I woke Sunday morning to my phone chirping that a new text message had arrived. It was from my radio show co-host, Steph Taylor inviting me to a vigil to be held in our local town… a vigil for Orlando.
I did not know anything had happened in Orlando, but as with all other mass shootings, I usually got the first news from such a text as Steph’s.
A popular LGBTQ club called the Pulse had been invaded by an assault rifle wielding gunman and over fifty LGBTQ people were dead, and an equal amount severely wounded.
For whatever reason, my first exposure to commentary by those seeking to lead our nation was that of Donald Trump. He was opportunistic in his commentary. The first tweets I saw were: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Reporting that Orlando killer shouted “Allah hu Akbar!” as he slaughtered clubgoers.”
And “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban.”
While mentioning the “victims and their families” once, Mr. Trump never once commented on the hate crime that had been enacted on the LGBTQ community as a whole, or the feelings, impact and terror the days events had on us.
He did have a passing reference about “2nd man arrested in LA with rifles near Gay parade.” This, Mr. Trump reported as passionless information. The man, as it turns out, was not a second to the Orlando shooting, but completely unrelated. He also did not fit Trump’s Muslim ban narrative — the man in Los Angeles was from Indiana.
As Mr. Trump was trying to pad his islamophobic opportunism, I was engaging with one of his supporters on Twitter. The man’s tweet read “Well there was a bad shooting in the gay community. Sorry for your lose .” It was followed by a meme that read: “Nice!”
I contrast Mr. Trumps response with that of his rival, Mrs. Clinton. She wrote a measured commentary and included this specific message: “This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.”
Even former rival Ted Cruz, no ally to the LGBTQ community said, “Now is the opportunity to speak out against an ideology that calls for the murder of gays and lesbians. ISIS and the theocracy in Iran (supported with American taxpayer dollars) regularly murder homosexuals, throwing them from buildings and burying them under rocks. This is wrong, it is evil, and we must all stand against it. Every human being has a right to live according to his or her faith and conscience, and nobody has a right to murder someone who doesn’t share their faith or sexual orientation.”
Dear Mr. Trump,
I am a gay dad. I am the proud father of two boys, now both 13 years old, who I got as babies after they were given birth by drug-addicted parents. Our family is hurting today as an assault rifle-bearing thug targeted part of our LGBTQ American community. He entered a safe space and took lives of many people less than a decade older than my kids.
As we do in times of national tragedy, we turn to our leadership’s words for inspiration. We did collectively to Roosevelt in World War II, Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs, and to George W. Bush at 9/11. Whether we agreed ideologically with these leaders or not, we listened and embraced the inspiration they gave out. It was not necessarily because they themselves were brilliant, it was because we needed to find a sense of solidarity within ourselves.
So too now, we hear that call in President Obama’s commentary on the events in Orlando. He said to us, “This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.”
President Obama is a leader. You are not.
For whatever complexities this act of violence entails, at the core is a hate crime. The shooter’s father alleges that it was motivated by the shooter witnessing a kiss between two men in front of his child. As one who swears allegiance to a religion that throws suspected gay men from the tops of buildings, it is not difficult to see how such an event might throw him into an extreme and inordinate reaction. Most on the presidential stage today seem to understand that fact.
Except for you.
In your approximately 100-some words of tweets, you never once called out the hate crime terror enacted against the LGBTQ community. Mentioning the pain and shock millions of us are experiencing today seemed… inconvenient for you. It is as if such a mention might dilute your attempt to justify your own extreme ideas on Muslims in America. So, you danced on your drum beat of that mantra— throw the foreigners out.
In doing so, you are dancing on the new graves of our LGBTQ dead. Stop it.
As you “danced”, you jabbed at President Obama, “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”
Islamic terrorism has not been proven. Homophobia has. The shooter did not target Disney World. He targeted a “safe haven” for LGBTQ people. He was not making a point about American values, he was trying to terrorize those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and more to retreat from public view.
The fact that your commentary does not even allude to this fact means that you are perfectly willing for him to accomplish that goal. Silence from a person in power says as much as their commentary. Ronald Reagan still wears the taint of silence about AIDS for several years after the time he should have appropriately discussed it.
So, it appears will be the case with you and another disease’s name that cannot be uttered: Homophobia.
That means for me, and my family, that should you become elected as the next American President…. You won’t be MY President. You won’t be my family’s President. You won’t be my community’s President.
If anyone should resign in disgrace, Mr. Trump, it should be the person unwilling to represent all Americans when we are attacked. That person is, singularly, you.
It’s time to delete your account.
Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore
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Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer/Trans Musings From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
Another parent responds to the tragedy in Orlando. In this post it is Mr. Trump’s deeply insensitive comments that caught the attention of a gay dad.
That father really put Trump in his rightful place. I agree that Trump isn’t a leader and shouldn’t be given the responsibility of being a president, because, let’s face it: Trump is a total & complete liar and will only lead to failure and loss. No offence (actually I take that back!).
Also looking for more people to visit my site, as I am new here and would enjoy some guests. I recently published a blog about my teacher’s missing keys & how to find lost things, even if it is not my best advice…
Also, the killer called 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS. So it definitely is Islamic terrorism. And this incident is the epitome of an attack on American values- there’s nothing more American than latin night at a a gay club in the theme park capital of the world!
Well said sir…and I salute you for taking on the sometimes thankless job of being a dad….you have my sympathies and prayers…..this man will never be half the man you are…
I am always inspired by your eloquent way of calling out bigots, racist etc., as they all should be. Unfortunately in Trump’s case he is a narcissist through and through so he has no real feelings about others, only in how those others will effect/affect him. The very few times he has back tracked after many derogatory comments, (I suspect is because his campaign advisors have instructed him this MUST be done), it is neither heartfelt or sounds as if he has any concept of why, it is all an means to an end for him. Trump will never be anyones president, ( no matter how much rhetoric he spews) he cannot, he is only for himself, proven time and time again, (as he has always been). My heart breaks for these families, their friends, the victims, for their pain and loss. And for our country, that still has not learned that we are all equal, deserving of love and the freedom to have and express that love.
thank you for calling Trump on his actions.
Pressed on sifotsnextdoor. Rob, I don’t know what to say; I honestly have no words. I cannot imagine the kind of hate it takes a James Moore, this Manteen person to plan and carry out these very elaborate crimes. It is truly mind-bending to think that that kind of hatred even exists in the world, and yet, it continues to happen. These people have to purchase the weapons, buy the bullets and plan how they are going to most efficiently kill the most number of people, and their hatred sustains them throughout this entire process; I find this unknowable, yet I am a sociopath and let me explain.
I truly love people and care about my friends and loved ones, but I have either an added something, or something missing. Last March, my home was invaded by two men, while I was sleeping. My lizard brain sensed something awry, and in a flash of an instant, I grabbed a lamp with a heavy base in my left hand and turned over and swung. I missed the one guy going for my head, and the other guy who was trying to grab my ankles, I kicked and started yelling. They both took off; I live in da ‘hood and it’s da ‘hood. I beat up two muggers last year and never lost a minute’s sleep, and I hurt them badly. I’m legally blind, and use a cane, which is a great weapon, but I also have a punch like a mule.
Six weeks after I had my home invaded, one of my colleagues was murdered in his home in Dunellon, Florida during a home invasion. I cannot think what went wrong, as he had guns. But, he was beaten beyond recognition. In my sorrow, I was even more regretful that I hadn’t brained that guy who had invaded my house. Had I hit him? I would have killed him and never thought another thing about it. I will protect my friends and loved ones the same way, and the police in Tampa here know me. I have been Baker-Acted and I can do crazy really well, when it’s needed, but I keep it under control.
But, this is an entirely different type of situation. This is pre-meditated murder and it beggars the imagination how people can carry this kind of hate towards anyone. We should be celebrating our differences. God forbid, I should go back to Scotland and live. It would be like living on a planet of Myself and that’s boring. Not making light, but I fail to understand how anyone’s sexuality threatens anyone else, or why it should ever matter. Donald Trump is a horrible person, but by God, he has his finger on the pulse of the haters in this country and the GOP went and shot themselves in the foot, when Reince Priebus made everyone take that loyalty oath. But that’s another topic.
I started out saying “I have no words” but I guess I had a few. I’m just appalled at the loss of life; the grieving families and the horror of it all. I maintained earlier that we may as well be back in time, pre-1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Detroit to a white man. None of us are free and equal, if all of us aren’t free and equal to live safely within our borders. My heart bleeds and my love and prayers, light and hope go out to those in need during this time. </3
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Reblogged this on Jorda's Blog.