MEMBERS ONLY: Every Day, I Learn to Hate My Trump-Voting In-Laws a Little Bit More

by Justin Rosario

After my in-laws proudly announced they had voted for Donald Trump, I had my wife Debra explain to them that I would not be speaking to them again for the rest of their lives. To say that they were stunned would be an understatement. I had put up with their right wing racist bullshit for the better part of twenty years but the fact that they voted for white nationalism was simply too much. America is a free country. They were free to be horrible, hateful people and I was free to never be in their presence again.

Almost a year later, Deb’s mother, the less Fox Newsed of the two, is still laboring under the misconception that this is all about politics and sour grapes. Someday, I’m going to sit her down and I’m going to explain to her that she voted for a monster that has put every aspect of my family in danger. This is not about the big stuff like kicking off WWIII and being vaporized in a nuclear fireball, which, the way Trump carries on, is still a possibility. No, this is about the day-to-day horrors she happily voted for so she could stick it to those uppity Negroes that thought they could have a president of their own.

In just one year Trump has:

Emboldened anti-Semitism to the point that neo-Nazis proudly march in the streets. Steve Bannon has built a movement based on white nationalism and is finding candidates that will appeal to that kind of voter. Already freed from “political correctness” by Trump, conservative voters will find it very easy to vote for openly fascist monsters as long as they promise to get rid of Those People.

Debbie’s mother and stepfather will loudly protest that they would never support anyone that would hurt their beloved 1/4 Jewish grandchildren but once you’re OK with getting rid of the people you hate, it doesn’t take much to go the rest of the way. First they came for the Socialists…

In just one year Trump has:

Stoked hatred against Latinos, making it more likely that my donor son Kyle will be the victim of a hate crime if he ever leaves the relative safety of a major city. The same goes for his mothers and my best friends, Maria and Jenny. It won’t matter that they’re American citizens, they have dark skin and speak two languages. In Trump’s America, that’s enough of a reason for someone to threaten or attack them.

Maybe someone will harass them on the subway. Maybe that someone will pull out a knife and leave two dead bodies in his wake. Debbie’s mother has never liked the idea of Debbie allowing me to be a donor father to a lesbian couple so this probably wouldn’t bother her all that much. Slippery slopes don’t start with a steep drop….

And just as added bonus, Trump has spent the last month letting Puerto Ricans die because they’re not “real” Americans as far as Trump, his administration, and far too many (thank Dog not all) Republican voters are concerned. One of them actually said, after getting help when their house flooded a few weeks previously, to the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s a problem, but they need to handle it. It shouldn’t be up to us, really. I don’t think so. They’re sitting back, they’re taking the money, they’re taking a little under the table. He’s trying to wake them up: Do your job. Be responsible.”

People are dying but they’re not “real” Americans so they’re not “real” people. Funny how quickly we pick up speed on that slippery slope.   

In just one year, Trump has:

Given the religious right leave to openly attack the LGBT community again. This is just getting started but it will snowball. The right is still outraged at marriage equality and not having the legal right to beat up gay kids in school bathrooms. Now that Trump has become the first president to speak to anti-LGBT hate groups at the laughably misnamed “Values Voters Summit” to tell them that their “right” to discriminate will be restored, violence will quickly follow.

Again, Maria and Jenny will be mostly safe within the confines of New York City but the kind of poison Trump’s hate inspires will spread as it always does, putting my family in danger just for being who they are. And again, if people they hardly know get hurt, that’s just the price my in-laws are willing to have other people pay to make America white again.

But it’s more than just racism and bigotry. Trump and the Republican Party are waging an all out war on women, the vulnerable, and the federal government as well.

In just one year, Trump has:

Thrown the federal workforce, of which my wife is a part of, into chaos. He has no ideological purpose for doing this because Trump has no ideology other than Trump. Instead, he’s doing the bidding of of both Steve Bannon and Vladimir Putin who both want the collapse of the United States government. In Bannon’s case, so he can bring about the white nationalist ethnostate of his dreams. In Putin’s case, to remove the largest obstacle to his rise in global power. Republicans are going along with it because they’re too busy dreaming of all the ways their corporate masters will benefit from a crippled government.

The funny part about this is that Deb’s parents are comfortably retired on government pensions while we may be told we have to move across the country because Debbie’s job was eliminated with a pay cut that will leave us in poverty. Even if that (fingers crossed) doesn’t come to pass, we have to live every day knowing it can. The stress is enormous and takes a toll. Not that Grandma and Grandpa will care. They got what they wanted, after all.

In just one year, Trump has:

Made it more likely my daughter Anastasia will be raped when she goes to college because Betsy DeVos’ twisted religion tells her men have a right to do as they please. Yes, she claimed she was repealing college guidelines for dealing with campus sexual assault because it was “unfair” to the accused but let’s be honest, the problem was that the guidelines were holding men accountable for their actions. 

It’s important to remember that the religious right does not acknowledge the existence of rape culture. They barely even acknowledge the existence of rape itself so anything preventing men from sexually gratifying themselves at the expense of women is a problem to be dealt with.

The epidemic of campus rape is an issue that will take decades to deal with and now that the Trump administration has reset the clock, the chances of my daughter being assaulted have gone up. Thanks, Grandma! Hope that MAGA hat was worth it.

In just one year, Trump has:

Started to undermine protections for special needs children like my autistic son Jordan. Why? Again, because Betsy DeVos’s religion is a religion of cruelty. Trump could care less so he’s letting her do whatever she wants and apparently what she wants is to let families with special needs children fend for themselves.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, getting kids like Jordan an education is expensive. However, the economic cost of ignoring them is even higher, making it difficult to defend. The social cost is higher still and even more difficult to justify. The moral cost is so high it’s simply indefensible, especially if you’re a “devout” Christian as DeVos claims to be. Any society that has unlimited money for war and tax cuts for the rich but treats special needs children as a burden to be shirked cannot claim to be morally superior to even the most debased dictatorship.

If DeVos has her way, will Jordan even be able to attend school by the time he’s a teenager? My wife and I have no way of knowing and that’s another level of stress to live with while her parents bask in the glow of Trump’s racism.

Yeah, it’s hard not to take this assault on my family personally. I’ve never particularly liked Deb’s mother and stepfather because of the barely concealed racism. Now? The fact that I have to let them near my children fills me with loathing.

One of the small comforts I have in all of this is that when my kids are old enough to make their own decisions about their grandparents (around 16 or so), I’m going to sit them down and tell them what kind of people they are, how much they hurt us, and why they did it. Jordan’s autism may or may not prevent him from understanding the damage Trump inflicted on our family and the country but Anastasia, at age 7, already knows that very bad people march under Trump’s banner. She’s going understand it perfectly.

My in-laws were eager to vote for hate and now their legacy will be their grandchildren looking at them and wondering how they could have voted for a monster knowing what would happen. Maybe they’ll have to answer the question, “Why didn’t you care that Trump’s followers want to put people like me in a gas chamber? How could you vote for that? What’s wrong with you?” 

I seriously doubt “Hillary’s emails” will cut it as an answer.