I’ve been waiting to voice my concerns about this, hoping against hope that the need to say it would be moot. But, as the election nears with Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, it’s time to say it.
If Trump wins, I won’t leave.
It’s easy to say, as we throw our hands up in disgust, that we’ll move away. We will find a way to get out of this country we call home in a desperate attempt to flee his hate, vitriol, and bigotry. It’s tempting to think about starting a life somewhere else, where reason is more prevalent and tolerance is bred before hate. It’s easy and tempting because, for a majority of us who could move away, we have the means, the job experience, assets to sell. We have no, or minor, criminal records to hinder us.
What about the rest of our citizens? Are we really ready to pack up and say, “Well, I’m sorry that your education, circumstances of birth, and luck up until now weren’t enough to get you away”?
This country is supposed to be one of opportunity. Trump is running his campaign on making America “great again.” If he wins and all the good, sensible, privileged people leave, what does that leave for everyone else?
I am not ready to look at the history books and have it written that when our nation of dreams and promises was given over to a tyrant, we refused to stay and take it back. I am not going to give my children a reason to be disappointed in me when they learn that, rather than stay and help their friends and classmates across the nation, I ran away.
My place of privilege, as a white, middle-class heterosexual, gives me a responsibility. I have little I could be targeted for in the grand scheme of things. I am a woman and I am not religious. Our family is conventional. My husband works in trade while I stay home and care for our children who attend public school. We count on public services like the police, fire department, libraries, and parks. We do not need government assistance to eat or pay our bills. We are by no means rich, but we live comfortably in a time when very few can.
I will not flee when my neighbors are told they cannot use public restrooms in peace because of a misguided sense that everyone’s gender reflects their sexual organs. I won’t turn my back on my friends who wish to spend the rest of their lives with the person they love, but are denied the right to marry because they are the same gender. I refuse to be complicit in an agenda of fear and repression by walking away when whole communities are told they cannot live here because of their religion. I cannot leave and allow equal rights to be pushed back so far that voting and reproductive rights are taken away based on skin color, social class, and gender. I decline the notion that anyone who needs a helping hand is lazy and should have their assistance taken away.
How petty of us, to deny sanctuary to those fleeing from famine and warfare — while expecting to move somewhere else if someone we disagree with is put in a position of power.
I won’t leave my country behind. I will be a voice against injustice, hate, and bigotry. I will scream loudly for the rights of my neighbors. I will weep silently with my friends who are repressed. I will push for equal rights, for education, for tolerance, for all the things that really will make our country great again.
So, no, I won’t leave if Trump wins. I will stand up for those who have no choice but to stay, and I will fight.