High Fidelity: Silent no more

By : Miguel Fuller
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MiguelFuller_MugOK. I’m going to be honest with you. I had a road map for what I was going to write about for this column. I literally finished the first draft. For the past two weeks I’ve been watching people rip into each other on social media about all sorts of issues: The election and President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks: the battle for St. Pete Pride and where the parade will be held; and, of course, friends’ relationship drama. My heart was hurting for everyone.

I was going to write about having empathy for those around you. Listen. Understand. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, then decide how you want to proceed. You know what? I’m done. Here’s why.

Right now I’m sitting in my apartment watching CNN. I’ve been watching the inauguration of our 45th president, Donald J. Trump. It’s been hard to sit back and watch all day. I should have turned the TV off, got an extra-large bucket of popcorn and bought a ticket to see Hidden Figures again (by the way, see that movie – so good). I’m a glutton for punishment. I guess that’s why I go to CrossFit every day and kill myself with insane workouts. I like to torture myself. That’s coming to an end.

I will not be silent.

Here’s what I mean: I’m not one to engage in crazy social media back and forth. For one, I don’t have the patience to go toe-to-toe with people on Facebook or Twitter. That can be so tiring when you have those trolls that will go into the middle of the night fighting you on something trivial. I’m going to have to change that. Watching Donald Trump walk into the White House this afternoon literally sent a cold chill down my spine.

During the election process, he was that wrecking ball Miley Cyrus use to talk about. He tore down ALL the walls of what we know of being presidential. I’m sure by the time this goes to print we will have witnessed a Trump twitter meltdown…or two. I don’t want to sit here and go down the list of everything he has said and done. We all know.

I feel like it’s my duty to speak up now. There was a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that caught my eye as we celebrated him on his holiday: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So what does that mean? Every time I see someone post “Make America Great Again,” do I respond with, “Who are we making it great for again because as a gay black man I sure don’t feel it!” No. I’ll let those slide.

What I will do is call out BS when I see it. For example, if someone is sharing a video or meme of Trump’s new cabinet picks while praising them, I’ll simply state facts about the people he is picking. Like his tap to lead the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos. She is a billionaire. She’s not even an Oprah size billionaire. According to Forbes, her family is worth $5.1 billion. That’s a lot of zeros. She has never been to a public school, never had to borrow money for student loans. (Anyone still paying off student loans 10 years after college? This guy!) During her confirmation hearings she dodged questions on whether she would defund public schools. Scary stuff. These are the type of facts I want my friends who support Trump to know. I’m not trying to sway them, I just want them to be armed with all the facts. Isn’t that what they did with Obama during his entire presidency?

Here’s why it’s so important to do that to your friends that support Trump: Our 45th President does not deserve a blank check to do whatever he wants. No president deserves that. We held Obama’s feet to the fire when it felt like he wasn’t moving fast enough on LGBTQ rights, so Mr. Trump should not be able to enact laws that will send us years back into the closet.

As I’m coming to the end of this, I’m wondering if I’m being petty. Shouldn’t I just respect the office of the president? Of course. I hope and pray that in four years Trump has proven us all wrong. Maybe he will be an unlikely ally and end up being super inclusive. Sadly, all the hoping in the world will probably prove that’s not true. So until the next election, be vigilant. You don’t have to argue with your Trump supporter friends, simply point to the facts.

NOW it’s time for me to turn off the TV, pop some popcorn and put in a movie! Here’s to the next four years!

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