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The Fine Line Between Fear and Hope

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Areala

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I've needed to write this since Wednesday morning, but I haven't been in the proper emotional state of mind to do so. I still might not be, and if that's the case, I beg your forgiveness but also your indulgence. Yes, this is political. No, I don't want to stir shit up. Yes, I want your comments. No, I won't delete dissenting viewpoints. Emotion ultimately fuels everything we do, but too much emotion can be as damaging to the body as overfilling the gas tank is to your vehicle. It's taken days to siphon off the excess of what I've felt since that first sinking feeling Tuesday night that Donald Trump would win the White House. Here's what's left: I'm hopeful, and I'm scared. Let's talk about fear.

 

For those of you who don't know, I'm a white, college-educated, college-town-dwelling lesbian from Indiana. Two years ago in 2014, my state declared same-sex couples had the right to marry. One year ago, the Supreme Court agreed and told the GLBT community to make with the festivities. And while I have only been married to my wife for a little over two years, I first met her in 1995, we began dating in 1996, and came out as a couple to our parents in 1997. This past October I turned forty, which means we've been together for half my life. She is my life. I would give up anything else, including my own life, before I would give her up.

 

But even in a reasonably-liberal college town, we've not been unscathed by bigotry's claws. I've been harassed on the street by people I don't even know, who don't know me, only that I'm holding hands with another woman. A decade ago, my car was vandalized: tires slashed, windows broken, the word 'Dykes' spray-painted across the hood. In 2003, my immediate supervisor was fired by the owner of the bookstore where I work because of discriminatory harassment based on my sexuality. Despite this, I was not raised to be a victim. Chances are, unless you're a very close friend, you don't know about these things because I had those fights, I dealt with them, I moved on, and chose not to dwell on them.

 

I have to dwell on them now, because I'm not at all sure when I'll have to have those fights again now that Republicans control the Executive, Legislative, and before long, the Supreme Court. I worry because of this:

 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2802

 

That's the "First Amendment Defense Act", a bill introduced to the House of Representatives by a conservative Republican from Idaho in June of 2015. Its sole purpose is to promote discrimination under a banner of religious freedom, by forbidding the government from taking punitive action against any individual who believes that "marriage" is anything other than one man and one woman, or that sexual activity should be confined to heterosexual married couples only, and use that belief to deny services or any other benefit as long as those beliefs are "sincerely held" (as if there's any such thing as a litmus test for 'sincerity' when it comes to issues of law). Furthermore, it provides legal cover for those who choose to discriminate in this way regardless of the consequences to those facing the discrimination. I guess my sincerely held belief that public businesses and services should be open and accommodating to all isn't worth legal protection.

 

FADA currently has 172 co-sponsors. The sister bill in the Senate, introduced on the same day by a Republican Senator from Utah, has 37 co-sponsors. Both bills have been referred to separate committees and have seen no further action in over a year. That's the good news.

 

The bad news is Donald Trump has promised to sign FADA into law as soon as it crosses his desk, which means I will have no recourse or access to justice or equality if someone decides their personal religious beliefs overrule my basic humanity. This is not preserving religious freedom, it is giving aid and comfort to those who actively seek to hurt and debase others. Is this a United States of America any of us want? Add at least one, and possibly as many as four, Supreme Court nominations for the new administration, and there's a real chance people like the ones who introduced and co-sponsored these bills will go all-out in rolling back the rights of people like me. I could very well go to bed married and wake up to discover my marriage has been dissolved or rendered legally invalid for the purpose of all the rights it grants us, ranging from the ability to make medical care choices for the other in case one of us is disabled, automatic property transferal in the event of a death, legal exemption from the compulsion to testify against one another in court, to the simple matter of filing our taxes as 'Married, Filing Jointly' instead of 'Single', in all fifty states. (News flash to people who hate gay marriage: you've heard of the 'marriage penalty', right? Yeah, getting married if you don't have kids makes your tax burden go up. Splitting up our marriage means we pay less in taxes, so if you really want to stick it to us, leave our marital rights alone so we can continue our increasing financial support of our public schools.) This is terrifying, and we don't even have children to throw into the mix to complicate things further.

 

That's why I'm afraid.

 

But there's another word in the title for this blog post, and that word is Hope.

 

I derive that hope from the knowledge that Millennials now outnumber Boomers, and on a whole are far more accepting of those who aren't exactly like them.

 

I derive that hope from the fact that, in 2001, public opinion against same-sex marriage in the US stood at 57%. Today, fifteen years later, opposition to same-sex marriage sits at 35%. Even among Republicans, support has been growing slowly since 2012.

 

I derive hope from the fact that, in the two years since Jessica and I signed our marriage license in the county clerk's office, we've not faced a single problem of discrimination related to our status as a married couple.

 

I derive hope from the friends who are already writing letters to their representatives and senators, reminding them that the will of the people doesn't involve hatred of those who aren't exactly alike.

 

Most of all, I derive hope that Donald Trump did not mean all the things he said and promised, that he will take a more moderate stance, that the man we elected turns out to be more like the Donald Trump who wrote this book in 2000, the registered Democrat, the guy who appeared on Oprah back in 1988 calm, collected, and all business, throwing out reasonable ideas and suggestions for how things might be done differently.

 

Right now, it's too early to tell. January 20th is still two months away. I wish that hope was all I had. But fear's right there too, gnawing on my insides. I'm terrified of seeing what I've fought to have for so long taken away. I'm terrified for my wife, who is not a fighter, who doesn't get political, who just wants to live her life, and who has no idea how to confront bigotry head-on without breaking down. It's easy for people like her to lose hope...and I'm afraid I don't have enough in my own reserves to keep both of us going if the worst comes to pass.

 

So that's that. I'm afraid, I'm hopeful, and I know only one of those two can win. I need all of my friends now more than ever. Please don't turn your back on me.

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Donald Trump wants conditions on the First Amendment Defense Act.  It is not reported on by mainstream media which I think is in many ways responsible for all this chaos and panic.  I read about this first at The Washington Blade.


 


He said,  “Protection of the nation and its citizens must come first. Getting the economy back on track must be near the top of the list. Preserving and protecting the rights of our citizens must also be in the mix.”


 


He also said, “that he would not veto the legislation, but he would not commit to passing it,”


 


http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/12/23/trump-gives-conditional-support-for-religious-freedom-bill/


 


This may not be the most satisfactory answer at the moment but the man has been unjustly demonized by a multi billion dollar smear campaign from the Clinton's, their special interest donors, every media firm and even by the hands of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


 


Trump won the primaries against all the Conservative Republicans because he is fiscally Conservative as well as an Americanist.  He was born Christian, he has faith of a higher power but he obviously lived a most liberal lifestyle and this is a well known fact.


 


From what I have gathered about Trump, he is going to be a law and order President.  The types of hate crimes you and you're family have experienced will not be tolerated under a Trump Administration.  Any and all hate groups will not be tolerated in America.  Any religious freedoms will not infringe on any person's decency or civil liberties.


 


I hope that Trump can bring America together again to be peaceful, productive and equal for those wiling to work for it.


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"I hope that Trump can bring America together again to be peaceful, productive and equal for those willing to work for it."

 

That's another hope worth clinging to, Jake. Thank you very much for adding your perspective.

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I'm hopefully optimistic that it will prove more difficult than it's worth to sign into law anything that takes away rights that have already been given.  Getting those rights in the first place has been a long battle for many people, and once gained, taking them away again would be indefensibly cruel and hateful.  While some people out there are quite comfortable basing their lives on an agenda of hate, I like to think that any attempt to sign such an agenda into law would rally so much sympathy and support as to make it untenable.  But I could be being naive.

 

I, too, hope that Trump dispenses a different kind of leadership than the one he promised in his campaign.  Hell, so do some of the people who voted for him.  "He didn't mean it, it was just to get votes."  Well, we can hope so, at least.  I think we take all politicians' promises with something of a grain of salt.  But it's interesting how we usually respond to politicians' grandiose promises by saying "Yeah, that would be nice, but it'll probably never happen/never make it past Congress," whereas now some people are saying "Don't worry - he didn't mean anything he promised, he's gonna do all kinds of awesome stuff, he just never talked about it."  As if every time he opened his mouth during the campaign, people just tuned it out and imagined what they wished he was saying instead (and wished so hard they actually believed it.)

 

Still, however he handles the actual presidency, it won't mollify the damage his rhetoric has caused and is continuing to cause as his impending ascendancy to power foments those baser feelings of hatred and fear amongst the extreme left of his constituency who are emboldened to be more open with projecting their fears and prejudices in harmful ways upon innocent people.

 

However, I think you'll find that your friends are going to be there for you in stronger force than ever before.  It's sometimes all too easy for those of us living lives relatively free from discrimination to overlook the plight of others less privileged.  But if Trump's rhetoric has fanned the flames of prejudice, it has also elevated our awareness of it, and there will be a stronger outpouring of support for those hurt or disenfranchised by that prejudice than we would have seen "pre-Trump."  So no matter how things turn out, never let them take your hope, and those of us at your back will do what we can to alleviate the fear.

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I'm hopefully optimistic that it will prove more difficult than it's worth to sign into law anything that takes away rights that have already been given."

 

Last night after my first response ABC news had an interview with Donald and asked if he will overturn the supreme courts decision and Donald said " he's fine with same sex marriage as the law of the land, calling the issue settled by the Supreme Court."

 

I support Trump putting a stop to Syrian refugees until they can be vetted.  Obama's FBI even made a statement that they can't vet them because they have no documentation and they cannot prove where there coming from.

 

I support the United States enforcing the laws they already have regarding illegal immigration.  The US is the only country in the world which allows anyone to come to the US without a passport and claim residence, jobs, health care, social assistance and even vote.  Japan received a record 7,586 applications for refugee status in 2015, but only 27 were granted.

 

The US wants to bring in somewhere of around 30,000 refugees and Canada is taking 10,000.

 

 

Hillary Clinton talked about building a wall in 2007 but Obama's campaigning skills made it sound like a bad idea so instead they have farmer fence along the border.  Mexicans are known for their mechanical aptitude and they have no problem cutting the fence.

 

Donald never ever said he was going to round up immigrants or break up families.

He did say that if an illegal does break the law, he will be deported.  Jailed upon re-entry.

Donald did say he was going to stop funding for sanctuary cities.

This is what is steaming on the table right now. 

In my opinion Chicago should be labeled a war zone because it has more murder than in Syria.

 

Border patrol doesn't work because they only ever catch one in a million.  Besides putting up this chicken shit fence and hiring 1000 border gaurds, they should build some other type of barrier in my opinion.

 

I welcome suggestions.

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I have done some of my own research of the evangelical protestants in the "bible belt" and realized that I may underestimate the ignorance towards differing beliefs.  To say the least that may seem a little naive but I got to thinking how in the town I live in we used to have a protestant problem in the early 20th century.  They were purged from this area and ended up in you're neck of the woods.

 

I was listening to a preacher today talk about protester's outside his church calling him every name in the book against Republicans, you know.  Nicest guy in the world, definitely not racist or sexist or violent but he did cling to a couple of controversial beliefs.  One of which is abortion and the other being marriage being held by a man and a women.

 

I feel as though these evangelists feel more virtuous than even the pope because he has openly accepted same sex marriage.  

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