It is time for the country to heal, time for us come together. Or so people have been telling me since last week when democracy laid the biggest egg in American history. Well, here is my response: I have no interest in seeing this country heal. And I refuse to come together.
Understand: If this were just about politics, I’d never say something like that. No, I’d do what you’re supposed to when the candidate you favored is defeated. Suck it up. But my anger is not about any given policy of the new president. No, it is about him, about the election of a fundamentally unsound, unserious and unfit man, a misogynist who brags about sexual assault, a bigot cheered to victory by the Ku Klux Klan. I have no idea how to “heal” woman hating and no desire to “come together” with the Klan.
I am similarly impatient with those who say we must give the new president a chance to lead and hope for his success. Is that what Republicans did for Barack Obama when they gathered on the night of his inauguration and plotted a conspiracy of obstructionism to cripple his presidency? Is it what Donald Trump did when he spent years questioning the veracity of an ordinary birth certificate?
More to the point, the call to let Trump lead and hope for his success fails to address obvious questions: Where is he leading us? How are we defining success? Should we applaud even if he “leads” us into another unnecessary Middle East conflagration? Are we expected to be happy if his “success” comes in criminalizing abortion?
Frankly, I won’t cheer him even if he is not a disaster. In the unlikely event the man who considers global warming a Chinese hoax took action to stem that threat, I’d be happy, yes. On the improbable chance the man who swore to repeal the Affordable Care Act crafted something better, I would be glad, sure. But at the end of the day, the man who did those things would still be a misogynist and a bigot.
Forgive me — or don’t; I really don’t care — if that remains a deal breaker for me. I refuse to participate in this process of organized amnesia, to cooperate in normalizing a man who stands for everything America should not.
So what now? Well, now those of us who feel the same way must make it a priority to get off our assets and vote in 2018. And in the meantime, resist.
Sunday evening on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver offered a list of organizations that defend the causes and peoples that will be most threatened in the coming Reich and suggested you volunteer them your time and money. I think that’s a great idea, so I pass his list on to you:
Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org); The Center For Reproductive Rights (reproductiverights.org); the Natural Resources Defense Council (nrdc.org); the International Refugee Assistance Project (refugeerights.org), the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (naacpldf.org); the Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth (thetrevorproject.org) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (maldef.org). I’d also add The Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org) and the American Civil Liberties Union (aclu.org).
It’s time the majority that believes in a progressive, inclusive and compassionate America did more than just tweet about it. Nothing wrong with tweeting, but forces of exclusion, hatred and rage have overtaken the highest office in the land, so it’s also time for some old school activism. Time to march. Time to assail lawmakers. Time to boycott. Time to stand and be counted. Enough is enough.
Let’s take our country back.
Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.