Now is Not the Time for Polite Debate

I do not feel good. I feel pissed off. I feel deeply saddened. I feel terrified. I struggle to sit down and write this. Trump is turning out to be far worse than anyone imagined. It is a very real possibility that our republic may not survive this.

I am learning to accept that there will be days during the Trump administration when I am filled with rage.

One of the darkest moments of my week was being included on an email to about ten Thompson men, mostly my uncles and second cousins. In it, my second cousin who lives in Seattle asked us to engage in a back and forth debate about Trump via email because he had just learned that three of our family members support and stand behind Trump, even after what they’ve seen the past ten days. Somehow, they feel that getting behind Trump, just like they have every other president, is patriotic. They don’t see that it’s actually the most unpatriotic, unAmerican thing they could do. Resistance is patriotic. My Seattle cousin wants to change their hearts and minds and I thank him for that.

I reacted to the email by immediately responding that I’m too busy to engage in debate because I’m trying to organize with, and support, the marginalized people in my neighborhood. I typed, “If you want to fall in line with Trump, fine, but I don’t have time for that bullshit. Resist!”

Now is not a time for polite words. Now is not the time for debate like we used to have it.

Now is the time for using messages that convey a sense of urgency and fear of what is to come. Now is the time for messages that shock people out of their daze. Now is the time to snap into action. I do not have patience to walk my privileged, white family members, many of whom have never experienced their rights being at risk, into understanding why we are in a nightmare. If they don’t get it, I’m not sure they’re going to be in on this fight to save our republic.

The time for polite sharing of ideas and having political conversation back and forth was months and months and months ago. We are now in crisis and if we are not actively resisting, or searching for ways to resist, we are missing the opportunity to do it because our republic is slipping away before our eyes.

Deep breath. Whew.

I am so fucking upset about where our country is, and where some of my family stands. It’s hard to convey the depth of it.

If you are reading this and you can hear me, I hope you know that we are in a dire situation. I hope you know I’m thinking and searching every day for the ways I can resist.

This is how weird the divide in our country is right now. About an hour after reading the email from my cousin, one of mine and Nick’s neighbors who lives on our block, messaged me on Facebook. He’s an immigrant from Mexico and moved here to work in a senior position at one of the major tech companies you use daily which is headquartered here. He was reaching out to ask how to get involved with our Neighborhood Action Coalition. I asked him if I could share the words he wrote me in our Facebook chat, he said yes:

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He said he’s going to start coming to our Neighborhood Action Coalition meetings. And, we connected when we might not have otherwise. So, there’s that. But, the bright spots are tiny, especially when the news headlines look like this on my phone:

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I had planned to center this post around the positive and optimistic things I’m seeing. Indeed, we’ve seen some big activist wins this week and I was part of a great and hopeful meeting at the Seattle Transit Riders Union last night. But, I canned all that for a later time because my rage and anger is overwhelming this morning and it feels insincere to tell you happy things.

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