How can I continue to socialize with people who want to legally discriminate against people I care about in the name of religion? Increasingly I can’t.
I know quite a few people who are very pleasant, even fun to hang out with – so long as the topic doesn’t stray into politics, social issues, culture, religion or anything even remotely serious. I’d guess most of us do. Some of these people are unconsciously racist in the way only white beneficiaries of structural racism can be. Others are blind to their white privilege. Others are single-issue voters who will forgive every other sin so long as “we stop killing the babies” or “support the Second Amendment.” Still others are conspiracy theorists, or American-style “libertarians,” or “burn it all down” types who don’t think through the horrible consequences that destroying the United States would bring to the very people they’re trying to help.
These people are coworkers, friends, and family.
I know quite a few people who will support Donald in 2020, and did in 2016, because their one issue, or because they think he’ll bring the fall sooner, or because he’s a Republican. Because they don’t know about how horrible Donald truly is, or because they can’t allow themselves to imagine that he is an actual American fascist, or because they don’t care, or because they know these things and still support him anyway.
Just yesterday (6/12/2020) the Administration reversed an Obama-era regulation that interpreted “sex discrimination” to include gender – on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre that killed and injured nearly 100 LGBTQ+ patrons and during Pride month. At the same time, the Administration also made it even easier for individuals and organizations to discriminate against Americans in need of health services on the basis of religion. Now women seeking abortions and who have had abortions previously may be denied health insurance and services by individuals and organizations who have moral objections to abortion.
I have a daughter, a wife, a sister, a mother, and women cousins, inlaws, friends, and coworkers. Any or all of them could be affected by the Administration’s anti-women, pro-sex discrimination changes.
I have friends and family who are LGBTQ+ and who knows how many acquaintances who are in the closet, at least to me. Now it’s officially legal to discriminate against them – again.
Anyone who supports Donald, for whatever misguided or outright immoral reason they do so is partly responsible for stripping away the rights of people I care about. And that bothers me greatly.
Some of the pro-Donald people I know would probably claim that women and LGBTQ+ people “shouldn’t have any more rights than anyone else.” The problem is that they have always had fewer rights – the Obama era regulations were an attempt to give them the same rights as straight male cis-gendered people.
Other pro-Donald people I know would say that their freedom of religion and “moral conscience” should outweigh every woman’s body autonomy and the ability of LGBTQ+ people to be given the same medical care as everyone else. Last I checked the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution – the founding documents of the United States of America – both enshrined equality within them.
Let me be blunt: if your religion calls you to ignore women’s body autonomy or to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, or anyone at all for that matter, your religion is in opposition to American values and to humanitarianism and it’s time to find a better religion. After all, how long will it be before someone founds some bullshit whites-only religion where the scripture demands re-enslaving blacks and Donald’s Administration OKs religious discrimination based on skin color.
I keep on asking myself how can I continue to socialize and work with pro-Donald people, especially given that they will self-righteously fuck over the women and LGBTQ+ people in my life the instant the opportunity presents itself, and they’ll do so over and over and over again without so much as a second thought.
Increasingly the answer is “I can’t.” Not and maintain any self-respect, anyway.
There’s not much I can do about my co-workers who fall into this camp. I could quit my job, of course, but most of my co-workers are decent people and I can compartmentalize well enough to not need to quit when the unemployment rate is 14%. But I will do my damndest to avoid working with coworkers whom I know are pro-discrimination, and pro-Donald.
As far as family goes, I already have very little contact with pro-discrimination, pro-Donald family members, and I’ll do my best to keep that contact to an absolute minimum whenever possible.
I have a lot more control over my social circle, and so I’m going to assess every single friend and social relationship I have to determine if the cost of contact is too high to justify the benefits I get from the relationship. And if the benefits don’t substantially outweigh the costs, then it’s time to leave them behind as the weight they have become.
This won’t be easy or painless, but I expect that, in the long run, I’ll be a lot happier for it.