There’s a constant low rumble in America that is not the sound of our collective stomachs after a trip to Chipotle. No, the low rumble is people talking the words “collusion,” “treason,” and “impeachment.” Every day more and more info keeps coming out about Russian collusion, with just last week, Donald Trump’s "high-quality" son Donald Jr. freely sharing emails showing he gladly sought out info from a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin as well as a former Russian counterintelligence agent. I just saw an article from a British newspaper that said Russian agents were discussing Trump as early as 2015, and oddsmakers have put the chance of Trump’s impeachment before the end of the year at 33 percent — just a few points below his approval rating.
I don’t think Trump is going anywhere until 2018, and that's if Democrats win control of Congress; the Republicans are happier with their 30 pieces of silver. Lower taxes for the wealthy are simply more important to them than American democracy. Yet there’s always the possibility that we do end up with a smoking gun that forces an impeachment before then, and most likely it will be a literal smoking gun, with the way things are progressing. So that leaves us with the possibility of President Pence, barring the likely circumstance that he goes down with the ship, which raises the question: Who would be worse?
You can easily argue that Pence would be worse for LGBT+ issues, considering his absolutely dreadful history, which includes signing off on "religious freedom" laws, supporting "conversion" therapy, and much, much more — but we run into a small problem. Things are already awful for LGBT+ people under Trump. The pathological liar has signed executive orders allowing for easier discrimination against us, he’s allowed his Departments of Justice and Education to no longer protect transgender students, and he's even appointed anti-LGBT+ activists to key positions in these departments. He’s seeking to cut funds for HIV and AIDS research and prevention, and has remained silent as Putin’s Chechen puppets arrest and torture gay men. On top of all that, Trump completely ignored June as Pride Month yet recognized it as Great Outdoors Month, which is a deserving shout-out to Bass Pro shoppers everywhere.
Possibly most damaging, Trump's Supreme Court pick recently wrote a dissent opposing LGBT+ parental rights, proving Neil Gorsuch is a smiling, smug bigot just like Attorney General Jeff Sessions. When you also take into consideration that Sessions recently spoke to a virulently anti-LGBT group and refused to release a transcript of what he said (a conservative website published it, however), there can be no other conclusion than that Trump simply doesn’t care about LGBT+ people unless they can do something to benefit him.
But let’s be real. Under President Pence, this would be just the beginning. Regulations and orders protecting employment would be lifted, any sort of anti-LGBT legislation passed by Congress would get signed, and with the possibility of more positions opening up on the Supreme Court, there would be a major threat there. Of course, Pence's government appointees would do nothing to help LGBT+ people and the DOJ would be reined in on prosecuting hate crimes and fighting discriminatory laws. It would be orders of magnitude worse under Pence for our community. I mean, that’s a given and goes without saying. However…
Trump is a nightmare for more than just LGBT+ people. His discrimination against Muslims, his dysfunctional policies, his solar-powered border wall of stupidity, his incompetent foreign policy that is threatening nuclear war with North Korea, his withdrawal from key treaties, the destabilizing effect he has had on NATO's ability to keep Russia in check, not to mention his man-crush on Putin, are all speeding the decline of America. His nepotistic treatment of his children, his government profiteering, the destruction of government transparency, and the degradation of the dignity of the office of the president that, God help me, makes Bush 2.0 look like FDR all weaken our democracy.
Know what else is weakening our democracy? Trump's attacks on the media, his support of white nationalism, and his attempts to create a database of voter information that is meant to be nothing other than a purge of undesirable voters. And don’t forget to throw in his climate change denial and complete disregard for environmental regulations as a complimentary turd. I mean, we haven’t even gone a year with him as president and he’s become the greatest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.
Pence, for as terrible as he would be for LGBT+ people, still is a somewhat rational person. I know, I know, I know; he’s still a misogynistic homophobe who calls his wife "Mother." Which, hey, I’m down with the Mommy/Daddy kink play, but keep that shit in the bedroom or BDSM club. He certainly wouldn’t needlessly escalate conflicts with North Korea into a shooting war, his fiscal policy while certainly conservative would be rational, and his DOJ wouldn’t be as racist. He would probably have a more rational immigration policy, his foreign policy would maybe be more aggressive toward Russia, and his treatment of our allies would be much more dignified and sensible. Hell, if anything, he wouldn’t be golfing every other weekend and giving state secrets to foreign diplomats in the Oval Office.
So this raises a seriously deep question for LGBT+ folks: Do we want Trump impeached? Trump's inaction on LGBT issues is certainly damaging to us as states chip away at our rights, but he’s not necessarily actively taking them away. In fact, if he thought it would serve his purposes of getting one of his stupid policies through or being reelected, he would probably actively support LGBT rights. Pence, on the other hand, would actively pursue rolling back our rights and protections. Pence would not be a good president, in fact probably a terrible one, but he wouldn’t set the planet on fire. But Trump is an existential threat to not only LGBT people but Western ideals (that includes you, socialists), the ecology of the planet, and global stability, along with American democracy.
With my personality and values, I can at least say that I would gladly trade Trump for Pence even though it would threaten my happiness and safety as a trans woman. I’m willing to take the bullet for others so that they can be prosperous and safe, and that what America is at least intended to be can be a reality. I can’t ask the same of you, as something like this straddles the line of conjectural musing and reality, but it is something to ponder. I know we are marginalized and under constant threat, yet what good would holding on to a leaky boat do if it’s just going to carry us over a waterfall? I don’t expect an answer or others to agree; I just know that for me at least, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Yes, I just quoted Spock, but it’s relevant. Don’t judge me. You quote Beyoncé, I’ll quote Star Trek.