This election season has brought an outcome that many never expected. Donald Trump is the president- elect. A man who, for all intents and purposes, has been a circus act for decades is now the “leader” of the “free world.”
With this election has come a divided nation. There are those who voted for Trump and those who did not. And the majority did not. There are those who have taken the Trump win as a sign that the alt- right is now in power and that hate is the new norm and acceptable in the eyes of our law.
In just the last few days and weeks since the election, there has been a 50 percent rise in hate crimes. This week alone, three Muslim women, two MTA workers and one police officer were all assaulted because of their headscarves. They were pushed and injured both physically and emotionally, and that was just over the course of a few days. And just in one city.
These types of crimes have risen all across the country and continue to do so. While the president-elect has mentioned this intolerance, he has not addressed it in any way which shows that he is willing to do anything about it. There are no signs that his justice department with Jeff Sessions as the presumed Attorney General will prosecute those who perpetuate hate. Just this week at a Texas University an alt- right leader used the phrase “hail Trump,” and the Nazi salute was used at this gathering.
Across the nation, intolerance is moving ahead like wildfire with no indication it will be stifled in the near future. Everyone, it seems, is fair game. Blacks, Jews, Latinos, the LBGTQ community, women, liberals, disabled people, anyone who thinks differently or is different from the “standard of the alt-right.”
We have entered dangerous territory. There is a fear that continues to grow, and an incoming government that seems to be doing nothing to quell that fear.
In 1945, German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), who spent the last seven years of World War II in a German concentration camp because he was an outspoken foe of Hitler, said the following words:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We cannot remain silent as this hate is spreading. We cannot stay silent as our brothers and sisters, Black, white, gay, straight, Latino, poor, disabled, are ostracized, bullied, beaten, put down. We cannot stand by as we witness the abrogation of their civil and constitutional rights. We cannot stay silent as the clock is fundamentally turned back and this country returned to a place of even greater inequality and unrest.
We cannot stay silent while all the progress that our parents and grandparents worked so hard for is undone, law by law, under the incoming administration.
We cannot stay silent because that silence is consent, and there’s no way we can consent to the harbinger of doom.