I’ve never been shy about sharing my opinions on anything, don’t get me wrong, including politics. But I was by no means an activist. And, I’m a little ashamed to admit, I subscribed to some mainstream beliefs that activism was for extreme liberals, trying to change things that were basically “okay.” I didn’t, NOT support activism, I just was a passive bystander, grateful that someone else was out there doing the work. I’d support here, and there. I’d post about election stuff when it got too blatant to stand silently, but I didn’t take it THAT seriously.
I NEVER in a million years thought he would become the President of the United States, and so… I, like many liberals I know, stood by, not taking the whole thing too seriously. We voted. We even encouraged people to vote and posted pics of our “I voted” sticker. We might of told people who we voted for (Hillary obviously). We felt we’d done our part. And to our defense this might have flown in every other election of our life time.
But then we watched, with our jaws on the floor, as the unthinkable happened.
When it did, I went into mourning. Because it was news to me that I lived in a bubble. I did not know this about my country, my state, or my beliefs. I had taken for granted that I lived in a free democracy, where free speech was celebrated. Where diversity (for the most part) is not just accepted, but also celebrated. Where freedom of religion is not a privilege but a RIGHT. Where “normal” is my kids attending an extremely diverse school, where they learn Spanish and play with kids from all backgrounds and walks of life. This is the America that I’d always believed I lived in. These are the values that I’ve not passively instilled in my children, but ACTIVELY exposed and immersed them in.
And so, on November 8th, my “normal” was shattered.
I began to speak out, to share my outrage and disappointment on social media, and then I saw the underside of that bubble, rise to the top. I began getting hate messages, hate comments, people coming out of the woodwork to prove I had indeed been living in an alternate reality.
But then the holidays came, and Obama was still in charge and I got comfortable again, thinking maybe all those horrible threats that Trump ran his campaign on, was just that, a threat. I secretly hoped and prayed that were true.
On Jan 20th I kept my son home from school and together we watched the inauguration in stunned silence. I obviously wasn’t around in the 1930’s when Hitler came to power, but I can only imagine his speeches started out the way the new President’s did. Nationalistic, fully of supremacy. Last week saw executive orders, statements and actions that enforced; supremacy, racism, degradation of women and minorities, pushing of religions beliefs, stopped funding for numerous agencies, abortion rights threatened, hostility towards other countries, silencing the press.…It was all there last week. It is no longer a “what if” scenario, its an hour by hour, changing reality. I watched stunned as everything I believe in, everything I value, became a target. I was, and am in shock. I cannot believe that this great country, the one founded on the belief of “liberty and justice for all” has become a dictatorship overnight.
But then I realized that being afraid (which I am), is exactly where he wants us to be. If he can discredit the media (which he has), then people will begin to listen only to him (which many are), and that is how a dictator controls his subjects. So I won’t be afraid to stand up and speak out any more. I will be vocal in my resistance.
As a result I know I’ll lose many of you (and already have), and for that I can say this:
- 1. I love you. I’ve appreciated you standing by me all these years and my love for you will remain even if now you cannot continue to support me.
- 2. I must speak my truth and stand up for what I believe, whether it’s popular or not.
I guess that makes me an activist.
So if you too, have been watching these past few weeks in shock, but have not spoken up yet, or haven’t taken action, I urge you to take a stand and support the values this country was based on. If we don’t, soon it will be too late. We cannot teach our children to stand up to bullies and then backdown when we are faced with the greatest bully of them all. We MUST act. It’s not an option anymore. This is no longer a time for just “activists,” it’s a time for you and I to stand and resist this hostile takeover of our country.
I take responsibility for my part in what got us to this point, because I was NOT active before. I was passive. I was cozy in my own little world which I assumed nothing could challenge. We’ll everything has changed now, my world has been challenged as has yours. As Dan Rather said this week; “These are not normal times. These are extraordinary times, and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.”
This week so much changed. If you don’t know what those changes are, PLEASE do some research, your country is different this week then it was before Jan 20th. Your rights have changed. Things you have depended on, do not have funding anymore. Agencies who you thought were transparent, have been given media gag orders. Other countries have taken strong stances against Trump and by extension America (aka YOU). Things are different now, this is not a drill. And I urge you to become informed and speak out.
I’ll be posting action items on my Facebook page feel free to share any that you come across with me there as well.
And lastly… We are all immigrants. Unless you are 100% Native American, your ancestors came to this country from some other place, which makes YOU, and I immigrants. I myself am the great-granddaughter of an amazing couple who came to America from Italy, to give their children the “American Dream.” We now have an immigrant, as a First Lady. This country was founded, and built on being a safe haven for people to pursue happiness freely. So the attack on immigrants through the #MuslimBan (which went into affect on Friday), is an attack on us all, and on the values that make America the land of the free. If we all knew what nationalities made us who we are, who would have the audacity to hate?
“Today, I shed a tear for the country I know and love, the one that still beats in the heart of most of it’s citizens. Today, in the wake of his (Trump’s) one-man decision to wreck and reverse immigration policy so suddenly, there is chaos and confusion mixed with heartbreak and fear.” –Dan Rather
Please join me and DO SOMETHING.
Here’s what we can do NOW
Follow Valarie Kaur on FB for more up-to-date action items, 1-6 of this list from her fb page
1. Call Congress now, leave a message, tell them why you care: 202-224-3121. Then commit to calling again tomorrow. (Today is Day 6 in my commitment to call once a day). Ask them to come to airports to voice their opposition, and if they can’t be there in person, to do so publicly. Note: It appears only 4 GOP members of Congress have opposed the executive order so far (Dent, Sasse, Amash, and Flake).
2. Show up to a protest at airports where refugees are being detained. See this list from Think Progress: https://thinkprogress.org/muslim-ban-protests-344f6e66022e…. And this volunteer-generated list: http://act.moveon.org/go/7899…
3. Sign the pledge to join or support faith and moral leaders as we prepare for civil disobedience. https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/…/we-support-civil-diso…. Why I believe the time for civil disobedience has come: https://auburnseminary.org/the-time-for-civil-disobedience-…
5. If you have family members or friends who support the President, share with them STORIES of families fleeing persecution whose lives are now in danger. People can argue with your opinion, but not your story. Here’s one: https://twitter.com/CAPAc…/status/825533885790433280/video/1
6. We are in crisis now but this will be a sustained struggle. See this resource guide for people of faith and moral conscience: https://docs.google.com/document
7. Get REAL fact checked news, new site by Dan Rather
8. Here’s a great list of 99 ways to fight Trump
Put your money where your mouth is DONATE
- Sign up for MoveOn.org they have conference calls and alerts and are organizing marches and other action items we can be a part of to get our voices heard.
- MERCY CORPS is an ordination that directly aids refugees in reasons affected by this ban
- Planned Parenthood As a women I used PP when I was younger for years for exams and birth control, they serve women across the country to get the healthcare they need and family planning that fits their needs regardless of income. Their funding is being cut so they definitely need your support. Here’s other ways you can help PP
- Help give legal access to refugees and help us legally fight these executive orders by giving to the ACLU