A Facebook Op-Ed | Tristan Shields

A Facebook Op-Ed

I am running for office.

As you can probably tell from my Facebook feed I’m not happy about the election. I want to speak to my conservative friends out there.  I’m a white man who has lived all over the south for most of my life, playing rock music, soooo I probably have more Republican friends than most liberals.

I need to explain why we are so upset. We aren’t angry because we lost. Anyone who watched my brother Rory and me on NBC’s The Voice know that we are magnanimous in defeat. We are upset because, in our view, the election of Donald Trump has emboldened hate.

Maybe you don’t hate minorities, or women or immigrants. Maybe you think that Trump wasn’t really telling the truth when he said “grab them by the pussy, when you’re a star they let you do it.”  That is little comfort to the groups who have fought so hard to achieve a taste of the American dream, who strive towards true equality and a more perfect union. To gay couples who just got the freedom and privilege of marriage, losing that right is not an abstract notion but a real threat on their way of life. To minorities who are just now showing us how tenuous and dangerous their relationship with the police is, this is a signal that white America doesn’t get it. To the immigrant children in school who have their white classmates chanting “Build a wall” while they cry, this will scar them for life. For women, who only make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, who get yelled at on the street by men who address them as sexual objects, who are made to chose between spending time with their new born baby or going back to work, this is a slap in the face.

So to my conservative friends, please recognize that this is more than losing an election to us. To many, this is a threat to their safety and their way of life. Please reassure the people in your community that you bear them no ill intent, that you recognize them as people and accept them as part of your America. If you demonize people, don’t be surprised when they act like demons.

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