It’s worse than we thought.
Already I’m worried to hold hands in public with my husband. We barely kiss if people are around. And what I learned on Tuesday is that if I felt safe, it was a mistake.
The country looked at all we accomplished — hate crimes legislation, repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” marriage equality — and they were revulsed. The list of accomplishments goes on, and it isn’t solely LGBT. We had the first black president, the first woman nominee, Black Lives Matter, we were finally talking about the rights of transgender people. We called that progress, because it is, while the people at the edges of our cities stood back in horror.
They didn’t like Obamacare, maybe. They didn’t like Barney Frank’s reform of banks, maybe. I’m not convinced anyone’s here for a policy debate. Mainly, the Trump America didn’t like all change collectively. If I’m taking it personally, and I am, then I’d say the Trump America didn’t like us collectively.
Trump woke up that part of the country which had gotten used to keeping quiet as our steps forward seemed to pass them by without stopping for permission. This is the part of the country that we minorities fear. And I’m talking about actual human fear. It’s the part of the country I worry about encountering when I have to travel and visit relatives and loved ones in North Dakota, or Florida, or Virginia, or North Carolina.
After this election, I know it wasn’t misplaced fear. It wasn’t in my imagination. Even if everyone I encountered while traversing the country with my family — my husband, and our two adopted daughters with Mexican heritage — had bit their tongues, the so-called “silent majority” is real. The head of alt-right news site Breitbart is about to become a major figure in American politics, not by some weird decision-making of a reality TV star, but by the will of the American voter.
So as Donald Trump now goes through the motions of selecting a Cabinet, and decides who will speak at the inauguration, it’s time for all of us to come together who already worry that we could be bullied for trying to live our fullest lives. It’s time to protect each other. Everything is at stake.
Just before the networks named Donald Trump the next president, the top trending story on The Advocate’s website was one I wrote a year ago: “The Right-Wing Plot to Overturn Marriage Equality.”
It’s a discussion of what seems like a much more real possibility. Republicans will now control the House, the Senate, and the presidency. They will pick the next Supreme Court justice. Their plan is to pick off another liberal justice so they can replace that person with a conservative. Then, the Republican-controlled Congress will pass a law that under the Obergefell or Windsor rulings would’ve been considered unconstitutional. If anyone dares challenge that law, it will be taken up with the Supreme Court, which can then decide to overturn its previous marriage equality ruling.
It’s a simple plot, really.
Until Trump won, I might have called it unthinkable. But we better get used to preparing for the unthinkable.
Trump has said he would try this very thing. He’s also said he’d like to deport millions of Latino immigrants using a special Trump deportation force. Your neighbors could disappear, without so much as a hearing.
Trump has said he’d like to implement “law and order,” and few of us have ever gotten clarification on what he has in mind. Now would be a good time to start asking.
As I wrote this column, the neighborhood in Westwood where The Advocate’s offices are located was cordoned off by police. Protesters marched through the Los Angeles streets. I don’t know what they have in mind for accomplishing.
But I know what they’re afraid of.
LUCAS GRINDLEY is editorial director for Here Media. Contact him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.