This is not normal

I ran across this tweet yesterday:

Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump. I for one give him my most open mind and wish him great success in his service to the country.

I understand the sentiment to reject the idea of wanting an incoming president to fail. To instead hope that he will perform better than his campaign would suggest. But this particular form does not name or condemn the racism, misogyny and general bigotry that propelled him to office. This tweet implicitly endorses that bigotry. It normalizes that bigotry. It says you can be elected to the highest office of the United States while routinely saying bigoted things and promising exclusionary and racist policies. And many will just make nice and pretend it didn’t happen.

I’m sure the author would disagree they are endorsing bigotry. But it does. If someone you knew was routinely awful to others in your circle of friends, never apologized for it or made amends, and then at a party you just introduced them to everyone asking them to welcome them without acknowledging the past harm, what would your friends think? They would think you didn’t think their past behavior merited censure. They would think you were okay with it.

Other business leaders have expressed similar vague sentiments on the incoming president. I’m sure if asked directly they would also say, well, of course I don’t support those policies or those kinds of words. But should the President-elect attempt to make good on the many exclusionary promises of his campaign, how can I trust they will stand against it? If the President-Elect really does decide to make Muslims register as he promised a year ago and has never disavowed, will you fight it?

I asked @realDonaldTrump if he plans to ask Congress to ban Muslims from entering the country. He walked away

What does it mean to wish the incoming president “success”? “Success” for most incoming elected officials usually includes implementing part of their agenda. But the President-elect’s agenda is explicitly exclusionary and racist. He promised repeatedly to deny entry to Muslims. To “build a wall” against our southern neighbors. Charitably I know that Bezos and other business leaders don’t mean this kind of success. They mean some other nebulous form of success where the President-elect behaves more like a normal president.

The President-elect was propelled to office on a wave of white supremacist backlash and misogyny. Millions of people voted for him (or stayed home) knowing he had assaulted women, said awful things about women, said awful things about black people, immigrants and Muslims. Millions voted for him despite one of his few coherent and consistent policies being a sop to anti-immigrant fervor.

You can’t wish him well or success without highlighting that context. This election was not normal. The winner is not normal. Ignoring that context normalizes it. The thugs already putting up swastikas and beating up people who don’t look white need the media to normalize this. The Republican party and the President-elect needs us to pretend that this violence isn’t their creation. They want us to forget chants of “lock her up” at his rallies. They want us to forget the President-elect will not reject the support of the KKK. They want us to forget this is not normal.

This is not normal. The United States was far from perfect on the topics of racism and bigotry, but even if a candidate’s policies were bigoted, they had to hide and pretend they weren’t. The President-elect did not. Don’t be part of making it normal again to be openly and explicitly racist. Don’t excuse the President-elect. Don’t excuse the Republican leadership.

Continue the fight to make inclusion and equality normal. That’s the future I want to live in. That’s the future a majority of Americans who voted wanted.

You stand for bigotry, Republican Leadership

You stand for bigotry. There are only six days left till the election to stand against it. Six days for you to stand up and be leaders. Yes, it’s silly for me to expect or care that you will. Yet I do. Trump is a symptom. He’s not the disease. He may be incompetent, crude and bigoted. But most everything he’s said is something that your colleagues have said, perhaps in coded terms, for quite some time. Rejecting Trump is not about Trump losing. Rejecting Trump is about you starting to guide people away from electoral politics based on bigotry before it really does go too far, if it hasn’t already.

St. Louis Arch

I know I’m shouting into the void saying this. It’s not like hundreds if not thousands of folks with more influence than me haven’t been telling you — Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and many others, as well the clown car of competitors in the primaries — that it is moral bankruptcy to support Trump as the leader of the party. I imagine John Kasich has talked to you all personally. But I actually believe most of you are relatively competent, well-intentioned people. I think you’re actually a lot like me and other people I know and trying to do your best.

But I really need more of you to find some guts. You are half the political leadership in this country. How do I feel when nearly half of the most influential people in my society support a man who admits to sexual assault and at least twelve women say he assaulted them? How do I feel when you support a man who demonizes nationalities, saying their immigrants are mostly rapists and murderers? Who openly has a policy of genocide against a minority — for that is what expelling Muslims or immigrants is? Whose political events has speakers physically threatening political opponents? Who is openly racist towards black people on the debate stage?

He’s pretty likely to lose at this point. But I don’t feel comfortable or safe. How can I when you, the most powerful people, can’t even reject an obviously incompetent and bigoted bully? You can’t even reject him when he’s likely to lose. What if the next fascist politician has a cleaner personal history but has all the same bigoted policies? Slavery of black people, genocide of natives and the internment of the Japanese aren’t acts we want to repeat. We still haven’t figured out how to make right for those. We shouldn’t add another huge sin.

Or maybe you do want a genocide. Maybe Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the rest of you really do secretly think women are inferior, that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the country, that anyone who isn’t Christian or white is a second-class citizen and should expect violence at any time, more than they already do anyway. Maybe Trump really does represent your party. How can I tell that he doesn’t when so few of you who literally run the party won’t reject him? I don’t want to believe you stand for that. I want to believe most of you stand for country before party.


You have six days to reject Trump. You don’t get to say after the election that “I didn’t support him” unless you can say before the election “you should not vote for Trump”. I don’t care if you personally already voted for Trump. I’ll take a public statement that you regret your vote and no one else should. You have six days or I will assume you support everything Trump stands for.

I know this post probably won’t be heard by who I’m addressing. But I hope others will read it and remember and not make excuses for them. When a politician who didn’t reject Trump says something about Clinton or Democratic policies, we should always first point out they support sexual assault, expulsion of immigrants, and every last awful thing Donald Trump has said, done or said he wants to do. Who cares what they think of anything while they support all of that? Let’s not forget after November 8th what they did and did not stand for.

They stood for naked bigotry.