Dear white men,
We had the loudest voices and the least to lose in this race. Whether we voted for Clinton, Trump, or even Johnson, there was never a question of whether or not our needs would continue to be prioritized over women, LGBTQ+ folks, people of color, and immigrants. The patriarchal systems we’ve put in place will guarantee that we get first dibs on everything in this country for a very long time. And so, this election was more about personal perks for us than it was anything identity based or political. There were no real liberties at stake for us—only personal privileges we’ve come to believe are birth given. And unlike for many citizens in this country, our America was never at stake.
And maybe that’s why 63 percent of us voted for Trump. We had nothing to lose, so we went with who could give us the biggest bang for our buck. We voted for the guy who said he would shake up the system while still guaranteeing us all of the privileges we’ve grown accustomed to. We voted for Trump because he promised us the prosperity we’ve felt has been withheld from us. We voted for Trump because of how voiceless and disenfranchised our current political system has made us feel. We voted for Trump because he promised to “Make America Great Again” and spoke to the unconscious and conscious bigotry and ignorance within us. We voted for Trump because we didn’t take a moment to step outside of ourselves and ask, “Is what I’m getting out of this worth more than what others may be losing?”
Because of us, many women no longer feel safe in this country. Because of us, people of color now feel more alienated and ostracized than ever before. Because of us, we now have a vice president who believes in conversion therapy. We have put so many of our fellow Americans in jeopardy—and for what, tax breaks? To stick it to Clinton? We chose our personal agendas over our own people! And we can say that we voted for this man for reasons that weren’t sexist, racist, or homophobic, but the reality is that by voting for him we have said it is okay to be those things. By voting him office, we have said that our American ideals aren’t acceptance and equality but rather bigotry and patriarchy. We have helped embolden the bigots of this country. So we have to take responsibility for the ugliness that is ahead of us. If and when things get bad, we can’t simply blame Trump or distance ourselves from what is happening. We have to own up to the role we’ve played in shaping this new America, and we have to take a proactive role in fixing the mess we’ve created. We owe it to all of the people we’ve royally screwed over because of this election.
The reality, however, is that what’s done is done. The people have spoken and Trump is now president. And for the 37 percent of us who opposed Trump, we need to continue to stand up for equality and acceptance, and we have to speak out against injustice even when it is unpopular. We cannot give into despair or apathy. We have to champion the rights of the people who will be left silenced and fearful because of these results. And for the 63 percent of us who voted for Trump, we need to step outside ourselves and push for policies that do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. We need to ask ourselves whether or not this country is meeting the needs of all of its citizens. We all need to question, and criticize, and do better. We owe that to women, to people of color, to LGBTQ+ folks, and to any other groups that will feel unsafe and marginalized in the new world order we just ushered in.
We owe that to them.
We owe that to America.