“Some Trump supporters demand #Repealthe19th”

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is a real thing.

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I’m not the only one horrified by #Repealthe19th. It is not something that offends only Democrats, only Hillary supporters, or only women. I recognize that it is not a serious political trend, it’s just in the news precisely because we love to be horrified.

But it’s not something Democrats (“Hillbots”) made up. #Repealthe19th existed before Nate Silver’s maps showed how the election would turn out if only women versus only men voted (these tweets go back much farther than a month):

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So I wish I could say this was a plot by Hillary supporters to make Trump supporters look bad, but sadly, a few Trump supporters are doing that all on their own. But whatever, it’s Twitter, and thanks to the 1st amendment, they can say whatever they want.

In less than a month, we will have a historic election, one in which the previous unspoken rules of our country are being shattered by both sides. A woman is running for president. So is a billionaire TV personality with no political experience. What the hell will we have next, a transvestite rabbit? So yeah, this election is shaking things up a bit. That’s generally a good thing. We can take it. Secretly, we love it.

Things always get crazy during presidential campaigns. You thought you loved your aunt, until she started tweeting about that racist narcissist. How could your brother not see that Hillary’s crimes against humanity are so egregious that she deserves imprisonment without trial? But when the ballots are cast and the ceaseless reality TV show that is our news coverage dies down, let’s please all go back to remembering that we’re on the same side here.

No matter who wins, we’re not going backwards. We’re not repealing any amendments (except the 18th [prohibition], that’s a done deal). Not even the 19th [gives women the right to vote], sorry, guys. Nor the 15th [gives all people regardless of race the right to vote–except women, because in the 19th century women weren’t people], nor the 2nd [the right to keep and bear arms, because as much as she might want to regulate it, even Hillary should admit this one isn’t going away]. I strongly suspect one of the candidates might see it in his best interests to repeal the 22nd [which limits the number of times that a person can be elected president; but if women aren’t people, would that apply to Hillary?]. However, for that to be relevant, Trump would have to win more than one presidential election, and we might lose our heads once but surely not a second time?

I get it. He’s charismatic (crazy people often are). He blusters, he gets people riled up, and he sounds great doing it. Until you transcribe his words and see what’s actually going on:

When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically.

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

He sputters and interrupts. He frowns a lot. He plays to the cameras, manages to get himself on the news for doing things that would get other people sued, lynched, or put in jail. He gropes women in elevators? More news! He’s not someone I’d leave any of my children alone with for any period of time, ever. The only good thing about #HB2 is that Donald Trump can’t dress in drag and lurk in women’s stalls. But he’s a showman in the business of selling his name. You can say anything you want about him, because he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

He can call her “Crooked Hillary” in every tweet, in every speech (and people will listen!), but this is what I see: She’s a grandmother. She’s the same age as my mom. When my mother grew up, it was normal for women to go to college, but kind of expected they’d work until they met a man, at most until they got pregnant. There’s nothing wrong with that, because if my mother hadn’t done it, I kind of wouldn’t be here. But at the same time, Hillary Rodham went to law school and graduated with honors. She met a man, and she married him, and then when he went on to be the President of the United States, she did not sit back and resign herself to decorating the White House Christmas tree. The nerve!

I really don’t need to know anything else. But I’d really like to see Trump try to grope Hillary’s ass.

So don’t tell me about the controversies and the lies and the times she said something to defend her cheating husband. If a woman slept with my husband, I’d probably call her a lot worse than a “bimbo.” She’s a politician who has conducted her entire adult life and marriage under scrutiny. The best way to tear a rival down is to make her look bad, and Democrats do this pretty much the same as Republicans, and none of us should take it too seriously.

Oh, it’s not that you don’t like her? Then don’t tell me about Supreme Court justices or #abortionismurder. You really think Trump of all people is going to toe the party line if he’s elected? Seriously?

We have a choice on November 8th, and despite the news focus, it’s not just about one election. The President is not even the most important or most powerful job in this country; if it were, we’d have a 9th Supreme Court justice by now. I don’t care who you’re voting for—please, just whatever you do, go out and vote. People gave up their lives to get you that right. Don’t waste it.

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America’s shame? Yes, but Britain’s hands aren’t clean.

The racially motivated terrorist attack/hate crime against the peaceful bible study participants at a Charleston church this week by one very sick individual has outraged our country and the world, opening us, yet again, to attacks by other countries–safe in their holier-than-thou gun control laws, convinced that these types of things wouldn’t happen elsewhere. They do. Mental illness is universal. Random acts of violence, by their very nature, are impossible to prevent except by excessively strict police states that we as a nation have not embraced–yet.

But America has a very real problem that this attack has turned the national spotlight on again. Good. As Jon Stewart said in one of the opening paragraphs of his scathing monologue, “I’m confident . . . that by acknowledging it, by staring into that [abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist] and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack shit. Yeah. That’s us.”

I wish Bill Nye, right as he is, were the voice we all listened to: “The color of our ancestors’ skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there really is no such thing as race. We are one species — each of us much, much more alike than different.”

Tribes exist, even in the animal kingdom. Cultural differences? Oh yeah, we’ve got those. White people are historically terrible at talking about race, but pretending that a “gaping racial wound” doesn’t exist because underneath our different skin colors, we’re really all the same? I’m a scientist at heart, and Lord know I’m an idealist, but even I know that’s not the answer.

We bleed racial differences. In our diverse schools, our gospel churches, our black pride parades…we are different. This is beautiful. This is terrifying. Black culture is different than white culture in America, is different from Muslim culture is different from Jewish culture is different from the many other wonderful ethnic cultures that are part of our not quite melted melting pot, and it is okay to recognize that. Violence associated with it is not. Tribal differences are part and parcel of being a hairless ape. Stereotypes are wired into our brain, probably somewhere deeper than the frontal cortex. To open our eyes and see the person underneath the skin adapted, more or less, to ultraviolet radiation–this is being human.

We have a long way to go. But we have to get there.

After the Charleston murders, Britain called us a nation of “too many guns” and “racially divided.” “America’s Shame,” their headlines said. But America is not alone. We did not, alone, cause this gaping black and white racial wound. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, eleven million women, men, and children were stolen from their African homes and taken, against their wills, to the Americas. Though the destination was almost always somewhere in the Americas, often the American South, the predominant slave traders were European, including the British. According to the National Museums Liverpool, “The London-based Royal African Company was the most important [slave trading company] and from 1672 had a monopoly of the British trade.” The main European nations involved in slaving were Portugal, Spain, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. That’s a lot.

Abolition was also not exclusive to the Americas–in 1808, slave trading was banned in Britain, and elsewhere. It continued illegally until shortly after the Civil War put an end to legal slavery in America.

But the scars remain. Scars caused by a slave trade driven by the European Imperialists, on one end, and the American market, on the other. No one’s hands are clean. Britain shares a part of that “gaping racial wound,” even if it’s not bleeding on their soil.

So don’t blame our gun laws, Britain. The weapon is not the killer. This was an act of terrorism, an act of hate, a horrible, horrible, crime. It was committed by one individual with hate in his heart, fear oozing from his pores, and illness in his mind. It highlights the shame we all feel for the terror that was committed against the African people many years ago, the consequences of which we are still trying to figure out how to make amends for. Our racial division is our shame, but if we look deeper, into the roots of history, we will see that it is not ours alone.

It might have begun when one white man walked onto a continent of people who looked not like him. He felt fear in his heart…and chose hate as the response. Echoes of Charleston this week?

For the record, except for some accidents of history, it could have happened the other way around.

But it didn’t.

It didn’t.