Dear Deplorables…

…now that you have it, what are you going to do with it?

My parents, some of questionable sanity, instilled a sense of obligation in me at a young age. Confronted at the age of four with anti-Semitism by the family up the street, my father (the sane one), showed me how to manage bigotry in one sentence and a door slam. Both my father and my stepfather taught me that it is my moral obligation as a Jew to ensure all minorities, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or any other category, are safe from harm.

Throughout my life, I have seen and experienced prejudice, discrimination and overt racism directly and indirectly: at school, at work, during my leisure time, while participating in the most mundane activities or the most critical. It is not dramatic when someone says these experiences can be traumatic and terrifying. When your concept of safe spaces are corrupted, life does become unbearable.

When I speak up, when I interrupt, I fear people hear the words and the voice of a crazed individual ranting on a street corner. Yet, if I don’t, I wonder “who will?” So I do. I do me. As I was raised. As I was inspired by my father, my hero, one of my best friends. And I know I am not alone. I am so fucking blessed to count amazing, brave and bold people as my friends. Men and women who stick their necks out every day to stop injustice and make this hellscape a better place for the benefit of others and not themselves.

As I watch the election returns trickle in, I sit in awe. Of all we have been taught, of all we have learned, the path we are, as a nation, choosing to go down is one of hate and fear. One of intolerance and exclusion. One of complete and total lack of regard for our fellow human beings. As a society, we have committed to dismissing the pain of others. As a society, we have dedicated ourselves to perpetuating stereotypes, false information and lies. And for whose benefit and what cause? To satisfy fear and ignorance. For it is much easier to hide behind the cloak of intolerance than it is to confront our bias, own our weaknesses and grow as people.

Every single man, woman and child in this country, citizen or non, deserves better than what is unfolding right now. This is not the “change we need.” This isn’t the punishment we deserve for our bad behavior, either. This is, simply put, bullshit.

To the deplorables, the leaders and the followers, this is yours now. The responsibility. The accountability. The time for bluster has passed. The time for action has arrived. You must now prove to every single person you are not the bigot you claim you aren’t. You must now prove to every person that you are, indeed, human. You must now earn our respect.

Your margin of victory is small so don’t think of this as a referendum or a free pass. Our black lives still matter. Our safety in public toilets still matters. Our freedom to follow whatever religion (or none at all) is still ours, per The Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled our same sex couples can get married. You don’t have to like or approve of these basic principles but you will still have to accept them. Just as we have been living with your intolerance all of these years.

Show us you can lead by building the bridge to healing. Show us you can lead by being humble and decent. Show us you are anything but the horribly behaved example you demonstrated throughout the election. The ball is in your court. The burden has become yours.

But it’s alright, ’cause it’s all white…

or is it?

Another day, another explosion, another Muslim to blame.  Expedient and convenient.  In rapid fashion The Deplorables emerge from their basket, full of rage and bare chested, arteries close to exploding as the Do-Gooder-Patriot thumps his chest in outrage.  The call to eject citizens or aliens, legal or non, grow louder and louder as crumpled cans of Budweiser hit the floor and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The U.S.A” bleats in the background along with Fox Noise, Alex Jones or whatever nonsensical voice from the Alt-Reich will serve as the clarion call to the patriots.  Pick up the guns, bruh.  We gots ourselves some work to do.

Let’s say The Deplorables get their way: Der Trumpenführer und Col Wilhem Klink Pence are elected in November.  The mass deportations begin.  Muslims *poof* gone!  Mexicans (And let’s be blunt about the definition of Mexican, shall we.  We all know the word “Mexican” encompasses anyone from Central and South America in this instance.) *el presto* dunzo!  African Americans who refuse to heel to the esteemed white man and accept institutionalized racism *boom* outta here.  Jews, sorry my fellow brothers and sisters, we’re off to live on disputed soil in a desert because Secretary of White Washing, David Duke, thinks were shifty, at best.  I’d cite more but, admittedly, I’m bored.  Also, why bother?

So, now that the Great Again United States of America is as white as a mountain of blow, all is good, right?  There are no longer any explosions (abortion is outlawed so no need to fret about that).  Crime no longer exists because white people don’t do that stuff.  Right?  Right?  Wait…I’m…wrong?

After all that expended energy – the culling of the herd, the elimination of the undesirables, there is still crime?  There are still people who are (scratches chin) bad?  But, how could this be?  It’s a white, christian utopia full of hard working, non-welfare taking, non-idle people who spend their non-work time at church or building homes for Habitat for Humanity (although why HH exists when everyone has a job and can afford a home escapes me entirely).  When do the adults find time to commit crime?  When do the studious angels find the time between school, volunteerism and extra-curricular activities?

The fact of the matter is, Dear Deplorables, you can eliminate as many brown, yellow, black, olive, purple, polka-dotted, twenty-armed, two-headed, nine-footed humans from your country as you wish.  You will never eliminate bad behavior.  It could be debated that the Deplorable is the embodiment of bad behavior but that’s tangential and not relevant to the discussion.  The bad behavior remains.  What will the basket dwellers do then?  Do they systematically jail their brothers, sisters and cousins or do they bounce them out of the country, too?  Back to Europe, for you guys!  You are so fucking horrible, you white criminals, we’re going to make sure you have to endure the hell that is democratic socialism with its stupid healthcare, its 36-hour work week and guaranteed four weeks of paid holiday a year.  That’ll show ’em!

Deplorables, you will never have a society free from crime, free from vice and free from bad behavior.  Certainly not when you’re a part of it.  But, regardless, the bad behavior will always be here.  Even if your nation becomes a sea of white faces as you so desire.  Your solution of toting guns and eliminating those who look and think differently than you is about as rational as a two year-old’s fallback of a temper tantrum for not getting a second cookie or a sixteen year-old’s screaming “YOU ARE RUINING MY ENTIRE LIFE” because she can’t have the keys to the family truckster.

Throw out everyone.  Make every minority leave.  Oust everyone who has a dissenting opinion.  I guarantee you there will still be things blowing up, people walking around crowded places with guns and knives, women still being raped and children still being abused.  I guarantee you will still be in physical danger to a degree.  Otherwise, in your white utopia that you have achieved, you wouldn’t have any need for that gun you’re clinging to, right?

You’re breathing my air

Of course I know it’s only natural to encounter drunk people in bars. The whole point of being there is to eventually become one of them. However, last night was the first time since moving to Sweden that I was met with any real hostility because of my nationality. Or maybe it was because I’m an immigrant. The agitator was very drunk so it was difficult to tell exactly what his problem was. I was sitting with an English friend and we were chatting away, in English naturally, which tends to attract attention from bar patrons curious about those two good looking English-speaking women sitting at the bar. My friend and I weren’t there to get drunk, though, just to catch up and visit. A bar might seem an odd place to do this particularly due to the fact that my friend is three months pregnant. Still, this place is her local, where she used to go all the time before she got pregnant, and she knows everyone there. Plus she was drinking non-alcoholic beer.

While I was visiting the ladies room, an inebriated man had managed to maneuver himself into a piece of bar real estate right next to my friend. I took my seat and saw that he stood slobbering over her not noticing or caring that she had her face turned away from him. She seemed to physically shrink from him every time he opened his mouth as if she were afraid of getting drunk off of his breath. Apparently, when I was away he had ascertained that she was English. When I took my seat he asked if I was also English, to which I replied that I was actually American. What followed was a slurring diatribe against America and Americans and George W. Bush and American foreign policy. Now my friend is not very confrontational, and her usual way of dealing with unpleasant people is to wait for them to go away, which usually works just fine. But this guy wasn’t going away. He kept moving closer and closer to her until he was practically slobbering into her hair. I’m not really that confrontational either, but this had gone far enough. “Okay, you need to move away from my pregnant friend. Right now. You’re too close and you’re breathing on her. So piss off.”

“Yeah, well, you’re breathing my air.”

At that point, I knew what I was dealing with, which was probably a member of Sweden’s most racist and xenophobic political party: the Sweden Democrats. Basically they believe that immigrants are at fault for all the problems in this country, and that those problems would simply disappear if we all just went away. Even those of us who have been living here for years and have paid tons of money in taxes to the Swedish government. “Sweden for Swedes” is their party motto. Having said all that, I should probably point out that my friend and I don’t really fit the description of the type of immigrant the Sweden Democrats don’t like. We’re white, you see. And we’re not Muslim. I’ve been in the same room with people having a conversation about how the “fucking immigrants” are ruining this country. When I politely point out that I am, in fact, one of those fucking immigrants, they quickly reassure me that of course they didn’t mean me. They meant the “brown” immigrants, naturally. Oh I see. You don’t really have a problem with immigrants, do you? You’re just a racist asshole.

Eventually we did manage to get Mr. Racist Belligerent Drunk Man to leave us alone. Maybe he wasn’t a member of the Sweden Democrats after all. He didn’t seem to be giving my friend a hard time for being English, so I’m pretty sure he just hated America and Americans, which is fine. I can’t do anything about that. Haters gonna hate.