U.S. Senator Harry Reid wrote an essay about newly elected President Donald Trump this week. Here is what Reid said:
“I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.
“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear—especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.
“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.
“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.
“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.
“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.
“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”
What struck a note with me is how Trump seemed to connect with the LGBT community well before his presidency campaign. Today Trump chose Mike Pense, perhaps one of the most anti-LGBTQ evangelical Christian political crusaders to serve in Congress and as governor of a state. Then there is Ben Carson, who compared homosexuality to pedophilia and incest, is a vice chairman of the transition team and so is Newt Gingrich, who has attacked what he called gay fascism around LGBT rights. Reid is perhaps reminding America a great history lesson on what is to become possibly. After all, Ronald Reagan had many gay friends and came out against an anti-gay state initiative while he was governor of California before becoming President. But once Reagan became president all that changed not with Reagan, but with those in Reagans circle.
It will be tough to roll back many issues such as same-sex marriage and gays serving in the military. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided much of those laws. But Obamacare non-discrimination provision that includes gender identity and sexual orientation could change affecting many transgendered people. Perhaps the division of our nation will foster a carte blanche attitude to remove our politically correct filters a return to certain hate speech such a faggot, dyke, tranny, queer and so on. I must remember that words don’t hurt me but guns, violence and discriminatory legislation will. Members of the LGBT community are acutely aware that bigotry and homophobia are filled with dishonesty, deception, and predatory games. Ideology like Pense, Carson, and Gingrich provides latitude for judicial prejudice, police, and citizens hell bent on discrimination to continue.
I no longer fear being locked away for being a member of the LGBT community. I figured out long ago that free speech in America also protects dishonesty, deception, and predatory practices within homophobia. Americans desire to separate church and state but embrace religion all while excluding a commandment of “Thou shalt not covet.” When the United Kingdom, Germany, France and New Zealand issues a warning to its citizens traveling to the United States about homophobic behavior, then I know our nation is far behind and out of touch with the rest of the industrialized world. While I have a love for my country, I also have a concern that we are no longer global leaders of liberty and freedom. Our political ideals are no longer Democrat or Republican. Today we seem to be an a la carte society filled with particular vigilante behaviors and unfiltered choices.
I have watched eight years of Obama and witnessed the LGBT community thrive and challenge America to connect and catch up to the rest of the world. But America had a divided change of heart. Like any good roller coaster ride eventually, the ride gets old only to be torn down and replaced with a new rollercoaster. This time I will have to keep my hands and feet in the ride once in motion and pray I nor others get hurt along the way.
“President-Elect Trump, you pledge to Make America Great Again. As an American, Democrat and Army veteran I don’t want to be excluded, sidelined, or have to pretend to be somone else in order to participate in that plan. My hope is that you will count me in.”