with Janee Woods
Honestly, I don’t even want to participate in creating any more media presence for Donald Trump’s self-aggrandizing national spectacle of idiocy and antagonism. However, I refuse to be silent when our potential leaders act as oppressors. So here it is.
Donald Trump is a racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic,narcissistic megalomaniac who bullies people whom he perceives to be less powerful and tells blatant lies with the goal of inciting hatred so that he can assume even more power. He is the personification of social and cultural violence. Trump’s campaign, which has been publically condemned by Southern Poverty Law Center as the“mainstreaming of hate and extremism,” encourages the growth of white nationalism and proves that the darkest, most shameful aspects of our country’s history are not yet gone when profound hate functions as a viable campaign strategy capable of mobilizing masses of people.
Many describe Trump’s campaign as absurd or preposterous, but he has millions of supporters— 33% of likely GOP caucus goers. A third of potential GOP voters believe that Trump’s campaign promises and policy ideas (which are based entirely on irrational fear and hate) are reasonable, legitimate, and in the best interest of democracy. They tacitly or blatantly endorse the idea that the next President of the United States should advocate for banning all Muslims, including US citizens who are Muslims, from entering the country, even though a ban based on religious identity would trigger constitutional scrutiny.
Basically, a critical mass of our fellow citizens are openly racist and Islamophobic, and are hailing one another as true patriots for their bigotry. Even if Trump voluntarily ends his presidential bid tomorrow, is disqualified or loses at the polls, that critical mass of supporters is not going to disappear and that is where danger lies. If anything, they will likely become even more emboldened in actively persecuting Muslims now that it’s become clear that such behavior is socially acceptable to a significant number of Americans. In fact, that’s already happening. Some Trump supporters who don’t support the ban are still continuing their support of his candidacy, showing that even those who know such a ban is deeply problematic still won’t stand against it.
History, once again, is repeating itself. This is how the Chinese Exclusion Act became federal law in 1882. This is how Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps in the 1940s. This is how Hitler rose to power and convinced millions of Germans that killing Jews was the only way their country could be great again.
We are teetering on the precipice of disaster and it’s time to take as huge a leap as possible back from the edge. The Public Religion Research Institute recently released a study showing that 76 percent of Republicans say Islam is “at odds with American values and way of life,” compared to 43 percent of Democrats. In other words, a majority of Americans who claim affiliation with the nation’s two major political parties are anti-Muslim. That is terrifying and dangerous. We must be proactive and protect our Muslim people, instead of laughing off Trump as anunelectable buffoon. Here are some suggestions for disrupting the growing swell of Islamophobia among his supporters, and elsewhere, that threatens our collective well-being and democratic ideals.
If you are a registered Republican, consider switching parties as soon as you can. Even if you never intended to ever vote for Trump, ask yourself: “Do I want to be affiliated politically with the millions of other Republicans who are Trump supporters? Have my preferred Republican candidates renounced Donald Trump forcefully and definitively enough?”
Make a public commitment to be anti-racist and follow through by acting on it. Sign the pledge to resist fear and hatred. Join Showing Up for Racial Justice and attend local events. Learn how racism and Islamophobia areintertwined, with anti-Muslim rhetoric often centered in anti-blackness because Islam is not considered to be a white religion.
Take action to make your community safer for Muslim people. Bring together a group of people in your community to brainstorm ideas for making your community safer for Muslim people and then implement those ideas. This is a good list to start with. Ask your church, synagogue or meeting house to create a welcoming space inside their walls for Muslim services if mosques are under threat where you live.
Disrupt Trump wherever he goes. Don’t let him spew his hate speech to enthusiastic crowds without interruption.Protest, chant, blockade, over and over until he goes away. Ask venues to refuse to host his rallies. And don’t attend his rallies for the sole reason of witnessing the spectacle for yourself.
Islamophobia and racism will destroy our communities. Do something now before it’s too late.
This post (including the awesome graphics and photos) was published originally on Scenarios USA, where I am a contributor. Scenarios USA is where young people and millennials go to talk about social justice issues, the Internet, culture, film and whatever else is on their mind! Scenarios USA is a national organization that uses writing and film to foster youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression, with a focus on marginalized communities.