My Body, Myself? What Straight White Men Aren't Getting

October 18, 2016

Do you own your life? Is your body yours?

Can you walk yourself down the street without fear of getting shot by a cop?
Can you vote without being called a fraud, or monitored and harassed at the polls?

Can you wear what you like and act how you like without fear of being sexually assaulted?
Can you choose what medical procedure to have, and when, without excess restriction from the state?
Can you place your body in bed with your spouse without fear that you’ll wake up in the morning, your marriage dissolved, your relationship criminalized?

Can you use the restroom that suits you without fear of violence or legal trouble?

Can you cross borders that you never drew in order to feed your body and care for your family?

Can you be sure you won’t be crammed onto a train and forced against your will to return to the very place you'd chosen to leave?

For women, blacks, LGBT, and Latinx people, this election is about nothing less than dominion over our bodies. It’s about whether we have self-determination, or whether our bodies and our lives are criminalized, commoditized, and subject to the whims of powerful men who are protected by our culture and our laws.

Despite his vows against Marriage Equality and Roe vs Wade, despite his race-baiting, his poll-watchers, his deportation force, his wall, Trump still enjoys the support of straight white males at something like 60%--the only demographic he is handily winning.

These men--who get so outraged when they feel forced to refrain from using certain words, or certain drugs, or certain guns--somehow fail to transfer their outrage into empathy for their friends and loved ones who are forced to flee the country, or hide in the closet, or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. They would rather the election be about ISIS, or taxes, or the declining middle class.

Trust and believe, so would we.
Many of us are sick to our bones of every damn election becoming a referendum on our bodies, our sex lives, our status as citizens, our humanity. We’d also like to get red about the TPP, or government transparency. We’d also like to end poverty, both rural and urban.

But ending poverty won’t end the centuries-old institution of white patriarchy in this country, and defeating ISIS won’t defeat the fascist impulse at home.

For many of us, there simply can be no progress on any other issue until we’ve settled, once and for all, the question of whether people in this country are due the self-determination to go about our lives unmolested by the state, or by people who think they own some piece of us.

That’s what this election is about. And we will win because, for us, everything depends on it. So if you’re one of those few straight white men standing up loudly and proudly against Trump: thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And if you're one of those 60% of white men supporting Trump, please consider this:
When the state has enough power to gun down your neighbor, deport your co-worker, dissolve your brother's marriage, and interfere in your sister's medical care, do you really think being white, straight, and male will protect you from what comes next?

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