I woke up the morning of November 9th in a haze created by a combination of disappointment and too much Pinot Grigio. I instantly started searching the internet for an apartment in Thailand. I’m a nomad. I can do that. I was heartbroken and just wanted to leave.
This isn’t about being a sore loser. This is about being scared for basic human rights because the next Vice President of the United States of America honestly believes you can make a young gay man straight if you electrocute him enough times. You would think by this point someone would have taken Mike Pence aside and explained to him that is not how gay or sexuality in general works.
Trump like many leaders who went on to do terrible things came to power by playing on fears and convincing people others were to blame for their problems. I lived in Rwanda for a short time 20 years after a brutal genocide took place there. The Hutus were convinced that the Tutsis were to blame for their lack of jobs and overall economic growth. The local radio stations blasted this message over and over. Leaders reinforced it. Hate ran deep and when the order was given Hutus took to the streets and murdered millions of Tutsis. In some cases, a Hutu person even killed their Tutsis husband or wife. That is how easily and quickly hate can spread. Rwandans are still working tirelessly to heal from the events of 1994.
Every time I hear angry people insisting the Mexicans have stolen their jobs it is terrifying. Because it makes me think of the woman about my age I worked with in Rwanda. She has a giant scar that takes up the entire right side of her face. In 1994 someone tried to murder her with a machete. Media reports and government leaders played to others fears and placed blame for their problems on her. She would have been around 14 at the time.
I also had a very important realization about why Trump won. There is a certain part of the population voted for Trump because they feel disenfranchised. And I have been completely unsympathetic to those peoples point of view. You were shouting, make America Great Again. I responded with, the unemployment rate is 4.9% and we have seen steady positive growth. What’s your problem?
You see others making progress and you feel that you are being left behind. I get it. You’re desperately searching for financial security and your piece of the pie. But fostering hate for others is never going to change anything. Any Rwandan will tell you that you have been lead down the wrong and dangerous path.
As I weighed my apartment options and contemplated what life in Thailand will be like, I had a sudden change of heart. I decided I’m not fucking going anywhere. I am a citizen of the United States of America and I will not be scared off (ok I might spend a few months there just because it sounds nice).
Because Trump has said some very dangerous things and Pence wants to shock gay people into being straight. We have a lot of work to do. We cannot let hate take over.
So let me tell you how this is going to play out. I spent a considerable amount of time in Florida this year. I am however a Minnesota (blue state) resident. That is where I am registered to and did vote absentee. By 2020 I will be a Florida (swing state) resident. This kills two birds with one stone. Floridians don’t pay state income tax (and avoiding paying taxes at all cost makes you smart, the President-Elect told me so). Also, I will be registered to vote in a swing state.
I’m not going to stop there. I will take the entire month of October 2020 off of work if I have to and knock on every door in Florida on behalf of whoever the democratic nominee is. And guess what? I can be very persuasive. I am not going to let America go down like this. Donald Trump, I’m your problem now.
For more information on the Rwandan Genocide, I recommend Left to Tell IMMACULÉE ILIBAGIZA and Shake Hands with the Devil by General Roméo Dallaire.