The one thing I’ve been wanting to do is take being Politically Brewed to a higher level. Some say go “all in” however that’s not me. If I am going to build I’m gonna build it right. One of the building blocks is too find fresh voices in this politically driven society too which we live. Voices that are Left and Right, Hawkish and Dove, Religious and Atheist, and so on. In my mind, there is too much division caused by too many willing not to listen to others, yell the loudest and end up sinking further into the mud.
It wasn’t too long ago that someone took a chance on me and my ramblings, be it the subject manner was professional wrestling, but just like political diehards, they are a finicky lot. As time wore on, I hit a groove, I found a niche and I excelled. I too am willing to take a chance on fresh ideals and beliefs in the stale world of political and societal narration that we’ve become accustomed too, with hope these voices grow as I believe they can.
I am pleased to post the first of these new voices with G.D. Jakes.
Why I am Afraid to Sit on My Back Porch
I am afraid to sit on my back porch. When I say this to friends or family, there is a tone in their kind replies that is unique but not unfamiliar, an amalgamation of other tones. The top note is one of sympathy used for a child who is scared of the dark. The next interval is the slightly exasperated edge I have heard when explaining that as a gay person I have been denied the human rights that heterosexuals have not. The bass note is one that I, as a white male, am least familiar with – I imagine it is the tone that chauvinists use with women, a sort of condescending pitch which says I am ridiculous. I am not upset by this complex, wordless reaction; I am not angry at it, but I am afraid of it.
As to the porch and my newfound fear of it – it is post-election fear. The election dragged on and on, easily starting with decent force in mid-2015, with Trump announcing in June. Since then a hymn of hate has thrummed across the airways and digital landscape of the United States. Trump rallied a deplorable chorus that included the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and Traditionalist Youth Network, both white supremacist groups. He chose a running mate who is unabashedly anti-gay, fanned hate against Hispanics, Muslims, and gleefully called for the beating of African-Americans at his rallies. Like the Pied Piper, Trump’s song drew angry white men and women from every hamlet of the American countryside and like the rats they are the Alt-Right rose from the sewers of the internet to support him. In the end, millions of Americans voted to usher Trump in to office, just under half of all those who voted did so for Trump. I knew before this song that hate existed, I knew before this song that prejudice was real, what I did not know was how many men and women in this country believed in the racist white nationalist ideology that Trump ran and won on.
My home faces the street in the small Southern city my husband and I live in, and in the back a low fence runs along the edges of our thickly treed property, chicken wire, just enough to keep the dogs from wandering off over to our neighbors’ lawns. We have a nice little porch, with the broken terracotta tile floor indicative of the homes of the 60’s and 70’s in the area. We have a little propane fire pit that keeps us toasty when the temperature drops, but which always runs out of gas too soon. I enjoyed this little piece of heaven, especially in the summer. The problem is I cannot see who comes to the house if I am alone on the back porch. I am smart enough to know that after this election a culture of hate will explode in this country and I fear this culture of hate enough to need to see who approaches me, approaches my husband, approaches my home. Just three days after the election and Trump supporters have committed a litany of hate crimes. Writer Shaun King has diligently been reporting many of these, while the national media have picked up a few as well. As early as election night, Trump supporters allegedly beat a gay man in California bloody. Even as I write this, stories pour in from all over the country as people of color, LGTBQ citizens, and liberal minded individuals are denigrated, harassed, and threatened.
This is real, this is happening, and more than that it is the fruition of the implicit promise of the Trump campaign. I know, and we must all remember, that despite Trump’s new conciliatory tone and claims that he will defend the vulnerable, he will not. What Trump will do is to make America hate again, to foster a world wherein white nationalists and Christian fundamentalist can openly express the vitriol that underpins their beliefs. More dangerous than this though are the millions of people who will not openly express such vitriol, but who will sit passively by and allow it to happen. They will start by saying how awful it is that Trump supporters are committing such acts, they will claim not to support such violence, they will give sympathy to their non-white friends – but they will take no action. Eventually these same people will change slowly; instead of being “shocked” by the violence they will question why the black man or lesbian was “in that situation” to begin with, even if that situation was only walking down the street. We know this will happen because it has happened before. This is Germany 1933. This is Cambodia 1968.
So when I say I am afraid to sit on my back porch it is not just because I fear that some Republican with a gun, newly empowered to be openly hateful and violent, might sneak up and threaten me for being me, but also because I cannot trust my neighbors to do anything about it. And when I express this fear to my friends and family and their reply rings with that tone, I am more afraid. I am more afraid because I can tell they that they do not understand what is really happening, that their eyes are already turning away, that they are becoming the passive mob whose silence is a song for atrocity.