More Than A Snowflake

 

I am one of millions of American citizens unwilling to normalize the behavior of our President-elect and accept the views of his cabinet nominees as my new normal; at least not quietly.

According to his supporters, there is a word for people like me; snowflake.

The term has taken on many versions of the same meaning and traveled a circuitous route before finally landing among today’s political buzzwords. “Snowflake” is a pejorative for an entitled person. (Usually a liberal who takes issue with the actions, ideals, or tweets! of our President-elect.)

In November, when millions of voters were deeply disturbed that a man who ran a campaign on hostility, nationalism, xenophobia and misogyny was actually elected president, Kellyanne Conway used “snowflake” to describe Millennials who were upset about the election results.

“We are just treating these adolescents and Millennials like precious snowflakes.”

She also flippantly posed a question.

“What do these people actually fear?…What is the worst thing that happens, that Donald Trump will make good on his promise to create 25 million new jobs, unleash energy investment, get rid of Obamacare?”

This might be a leap, but a person with the luxury of casually posing such a patronizing ‘worst-case-scenario’ is an extremely entitled one. So, in an ironic twist, that must make Ms. Conway a precious snowflake too.

If she actually presented this hypothetical to any person of color, Muslim, member of the LGBTQ community, or woman, the answer would be a resounding, “NO!” Because obviously, that is not the worst thing that could happen.

The unprecedented public outcry, planned marches, and calls to action are because of real fear. Our fear has everything to do with this particular man, his policies, and his appointments. (Yep, sorry, that includes you, Ms. Conway.)

I’m not a Millennial, but I was a broken, emotional mess after the election. It’s been two months. If this were a self-indulgent tantrum, I’d be over it and out having brunch or getting my nails done by now. You know, like the precious snowflake I am.

Instead, I’m calling representatives, following calls to action, and hoping against hope that your worst case scenario is THE worst case scenario.

So Ms. Conway, since you asked…from one entitled snowflake to another; here is what I actually fear and who I actually am underneath that soft, snowflake exterior.

I am a mother concerned about the world we’ll leave to our children, and their children’s children. I hope my great, great, grandkids can play outdoors without a hazmat suit; and see polar bears in locations other than the extinct species list.

Our President-elect plans to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and repeal the Clean Power Plan – eradicating years of progress to cut greenhouse emissions. He, along with his pick for secretary of energy, deny climate change.

Our new secretary of state runs one of the largest oil companies in the free world, with deep ties to Russia. There is already talk of opening up government-owned national parks, wildlife refuges, and tribal territories, for drilling and mining. 

It is not looking good for the environment.

I am a mother, raising two young boys, who fears for the safety of our country. It concerns me when our President-elect haphazardly tweets about needing to ‘greatly strengthen and expand nuclear capability’; or when I see violent, racist acts committed in city parks, school hallways, and neighborhoods – in his name.

I am an educator wondering how science, history, and current events can be taught in a time when our highest leader regularly bends the truth and dismisses scientific facts when they are inconvenient to his message.

Our new secretary of education is a billionaire who has never attended or worked in public education. She supports anti-gay practices like ‘conversion therapy’ and would like to see religious schooling receive public funding. Our secretary of education should represent the interests of every student in public education; she does not.

I am a woman deeply concerned about the message our President-elect sends to men everywhere, including the two I am raising, about objectifying and disrespecting women.

I fear the consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood; especially for those who face systemic barriers to receive healthcare, and rely on services they provide for life-saving preventative care, and birth control.

I am a citizen of a nation founded on immigrants who is deeply disturbed that some of the most highly regarded positions in our government will now be held by the founder of a news organization responsible for the alt-right movement — endorsed by the KKK and the Neo-Nazis; and a US senator denied a federal judgeship for being too racist.

My resistance is not about my candidate losing and me not getting my way. It is much bigger than that. I fear the loss of decades of progress made for people of color, the LBGTQ community, women, and the environment. I fear the giant leap into the past that we are all about to take.

Call me a Snowflake, but I’m one of millions in this country truly terrified by the power granted to a man who has called climate change a hoax, made light of sexual assault, mocked the disabled, casually threatened to shoot his opponent, and is grossly unqualified for the immense responsibility he is about to assume.

I’m one of millions who believe we are in real trouble Ms. Conway. That it’s not a time to be silent, ignore words, and “give the benefit of the doubt.” This is not a high school student council election. Words matter, actions matter.

I am one of millions who will not be silenced by name-calling and condescension. We will not succumb to attempts at gas-lighting us into thinking we are ‘babies’ for having legitimate and important fears about the future of our nation.

I am one of the deeply troubled Americans who will gather and march after the inauguration, not to celebrate, but to send a message that while a few snowflakes may seem delicate and insignificant; millions together create a storm.