November 9th, 2016

Today, my heart breaks for the 96+ year-old women, born before they had the right to vote, who cast their ballots for a woman who they thought would finally break through the highest and hardest glass ceiling. My heart breaks for the young girls who could not yet vote, but looked forward to Hillary’s presidency, eyes wide with inspiration for their own dreams, only to see half the country slam the door in her face in favor of a man wholly unqualified for the job. My heart breaks for [underrepresented groups] who feel the “whitelash” of this country’s reaction to our first Black president, and for the LGBTQA+ community who feels threatened by our new Vice President’s promotion of conversion therapy.

Donald Trump ran on hate. Hillary Clinton ran on unity. Yesterday, hate rose to the White House, to the highest office in the world, but hate will not prevail. Because hate can never fully win when there are people willing to fight against it, and rise above it. Hate did not win the popular vote.

And if you don’t think that Donald Trump ran on a campaign of hate, talk to women, members of the LGBTQA+ community, to Latino, Black, Muslim, and Undocumented people. Listen to them and their stories. Then listen to the hate-filled words of people celebrating Trump’s win. Listen to the cheers of the KKK. Then you might understand.

Now, fellow white people, looking at the breakdown of voters, white Americans decided this election. White men AND white women. Allies of marginalized groups have to recognize this and step up. Recognize that this outcome won’t affect us as much as it will our friends. Use your privileges to amplify the voices of others who are too often dismissed and ignored.

If you aren’t concerned, remember that the Republicans who endorsed Trump, and made him their candidate, control Congress. Remember that it is the sole responsibility of the president to nominate justices of the Supreme Court. Remember that Trump repeatedly asked if we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them? And that his campaign staff did not trust him with his own Twitter account. Remember that he chastised and banned journalists with whom he disagreed, and denied saying things that were on tape and heard around the world.

For those who may say, “He’s our President, we have to respect him,” I say no. (A lot of those same people said about Obama, “He’s not my president.”) I will recognize that Donald Trump is the President of the United States, but I will never respect him. This isn’t partisan politics. Donald Trump is not Mitt Romney, or George W. Bush. I don’t align with Republican politics, but I also don’t think a normal Republican candidate would put our entire democracy at risk.

I will not normalize Donald Trump’s presidency.

So what do we do now? We organize. We support each other. We keep fighting to move this country forward for our future and the future of the next generation.

We do not throw up our hands in defeat.

We do not become complacent.

We do not let hate win.

Today, cry, hug a friend, and pet a dog, but tomorrow, get up and keep fighting for what is right. Let the sadness and anger morph into a fiery resolve to never give up that fight, because it’s something worth fighting for.

***

Not to minimize any of this by turning to fiction, but I am reminded of this quote from the Harry Potter series:

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” – Albus Dumbledore

From Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will—hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”

And finally, from President Obama:

“You have to stay encouraged. Don’t get cynical. Don’t ever think you can’t make a difference.”

Update: changed “minorities” to “underrepresented groups”

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America, We Need to Talk

We need to talk about the future of our country. We need to talk about how far we’ve come. And we need to talk about Donald Trump.

I want to preface this by saying that I have closely followed both the Republican and Democratic primaries and watched both conventions in full.

Let’s start with Donald Trump.

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Melania Trump Sure Sounds Like 2008 Michelle Obama

Melania Trump took the stage on the first night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday, July 18th.

As the Republican crowd cheered, they did not know that they were really cheering for the words Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

That is pure plagiarism.

While Melania Trump most likely did not write the speech, the speechwriter clearly lifted it directly from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address.

UPDATE:
7/18, 10:03pm: Prior to her speech, Melania Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer, “I wrote [the speech]…with [as] little help as possible.”

UPDATE:
7/19, 2:32pm:
Trump speechwriter, Paul Manafort responds to the plagiarism claims:

Dear Paul Ryan

On June 8 at 5:30am, I sent a letter to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, to express my disappointment at his continued support of Donald Trump, even after his acknowledgement that the presumptive Republican nominee made “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”

The full letter is below.

Dear Speaker Ryan:

I don’t understand how you can classify Donald Trump’s attack on the Mexican heritage of a federal judge as “the textbook definition of a racist comment” and then continue to support him as your party’s nominee. I understand that you’re under a lot of pressure to unify your party, but this is not the way to do it. By continuing to support Trump, you automatically condone his behavior, despite your attempt to disavow what he said. You are asking the Republican Party to unite behind a racist nominee. Any policies that you may try to put forward under his leadership would be overshadowed by his hatred and incompetence.

Speaker Ryan, you are not the leader of my party, but you are a leader in my government. This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans anymore. This is about the future of the UNITED States of America, and Donald Trump has no part in deciding that future. I think you know that, too.

As an American, I urge you to revoke your endorsement of Donald Trump. Prove to the American people that the Republican Party is not complacent to his racist comments. Find a different option, a true Republican option, because Trump puts you to shame.

Sincerely,

Jordan Bierbower, 21, (D) California