While many fear degradation at the hands of the new administration, the right stands to prove these fears have merit. The response was likely not what they intended.
Various groups have struggled to gain equal rights in a revolution that has spanned decades. The previous administration brought dreams to fruition. Marriage equality was a giant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights, and Trump has publicly expressed his disapproval of same-sex marriage. His supporters are quite vocal in their disapproval, fueling homophobia and rightfully causing alarm in the LGBTQ+ community.
Throughout his campaign, Trump supporters chanted “build the wall” at every rally. The commentary from the right extended beyond a hatred of illegal immigrants. Hispanic and Latino school children were bullied by classmates. American citizens were told “their kind” no longer had a place in America. Many were told Trump would soon kick them out of the country. The fears of the Hispanic and Latin communities are not unfounded.
The African-American community is no stranger to persecution. Despite claims that racism no longer exists, the uprising of hate groups and provocative statements coming from the right strike down the notion. The fight for equality has indeed made great strides since the 1960s, but it is still incomplete. Unfortunately, the current climate is a sign of reversal of progress. The Civil Rights movement is regressing, and the community is taking a hard stance against racism. Violence is on the rise, and the Klan itself is on the move. It has created an awareness of rapidly decaying race relations in the African-American community, and the concern has merit.
Growing right-wing support for a Muslim registry, coupled with Trump’s own statements on implementing a registry, are a slap in the face to a nation founded on freedom of religion. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion for all citizens, but registries would impinge upon these rights. Without a hint of irony, the right proclaims the United States is a Christian nation and Christians are persecuted, ignoring the First Amendment as Muslim communities are indeed persecuted. Muslims are certainly fearful, and with good reason.
Trump is unequivocally against abortion, and this rallied support from voters who wish to see Roe v. Wade overturned. While a complete overturn is not foreseeable, increased restrictions are possible. Many feel that further restricting access will decrease the number of abortions, but rates have continued to fall since the 1980s. This is likely related to an increase in the availability of birth control for the uninsured, yet Planned Parenthood, known for assisting women obtain contraception and healthcare, is under attack. A decrease in the availability of birth control will likely cause a spike in the number of abortions. Efforts to decrease abortions by taking aim at Planned Parenthood is a contradiction — one assured to backfire. Planned Parenthood also provides cancer screenings and mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act is imminent, and women are bracing for impact as they prepare to lose insurance coverage, and, quite possibly, the safety net of Planned Parenthood. Women are outraged, and their outrage is not baseless.
After Trump was elected, the jabs from the right became more vicious as Trump supporters snarled and bared their teeth at the aforementioned groups and the liberal left. The most common attacks are phrases expected in a schoolyard, but it continues nonetheless. Many on the right call for the left to leave the country if they don’t blindly agree with the new administration and its vocal supporters. Our founding fathers realized that preventing tyranny in the United States meant citizens needed the right to question, contest, and even overturn government.
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” — Benjamin Franklin
As hardcore conservatives bash the left for the symbolic use of safety pins to signify unity, the solidarity of differing groups should be noted. While conservatives largely stand alone in a group of like-minded individuals, the left seems to merge for a more united front. Encompassing all races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, and religious communities, it is hard to dismiss the movement and its widespread ability to bring people together. As the Women’s March across the nation drives crowds larger than political rallies and inauguration events, a nation often referred to as divided has a united front. A simple safety pin drove many together to fight against the right, and their continued taunts of safety pin-wearing leftists has emboldened a movement with such momentum that millions could thank the right for empowering a revolution.
Another common call is for liberals to return to a safe space, or that the left wants safe spaces to hide after a loss. The left unequivocally declares it indeed wants a safe space — a giant one. Liberals have repeatedly called for equal rights and humane treatment across the United States. The argument is the entire country should be a safe space for all its citizens. The Declaration of Independence states everyone is entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” While the right doggedly tries to silence differing opinions, the left stands tall and says they will never stand down in the face of oppression or tyranny. In fact, the left has declared to fight any attack on the rights of citizens, including those who seem to call for the banishment of unpopular speech, infringing upon the First Amendment. One could argue the U.S. was formed by unpopular speech.
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” — George Washington
While the right screamed “stop whining” and “suck it up,” the left took to the streets and took action. The “whining left” has mobilized. Some declare the left dead, but the media shows a different picture. The left appears stronger than ever in their fight for the common good. Conservatives have largely shed their self-perceived chains of politically correct speech and feel empowered to publicly proclaim bigotry and hatred. “Liberal tears,” “snowflakes,” and other taunts have fueled a revolution. The faces in the massive crowds are not crying; the faces are resolute in their goals. Pushes from the right are met with great resistance, and the left now shoves back. It is a sharp turn from the past, as the “tolerant left” now prepares to fight a lengthy battle. The willingness to turn the other cheek has faded as the right grows bolder. The left has taken a stand, called in the troops, and shows no sign of backing down from their cause. Their resistance is attributed to the behavior of the right, and it may once be remembered as sparking change.
It is important to note the rise in political involvement and activism shaping up in millenials. College students are vocalizing their concerns. As the right tries to squash their voices, they refuse to be pushed into a corner. Their willingness to fight for the rights of all people is a preview of future leadership in this country. If the United States depends on its youth to lead the country to a better future, today’s youth is demonstrating it will be a better future for all people.
As the nation prepares for inevitable changes with the new administration, the left can heartily thank the right for their crass behavior. It sparked unity and brought together the masses. If the right continues its taunts and fuels the left to retain its united front, the right might have signed its own death warrant.
Amy Pilkington was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. In fact, the rural town is so small that cows outnumber people. She still lives in that same little county, but she wants to be a beach bum when she grows up. Pilkington is married to a great guy and has four wonderful children, two spoiled dogs, and a beautiful granddaughter. This introverted writer has a broad range of interests and a tendency to bore quickly, which explains her varied works in multiple genres. Regardless, her works tend to delight readers and keep them coming back for more. Her series devoted to the pinup girls of World War II continues to draw in new fans thirsty for a glimpse into the lives of the starlets who lit up the silver screen during the war. She intends to continue feeding her fans a wide array of reading material.
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Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on January 23, 2017.