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When they go low…

November 12, 2016

I was in 8th grade (military school) when I first noticed that I was different. That something was just a little off. Not in a bad way, just in general. I had found myself in the middle of two different grade school crushes. One was a girl over in Alpha Company. Her name was Rochelle and she had the most amazing set of eyes I had ever seen. The second was my Company Commander Jeremy. One night, after making the rather unfortunate decision to confide in someone I thought had my back, four kids came into my room after lights out. They held me down while the “leader” of the group yanked my shorts down and shoved a knitting needle inside me. As they left, one of them called me a faggot and punched me in the face. From that moment until this second, I swore I’d never make mention of being bi ever again. Sure, a few people knew, people that I trusted beyond understanding, but my family…the majority of my friends…never knew.

Now, I understand there may be some question as to why I’m bringing this up now. The reason is simple. For years I’ve watched my LGBT brothers and sisters deal with harassment and physical abuse while I sat behind my mask of cowardice. Always speaking up just enough to have my voice heard, but not enough to draw attention to myself. I watched as a friend was disowned by her own family. I wanted desperately to confide..to let her know why I understood her pain. Then I’d think of that night at military school. The shame and guilt would creep in, and I would bite my tongue.

On Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning, the 2016 Presidential election came to a close. It was an election that thrived on hatred and ignorance (on both sides). I’ve seen the stories over the last 72 hours. I saw the guy who was hit in the face with a bottle after leaving a gay bar. I’ve seen the graffiti and the notes reminding gay couples that their time of wedded bliss is at an end. There comes a time when even the thorniest crown of shame is not enough to keep one silent. I’ve made mistakes and turned my back on people that needed support. I hid in the shadows of cowardice and convinced myself that if I tried hard enough, I could justify it. Those days are over.

As much as many want to lay it solely at his feet, this isn’t exclusively a Trump issue. It existed long before he took his show on the road. That being said, this election emboldened the worst this country has to offer. They no longer take subtle shots or move in the cover of darkness. They have owned their hatred 100% and they no longer hide it. Now, before you get me wrong here, I am not putting this solely on Trump supporters. There are a lot of good people that voted for Trump out of frustration born from a system that has failed us all time and time again. No, these are people that were evil long before Mr. Trump arrived. The only difference, is that his success gave them validation. The same can be said for a certain sect of Hillary supporters as well. This isn’t a political party issue (though the lines are often blurred) this is an issue of human decency, or a lack of.

Michelle Obama said a few weeks ago “When they go low, we go high.” A few weeks ago, that might have been sound advice, but the landscape has changed since that day. There is a palpable anger in the air now and everyone is looking for someone else to blame. Be it African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, LGBT’s, Democrats, or Republicans. Hatred is not going to be what helps us move forward from this, but neither is the tolerance of it. Fundamentalism is a very dangerous thing, regardless of whether it’s political, religious, or societal. Allowing it to breed at the speed it is currently at, is in the best interest of no one.

The time for silence is over. The time of selfish cowardice is over. We can not stand by and watch as the fringe elements of our society light their match and do their best to torch the very things that make this country great. Difference of opinion is a sacred thing here. It allows for productive and civil discussions on ways to make this country and our society better for everyone. Hatred and violence, on the other hand, is not. So when the fringe goes low, we can’t excuse it, and we can’t allow it.

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One Comment
  1. Buildthewall16 permalink

    You liberal fags are all the same. When are you going to suck it up and realize YOU LOST! GET OVER IT SNOWFLAKE!!!

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