Fighting against hate

The presidential election is a nightmare that keeps on giving.

Earlier this week, President-elect Donald Trump announced Stephen Bannon, head of the conservative, racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic “news” site Breitbart, would be his top policy adviser.

I didn’t believe it at first either. If you hadn’t heard of Bannon or Breitbart News before this week, consider yourself lucky. Breitbart is a vile website that has touted headlines like “Hoist it High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage,” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” This site is heavily associated with the so-called “alt-right” movement, which has been a breeding ground for white supremacy and hate. 

Do we want a certifiable bigot advising our president on policy? Does a champion for the American Nazi Party and KKK belong in our president’s inner circle?

Of course not.

Today, I join over 150 members of Congress in speaking out against Bannon’s appointment. Rep. Gwen Moore called Bannon a “hate peddler.” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said that Bannon was a “champion of racial division.” We’ve been loud and proud in our discontent.

And what have Republicans said?

You guessed it. Nothing. They’ve been silent. House Speaker Paul Ryan even praised Trump for his decision, saying that “this is a person who helped [Trump] win an incredible victory.”

The alt-right movement is doing everything in their power to normalize hate. We cannot normalize racism, sexism and Islamophobia.   

The numbers prove it - Trump has given license to hate. The Southern Poverty Law Center announced that more than 300 incidents of hate crimes have been reported since Trump’s election last Tuesday. And those are just the ones being reported. People across the country are waking up in a nation that they don’t feel safe in. And that’s a problem.

Trump said a lot of hateful things during his campaign. We haven’t forgotten. But he won, and we can’t change that. In January, Trump will be sworn in, and he will be the president of every person of every race, religion, and gender. Trump’s job now is to unite the country, not further divide it. Appointing an advocate of white supremacists as his top policy advisor is not the way to do it.

I still believe that love trumps hate. I know that we will emerge from this stronger and more united. But only if we all get off the sidelines and get in the fight against hate. It isn’t enough to post an angry Facebook status about Bannon. You need to contact your elected officials and tell them that you won’t stand for a bigot in the White House and that they shouldn’t either. Your elected officials are there to listen, so let your voice be heard loud and clear.

Moments like these define us as a people. Years from now, will you feel like you did everything you could to stop hate and bigotry? I refuse to live in a world where hate wins, and I hope you will join me.

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