Those words was the text message I received from my mom today, and the conversation devolved from there.
I glance at the text while standing in a crowd of like-minded people showing their support for women’s rights. Balls of ice fall in torrents as I try to seek cover under a neighboring umbrella.
I send her a picture of the gathering and try to pay attention to what is going on. I see signs that read “Trump likes Nickelback” and “Hands off our pussy” and “You can’t overcomb bigotry”. When the many signs in Spanish cross my field of vision, I ask a friend to help me decipher the one or two unknown words that escape me.
I glance down at my phone again and brush off the ill-flavored Dip’n’Dots raining from the sky.
Her: Demonstration against trump?
Me: Women’s March on Washington in ABQ
Eventually, my friend and I can no longer feel our toes, and after nearly two hours, it is time to go. I take the offered ride and we talk about work and politics and things. It was a nice experience, and we both have things to get done. I have a stack of mail and bills on my counter I have been ignoring, for one.
I plop down on my bed and check my phone again.
Her: What will it do..
I really don’t know how I want to respond, but her question annoys me. I try to play a round of Clash Royale, but it doesn’t help. Things are about to go sour, and I know it.
Me: It is the largest mass protest for an incoming president. Who knows what it will do? But, if the rhetoric and deceit of the Tea Party and its ilk lead to the election the current president, there is hope in truth and facts and in gatherings so voices can be heard. With the new president, I am deeply ashamed to be an American. I can either cower in fear or do everything I can do oppose bigotry, hatred, and oppression.
Her: I will always be proud to be an American. And only ashamed of the idiots. There are many out there. I saw a video of people demonstrating breaking huge glass walls even at Starbucks. I think starbucks made big financial donations to Hilary. None of that helps.. it just shows more idiots.
Me: I was and am proud of our last president. He did a lot of work to protect the lives of all Americans. I sincerely hope that he won’t be this country’s last president.
Instead of receiving another written message from her, I receive a meme I can only describe as racist. It is from a conservative blogger’s website and shows a smoky picture of five young African Americans riding in and on a car decorated with words displaying messages about justice and freedom and racism. The caption reads: CLAIMS TRUMP WILL DESTROY AMERICA AS THEY GO OUT AND ACTUALLY DESTROY AMERICA. I’m highly bothered with the picture because I honestly don’t understand. Is the picture from a riot? Sure there is smoke, but couldn’t that be steam rising from under the street? I lack the investigative photo skills of the Catfish hosts, so I have no idea where the picture was taken or what is is from. But, here is what I do know, a riot does not destroy America. Laws, lies, and bigotry does. Unfortunately, I continue to take the bait and respond.
Me: I can easily find you a similar picture of an angry white mob doing the same thing. What’s the point? The president delegitimizes actual news and truth in favor of sensationalizing and legitimizing fringe organizations as factual. He refuses to release his financial documents which has not been done in modern times. And, when the intelligence community produced evidence of Russia influencing the election, he downplayed or ignored it. He has so many conflicts of interests that it really is just pathetic. On top of all that, he brags about sexually assaulting women. I really have never respected anyone less. He won because of his racist rhetoric and false information. The fact that you are even attempting to provide an argument is a disappointment. Enjoy your ignorance. I will fight back.
Her: I think everyone should fight together for America!
Me: See, the thing is, with Trump, America isn’t for everyone.
Her: That doesn’t make sense
Me: Really? Are you that naive?
Her: With trump America is not for everyone.. well when Obama was president half the people didn’t like him either.
Me: Besides the fact that what you are saying is not true, considering that Obama’s approval ratings is one of the highest in modern history, do you hear what you are saying? You just said everyone should fight for America. Now, “with trump America is not for everyone”. Which is it? And if, it is the second, are you proud to be a part of that America? I thought America was a melting pot of all cultures? Home of the brave? Land of the free? What freedoms did we lose under Obama? Because I can easily rattle off the freedoms already under attack with the new president. Do you know that in the first day he took office every reference to LGBT rights and Women’s rights was removed from the White House website?
Her: I think we should all pull and support America regardless who is the president
Me: And as you said, Trump’s America isn’t for everyone. It is not for me, a transgender woman. It isn’t for my students, immigrants. It isn’t for many of my friends, non-Christian or non-white or women. The thing about America and life that I truly have begun to cherish is that sometimes, sometimes you are right and the other side is wrong. And, when laws are enacted and hatred is faced, you stand strong for what you believe in. When everything looks scary and frightening and you feel insurmountable pressure to yield and give in, you look bigotry and hatred in the face and say, “No, you move.”
That ends the discussion. I am left feeling, just, disappointed. My mom and I are on completely different sides of a completely different coin. I will never be okay with or understand how anyone can be okay with the results of this past presidential election. She asks one final question.
Her: So what r u going to do.?
Me: Get involved. I joined the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign. I sign petitions. I blog. I go to rallies. I contact my elected officials. And, that is what I have already done since the election.
Was this conversation worth it? Did I get through to her? Or, is it just another waste of time?