I wrote this column on Memorial Day, a day when we as a country mourn our lost veterans and give thanks for service members past and present. Although, for many Americans, it’s a day to grill burgers, drink beer and maybe put on a T-shirt with an eagle on it or American-flag swimsuits.
Mostly I feel sad this Memorial Day. Sad that our veterans and current service members have such an utterly incompetent and unworthy commander-in-chief. America owes them all an apology.
I’m also sad about the 1,500 or so children that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ripped from their parents and put into “foster homes or whatever” only to lose track of them. It’s a nightmare, catastrophic, and sickening. It’s happening right here, right now.
I’m also sad because the NFL will punish players who kneel for the National Anthem in protest of police murdering unarmed black and brown men, women and children. If you’re outraged by people kneeling during the anthem, but you haven’t managed to muster that same amount of outrage for the many homeless veterans in this country, I’m going to go out on a limb and say your issue isn’t respect for troops so much as it is contempt for black and brown people.
But I’m not just sad; I’m angry. And I hope you are, too. There’s so much work to do to stem the tide into the cesspool of Trumpism. But one of the most important things you can do is to work to elect decent people to government. You must vote, but not only that, involve yourself in a campaign. Volunteer to make phone calls, knock on doors, talk to voters. Many great candidates are running across the country, and they need your help. You are busy — I get it, we all are — but do you want to look at your children/nephews/fur babies years from now and say, “When Trump was president I binge-watched all of the seasons of ‘The Great British Baking Show’ and ‘BoJack Horseman’ because I just couldn’t even.” No. No, you do not.
Because that’s how people like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, continue to hold office. Rohrabacher, a name that comes up repeatedly in the Russia investigation that is not a hoax, recently declared that it should be lawful for people to refuse to sell houses to gays.
“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone [if] they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrabacher told a group of Realtors according to the OC Register.
In case you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, don’t. Because later when asked for clarification he doubled down.
“We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” Rohrabacher said. “A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”
First of all, I have some strong doubts that Rohrabacher is even cool with the line drawn at racism.
Secondly, for anyone who was wondering where the fight over bakers making cakes for gay weddings was heading, this is it. It’s why cakes matter. It was never about cakes. It’s about real people’s lives.
Thankfully, this display of anti-gay animosity led the National Association of Realtors to stop contributions supporting Rohrabacher.
“We certainly hope that Congress will … support the elimination of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the NAR declared in a statement.
I’m also happy to report that Rohrabacher faces many challengers in this next election. According to the OCR, Rohrabacher “is facing 15 challengers, including eight Democrats” and, “For the first time in 15 terms, Rohrabacher, a perennial shoo-in, might finally have cause to worry about his incumbency.”
As he should. Because he is trash.
If you’re in Orange County, find someone running against Rohrabacher and add them to your dance card.
If you live elsewhere in the country, no doubt you have a Rohrabacher to battle. Put on your volunteer armor and get to work.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.