I believe that artists of all kinds not only have the right, but the obligation, to express their opinions on matters of social importance. Past partners have told me celebrities were supposed to be quiet and just do their thing. No kneeling. No speeches at awards ceremonies.
For me, writers, painters, musicians, indeed anyone who has a public platform has the obligation to speak out on topics of basic human decency.
I said this to my partners and meant it.
Then I went silent.
I stopped posting memes and angry rants and grunts and grumbles because I didn’t want to offend and lose people I love.
I am scared as I type this. I am scared I will lose people I love dearly in doing this. I am sure I will lose them. They may not unfriend me. They may not even openly acknowledge their disagreement with me. But I will lose them on some level simply because: How can I not see how wrong I am? Why can’t I just keep the status quo? Why do I have to talk politics? Why can’t I just protest quietly?
I can’t be quiet when what frightens me more is what this country has become. What frightens me more is the complicity of silence, or worse, the complicity of acceptance.
I heard these words: “Stand back and Stand by.”
The reaction is one that was predictable and terrifying. The people those words were aimed at, as you can see below, took that as it was intended, a call to arms. If you don’t accept that, you are at best, naïve and at worst, approving of that call to arms. If you dare to approve of that call to arms, you can shut me out for good. We don’t have a difference of opinion. We have a difference of humanity.
There is no place in America for a group of people who take up arms at the polls. Or after the results come in. There is no place in America for a president who calls to such a group to do so. (Illegal, by the way). There is no place in America for people to sit in the comfort of their fine homes with their fine clothes and cars and say, “Threatening the voters is an acceptable behavior in a president.”
I spoke out before the 2016 election against this man’s “p***y grabbing” ways and people I loved excused his behavior while knowing that I had been assaulted as a child. I’ve watched and kept my mouth shut since because I was ridiculed and doubted for being a valid and scarred member of the #metoo movement.
I have been manipulated and abused into silence by multiple men in my life. I have been manipulated and abused into cowardice.
I am so done.
There is no place in my life for silence anymore.
I don’t want to lose my friends that I know are apologists for that “man” who claims to love this country and then hugs the flag obscenely. He loves only himself.
I know they see him as a savior of their livelihoods without really looking deeply into who is writing the tax codes that make their lives difficult. Meanwhile, their businesses are suffering at the gasping throat of COVID-19 which that man denied for months rather than take early and serious action that could have gotten us on our feet sooner as it has in other parts of the world.
I know nothing I say will change minds.
The purpose of this is not to attempt to change minds. The purpose of this is to inform those I love that I can’t quietly abide the support of someone who foments civil war and that, whether they will ever admit it or not, is what he did during that debate. Calling it a “dog whistle” minimizes it. Reframing it and excusing it as “he didn’t know” is simply a lie. He spews what he has heard repeatedly on a topic and he has heard his advisors (likely Stephen Miller) speak this way. He knew what he was doing.
I am not calling him a white supremacist. I am not not calling him one. I can’t know his heart. I can only judge behavior and his behavior is that of a person who has seized on a method of gaining power and keeping it. He doesn’t care who he hurts in the process. That is almost worse because it means he will do anything for power and hurt anyone, even those in his base that he is courting. Maybe especially them. This has become more evident in recent days.
It breaks my heart to even consider losing my friends. I know that most of them are some of the kindest, gentlest people I know. But kindness doesn’t equal rightness. And if, in their kindness and willingness to suspend rational thought, they simply can’t see what a horrible person that man is, that’s on them. Or if they see it but brush it off in the interest of their stock holdings, that’s on them. Tolerating their flag-waving and delusions, that’s on me.
Ultimately, that loss is nothing compared to the losses of the people being injured by 45’s support of white supremacists/war mongers and his COVID-19 denial (just to name the two biggest offenses).
p.s. Yes, I’ve turned off comments. I’ve learned that there is no point arguing these topics and I don’t need reassurance or support that I am right in my thoughts.