Once Trump actually became president, he called white supremacists “very fine people,” locked children in cages and systematically sought to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, disregarding the millions of Americans who would be left without access to health care if he were successful.
Over the past four years, I’ve lived in fear as Trumpism has taken over the country. In counties where Trump held campaign rallies, hate crimes increased a shocking 226%, showing that this rhetoric has real consequences for marginalized groups. Nearly everyone in America who is not a natural-born white, Christian heterosexual male in relatively good health has been targeted by the policies of the Trump administration.
But almost immediately, we began to hear calls to reach out to Trump supporters to mend fences. Pop star Katy Perry encouraged fans to follow her lead and tell family members who voted for Trump that they are “here for them.” Political scientist Ian Bremmer encouraged Biden voters to reach out to Trump supporters to show empathy.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who compared same-sex marriage to bestiailty while holding office, urged Biden supporters to give Trump and his voters “space” to work through their feelings. These suggestions enraged me.
These calls for unity come from a place of privilege, and they’re coming from mostly straight, white, cisgender people who are financially secure. They may not have liked some of Trump’s policies, but they were not actively harmed by them. They likely never feared for their safety or well-being in Trump’s America.
Before any attempt at “unity” can be made, there needs to be a reckoning, an acknowledgment that so many of Trump’s actions have been unconscionable and do not align with societal ideals that claim to value all life.
Building bridges with people who share Trump’s views sends a clear message that you are willing to keep the peace at the expense of the dignity and well-being of those with less power and privilege. read more