If you know me, then you’re likely aware that for the first twelve years of my life I was sexually abused by a man more powerful than me (which is to say, my father). So when I say there’s no excuse for complicity with a President who brags about his nonconsensual sex with women because he’s “a star,” be assured I mean it.
His callous immorality goes on every day. As parades of advisors goose-step their way into the new administration we see that one of them–Stephen Bannon–was once arrested for domestic violence. He’s an anti-semite who ran Breitbart News, the site known for trafficking in racist imagery and language. When women are harassed online, his paper blames them, telling them that they should just “log off,” since it was men who built the internet (and for that matter, civilization). Seriously. His paper said this.
Too many women know intimately too well what the phrase “victim blaming” means. The women who came forward during Donald’s campaign to say “he did it to me too” predictably found themselves under another attack. A thirteen year-old girl withdrew her lawsuit against him out of threats and fear.
Surrogates under his thrall admonish us with ignominious expedients, resentful and pious. (Trump’s default invective was of course “loser.” But his more articulate followers have devised an arsenal of insults, and will no doubt continue as they publish and spout warnings and declarations).
Some attacks are aimed deeper into our pyches, innuendos of revenge, or patronizing advice to “accept things” as they are… “nothing you can do about it now.”
So this is what I have to say: If you’ve felt stabbed by Trump, and worried about his administration which is already made its distinction by bringing aboard dangerously naïve advocates of moral obscenities such as “conversion therapy” then please don’t feel like a victim.
Feel anything else… but layer upon your fears the knowledge that you can do things to help yourself and those more vulnerable than you.
It is true. Even with intolerable people running our country, we can still control our own dispositions, and impress the momentum of history.
The first step is to know that you don’t have to continue feeling powerless. You can “dare disturb the universe” and not be victim. And you can do it right away. You can do it by becoming an advocate.
There are many ways to be an advocate. Stand up for a child who is bullied, and you’re an advocate. Join an environmental group, and you’re an advocate. Help a minority feel safe, and you’re an advocate.
You don’t even have to wait for another election, or a new political party or Supreme Court Justice.
Now here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to support and promote The Southern Poverty Law Center. They actually DO things… they engage in powerful fights which they often win. They’ve “smashed the remnants of Jim Crow segregation; destroyed some of the nation’s most notorious white supremacist groups; and upheld the rights of minorities, children, women, the disabled and others who faced discrimination and exploitation.”
You may remember that they took down Richard Butler’s Aryan Nation in 1998, forcing the group into bankruptcy.
They generously advised me when I was (along with organized groups) pushing the Boy Scouts of America to accept gay members.
They have filed groundbreaking lawsuits to challenge gay-to-straight “conversion therapy” as fraudulent, obtain equal government benefits for veterans, protect LGBT children from violence and harassment in school, ensure the parental rights of LGBT people, protect the right to proper medical treatment and safe housing for transgender prisoners, force states to recognize the rights of same-sex couples, and protect the First Amendment rights of LGBT students.
The SPLC’s works go beyond legal battles (they’ve filed over 150 civil rights cases). They maintain a hate map which monitors over 800 hate groups).
And they are on to Trump. Take a look at their home page.
Don’t subtract yourself from the world. Go forth. Help someone else. Refuse to bow your knee to the infant-man, the liar who came down from his tower, the hollow star shooting poisoned arrows from his golden chariot. Hold him accountable.
Don’t sit alone in the nothingness of inaction. Look up at the sky, breathe, rest, and then DO something.
Don’t let Trump define who you are. Don’t be a victim!
PS: Keep in mind that there is a distinction between being the victim of a crime, and self-identifying as a victim. Having been the victim of a crime is something that happened to you because of a lawbreaker. Identifying yourself as a victim, and thinking of yourself as one, are natural responses to trauma. The challenge of healing is to allow the victim identity to recede, so that another, stronger, and happier “you” emerges. It is not easy, but with proper support, monitoring and adjusting your thoughts, and of course time, you can do it!