I should be doing so many other things right now. Drafts, comments, edits, articles, bills, and more are piled and begging my attention. But to write this is all I can do for the moment. Last night and early this morning, over half of the population looked me in the eyes and said, “We don’t give a fuck about you or your kind.”
At least, that’s what it felt—feels—like.
Compulsively, today, my mind has been playing, over and again, a Celebrity Apprentice clip I saw right when Trump’s campaign was announced, one where he says to a woman at the table, “Must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.”
And I weep.
I know your feeds are likely filled, as mine are, with statements of outrage, fear, pain, disgust, and also plenty of appeals for love and kindness, so I won’t take up your time with my grievances. I do have one thing to add to the conversation, though—something I haven’t heard anyone say, something I believe:
Family is not more important than standing up for yourself and others.
I’ve spoken to a few friends and have seen a slew of posts from people who are dreading the holidays with their conservative families. They’re heartbroken and outraged knowing their siblings/parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins voted Trump, but still (And is it any surprise?) feel oppressed and obligated to bite their tongues, to sit through prayers thanking god for blessing America with a conservative presidency, to brush off the sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, racist comments and asides out of “respect for our elders,” loyalty and obligation to the family unit.
Last night, a relative who voted Trump told me that our political differences aren’t worth causing a rift in our family or relationship. Frankly, I disagree. When women’s rights, the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, and Black, Latino, and so many other lives are at stake, it’s absolutely worth it.
I’m here to say it’s okay not to like your family; it’s even okay not to love them. It’s okay to call Grandpa out at the dinner table; it’s okay not to go to family gatherings at all. It’s okay to demand your family treat you, in your entirety, with the respect they’ve always demanded for themselves. If you feel like it’s “their house, their rules” then don’t go inside. Better yet, find a different house and make your own family.
Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I was raised a military kid and perfected the art of detachment at a young age, but this is what I want to emphasize most: You’re not saddled with the family you were born into. You’re allowed to question it, leave it, call it out, and find or make one that will stand up for you and with you. Justice, equality, and autonomy are so much more important than blood.