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Taking the Long View With Trump


Longtime activist Robin Tyler sees shades of 1930s Germany in this year's election, but also hope on the horizon.

I am crying as I write this, not just with my tears, but the tears Hillary held back during her concession speech. We could do a lot of finger-pointing -- "It was the millennials; not enough African-Americans voted; it was Bill's infidelities, Hillary's emails; it was the sexting emails from Anthony Weiner; it was third-party candidates and Bernie supporters; it was the media."

Well, it was whoever we want to vent our anger on. But finger-pointing doesn't help.

We have never seen a politician go through the public beating and bashing that this woman, our Joan of Arc, Hillary Clinton took. Why? And why now?

Why is not difficult. It was misogyny, sexism, the intense hatred of women by many men and even other women. This is a country that has still not passed the Equal Rights Amendment, so it is not surprising that so many want to hold on to white male privilege and a sense of superiority.

So why now? Well, we have just come through a depression. No, it was not a "recession." It was a depression, and for many, it still is. When people are in excruciating pain, they are not rational about where it came from, they just want it to stop. Germany in 1933 had a strong women's movement and even a push for gay rights (there was no LGBT then), but it also was in a depression. Hitler was able to scapegoat the Jews, just as Donald was able to scapegoat Mexicans and Muslims, the alt-right's new "M&M"s, as well as Wall Street, bankers, and media -- all code words for "the Jews."

As it was in Germany, the ex-middle class is livid. We are in a transitional era, similar to the Industrial Revolution. Will manufacturing jobs ever come back, or will robots take over everything, including driving our cars and trucks? Is small farming being replaced by agribusiness? Will climate change mean that coal is no longer an option? Yes, yes, and yes. This is a time of extreme fear, and little honesty coming out of Washington. People are tired of war, and the U.S. infrastructure is crumbling.

So when an angry tough macho male like Donald Trump comes along and says, "Trust me, I will fix it," the majority (at least of the electoral vote), in so much pain, believed him, and as in Germany, blamed their neighbors. History does repeat itself.

So where do we go from here? Is this a defining moment in our history? Yes and no. When Proposition 8 passed, taking away marriage equality in California, we were devastated. But we organized, took to the streets so that we could share our anger, our frustration, and our hurt, and we continued to sue not knowing that just a few years later, we would win marriage equality.

Please, no "buts," like "but the Supreme Court will be conservative again." As LGBT people we have survived murder, rape, mental institutions, lobotomies, loss of children and parents and jobs and housing, and millions died during the AIDS crisis, but we survived. And we will survive this, but only if you have the courage and will to stand up and fight back.

In two years we have federal elections and can fight to take the House and Senate back. In four years, Elizabeth Warren will be ready to break that glass ceiling -- perhaps with Michelle Obama standing by her side. As long as we take a breath of life and we have the courage to keep fighting for what is right and just, we will eventually win. When we said "Never Again," we meant it.

ROBIN TYLERROBIN TYLER is an LGBT activist based in Los Angeles. She and wife Diane Olson were one of the first same-sex couples to sue California for the right to marry.

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