Op-Ed: Orlando Democratic Chair Wes Hodge on privilege and patriotism in the face of the new administration

By : Wes Hodge
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wes-hodgeIt’s clear that life in the U.S. is changing at a rapid pace. With pen strokes, centuries of policy and progress are being erased. No longer is America the country open to the world’s huddled masses. A land made up almost entirely of immigrants has suddenly slammed the door shut! Communities which have struggled for decades to gain recognition and equality are almost immediately having them stripped away.

This is a new America. No longer are we the land of the free and the home of the brave. But as described in a dark inauguration speech, “from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.” Donald Trump, listen to me loud and clear, this is NOT my America.

We cannot make America great again with your “leadership.” Our greatness comes from our diversity. We are not a land where birthright and gender dictates where you will go in life. We are the land of hope, of opportunity. We are a land where one can take the many resources available and achieve great things. An immigrant’s daughter can go to Harvard, a coal miner’s son can become a CEO, and an LGBTQ citizen can marry their lifelong partner. This isn’t because they come from a place of privilege, but because they are an American citizen. A citizen proclaimed through the Constitution to be equal to every other American.

Our black brothers and sisters have broken from the chains of slavery and risen to the highest office in our land. Our sisters and mothers have gained their political voice, yet they continue to struggle for domain over their own body. Our Muslim neighbors have been targeted by attacks and travel bans, not because they are bad or malicious, but because they share a religion with evil people which hijacked that religion to kill innocent people across the globe. Finally, to my LGBTQ family, persecuted for centuries not because of a choice we made, but because we were born differently. I never made a choice. As Lady Gaga said, “I was born this way, baby.” We finally have the right to marry, to provide for the ones we love, and to engage in the same joys and struggles as our straight counterparts. If you think we are quietly back into the closet, you are dead wrong!

We are your sons, your daughters, your brothers, your sisters, and most importantly, dammit we are Americans. The Constitution was not written exclusively for straight America, it was written for ALL Americans.

Donald Trump, I will close with words from your inaugural address, “when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”

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