racist, or otherwise bigoted. Set a better tone. Wear a safetypin. Be a good example. Please.

See Also: To My Friends and Family Who Voted for Donald Trump

Messages New Yorkers Left on the Walls of the Subway after the Election

A Bystander’s Guide to Standing Up Against Islamaphobic Harassment

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I saw this on Facebook via my friend Stephanie, who shared from Instagram. I’ve seen it many times since, but no one can seem to figure out who posted first. Thanks, whoever you are.

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