Regardless of who you voted for, if you consider yourself a compassionate and reasonable person who believes that bigotry is a plague on our species preventing us from reaching our potential by keeping us divided — now is your time to fulfill your moral obligation to protect your neighbors who are threatened by Donald Trump’s message.
He won the election because of two reasons: Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate, and he’s convinced millions of people that he has solutions to the obvious problems in our political and social system: barring Muslims, building a 2,000 mile wall between Mexico and the U.S., deporting millions of people —never mind the destruction of millions of American families — and ending corruption in Washington.
When the Ku Klux Klan — and virtually all other white supremacist groups — expressed their support for him, neither he nor his supporters minded that his message appealed to outspoken bigots. After all, just because neo-Nazis support him doesn’t mean that everyone who voted for him is one too: They just hate Hillary Clinton.
I understand the malice toward Clinton. From the millions of dollars she made speaking for corporate electioneers, to her and the DNC’s active collusion to keep Bernie Sanders away from the Democratic nomination — I held my nose when I cast my vote for her. But as an adult, I know that compromise and discomfort are unavoidable.
But despite what you think about the differences between Trump and Clinton’s qualifications for presidency, right now, there are millions of Americans who are afraid that either someone in their family or they themselves are going to be harassed, beaten or jailed, and they are feeling these fears because Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric helped him win the election.
If you are not a bigot — if you have an ounce of compassion — you have an obligation to fight against hate, whenever and wherever you see or hear it. Very few meaningful issues can be reduced to such a simple solution: Either you’re okay with bigotry and therefore responsible for its consequences, or you’re against it.
Whether you voted for Trump, Clinton or otherwise, you can’t have it both ways: Either you fight against bigotry, or you turn your back on those who suffer from it. The latter makes you just as guilty as the perpetrators.
It’s getting very late for reasonable people on the right to demand that Trump seriously address the rise in hate-speech and violence that his campaign has spawned. Actions such as nominating alt-right media propagandist Steve Bannon speak far louder than a trite soundbite in a “60 Minutes” interview.
Trump’s statements claiming he doesn’t know why people like KKK leader David Duke support him, why neo-Nazis hail his name at rallies and why public acts of hate speech are on the rise demonstrate the importance of caring people fighting against the normalization of hate. For Trump to denounce the alt-right — after winning the election — is not enough. He needs to acknowledge and apologize for his rhetoric during the campaign. Without this, denouncements are meaningless.
People are taking to social media, to the streets and to their wallets to spread awareness and fight against the rise in hate-speech that Trump’s rhetoric has fueled. However, I suspect that most of us — the ones standing up and speaking out against the hateful rhetoric that his campaign has fanned — are the ones who voted against him in the first place. Maybe I’m wrong. If I am, I hope that this piece spurs non-racist Trump supporters onto further action against hate.
Speaking out is the first step, but this is going to take more than a hashtag or status update. If you wish to divorce yourself from the white supremacists who espouse his hateful and discriminatory ideas, you can donate time or money to the A.C.L.U, the N.A.A.C.P., The Trevor Project, the International Refugee Assistance Project or other organizations working to protect those who are most vulnerable to the dangerous reaction from Trump’s campaign and election. The time to act is now. Those of us who saw the danger in electing such a man already know this. It’s on his supporters to stand up for what is right. We’re not waiting, but we’d love for you to join us.