I have tried to hold on to my fundamental belief that EVERYONE — no matter how heinous I find their words, beliefs, and behaviors — has at the center the same spark of Love and Light which motivates and illuminates those people I love and admire; but this election season has time and again challenged me to sustain that belief.
Not only have I been appalled by the rhetoric, the ignorance, the embrace of hate, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, schoolyard bullying, bloviating bigotry, threats and intimidation and concentrated disinformation, deceit, distortion, and meant-to-induce violence lies and propaganda, but, too, it has triggered me.
I can’t sleep. I can’t look at Twitter. I can’t watch the news. I am scared. Not in a grown-up way, but in the same way I was as a child, as a young person, in school, in my community, where I had early on been labeled faggot, and was regularly abused, accosted, assaulted, and in danger. And it wasn’t just those actual attacks, it was the culture of casual and accepted homophobia and ignorance practiced by my family, my church, the society at large. Now, Tr*mpists have been given permission to express again, to embrace again, to encourage again all of these kinds of hates.
And I am having trouble trusting the world. I am having trouble trusting anything. Words matter. They almost killed me as a child, a few times, and made my life well into my twenties a daily hell and terror. Words matter. They did kill Matthew Shepard. Words matter. I want to be able to trust the world again, to get on Twitter again, to watch the news again. He must not win. That he can get this close means all the work I thought we’d accomplished, had so much less effect than I’d hoped.
That he can get this close makes me that terrified 13-year-old again, afraid that the love I feel is reason enough for people to want to crucify me. I. Cannot. Cope.