How I stand against the vile, intolerant, hateful speech and policy proposals of the President-elect (and how you can, too)

You may have noticed if you follow me on any form of social media that I haven't been quiet about my opposition to the President-elect.

I can't be.

This is not a Democrat-Republican or liberal-conservative divide. Those who have known me for a long time or read this blog on a regular basis can attest that during previous Presidential campaigns, I have been far less vocal about my political positions, simply because I felt that Americans were faced with the choice of two serious minded candidates who were both more than fit for the office. 

While I certainly preferred one candidate over another, I did not think that either candidate was bad for America, and therefore, I did not feel the need to be overly vocal. 

In the case of Donald Trump, I believe that we have elected a fundamentally indecent man who has said vile, despicable things about enormous numbers of American citizens and proposed unconscionable policies that in many cases would violate the Constitution of the United States and the fundamental rights of American citizens.

I do not believe that he is fit for the office of President of the United States.

Since he will soon be the President, I have sought ways of personally counteracting his hateful speech, his xenophobic policy proposals, and the fear that he has instilled in so many of the people who I know.

If you are feeling powerless, hopeless, angry, or afraid, it's important that you take action. Doing something productive and meaningful will always make you feel better and stronger. I promise you.

So far, I have done this by embracing, supporting, and promoting the things that he he has stood against most often.

For example:

  • I have strongly supported my Mexican, Muslim, female, immigrant, and disabled friends and promoted their acceptance and success whenever possible.
  • We have purchased subscriptions to The New York Times and Slate Plus in an effort to support the journalists who will work tirelessly to hold Trump accountable for his words and deeds.
  • My wife and I have called Senators and Congresspeople in order to express our opposition to appalling Presidential appointments like Steve Bannon.
  • I have sought to engage in constructive discussions with reasonable people who voted for Trump in an effort to understand them better and promote a more positive, liberal agenda to them.
  • I have sought to bring the voices of the marginalized and the maligned to the Speak Up stage in order to allow them to be heard beyond the hateful speech of Trump and his surrogates.
  • I have shared, endorsed, and proliferated news stories and other bits of media that stand against the Donald Trump's racist, misogynist, religiously intolerant, and xenophobic speech and policy proposals.

This holiday commercial for Amazon, starring an actual priest and imam, is exactly the kind of thing that I am talking about. It offers a beautiful message of religious tolerance, inclusion, and understanding. It has also incensed the religiously intolerant and xenophobic supporters of Donald Trump (especially when it aired during NFL games last weekend), so sharing it whenever possible warms my heart.

I'll do what I can, whenever I can, to stand against Donald Trump's vile and hateful speech and unconscionable policy proposals. Sometimes this simply means embracing and sharing the opposing voices.

Stop saying that women are beautiful.

I was speaking at a conference recently. There were seven speakers in all - five women and two men. Each of us was introduced prior to our talk by one of the organizers.

During the introductions of three of the five female speakers, the organizer mentioned the woman's physical appearance.

"... the brilliant and beautiful..."

"... not only is she beautiful, but she is a published expert in her field..."  

"... a beautiful woman with a bold vision..."

Pay attention to the way women are introduced at events like this in the future. Their physical appearance is often mentioned as a part of the introduction, and almost always by other women.

Conversely, men's physical appearance is never mentioned. I have been introduced hundreds of times prior to a speech, story, or talk, and my physical appearance has never been included in the list of accolades or accomplishments. 

This needs to stop, for a few reasons:

  1. It's inappropriate. Physical appearance is irrelevant and should not be touted as a means of introducing a speaker. Doing so implies that beauty is just as important as the woman's professional accomplishments or academic pedigree. The last thing anyone should be talking about is what a woman looks like prior to listening to her speak.    
  2. When you mention the beauty of one female speaker but fail to do so for another female speaker (or even a male speaker), you risk hurting the feelings or offending the speakers whose physical appearance was unmentioned. I couldn't help but wonder if the two women whose physical appearance was not mentioned at that recent conference noticed the difference in introductory content. It was also interesting to note that the two women whose beauty was not mentioned were African American, while the other three were white.   
  3. Mentioning a woman's physical appearance during an introduction is sexist. The notion that we would include female appearance but not male appearance in an introduction implies that a woman's appearance is an important and relevant part of her value to society.   

Even if you can't agree with these first three reasons (and I honestly can't imagine any sane person not), here is one based solely on logic:

Unless the audience is comprised of blind people, mentioning that a woman is beautiful before she takes the stage is simply stating the obvious. The audience members are about to see the woman, and her beauty will therefore be apparent. From a logical standpoint, mentioning the physical appearance of a speaker is redundant and meaningless, because that beauty is about to take center stage.

This may seem like a small thing to you, but it is not. The perpetuation of the notion that a woman's physical appearance is an important part of her value and worth to society must be stopped whenever possible. This constant, public acknowledgement of the importance of a woman's appearance seems innocent enough, but it represents and reinforces the sexist, shallow, and stupid notions that we have about what is important in our culture. 

If you're introducing a female speaker, say nothing about her appearance. 

If you're a woman who is about to be introduced, make a point of asking that your physical appearance not be mentioned as a part of your introduction.

End this stupidity today.