Dear lovely friends around the world,
this is an open letter in which I am processing; please forgive my bluntness and directness. It has been less than a week since the US presidential election results and I am still trying to understand what happened. People are hurt, scared, mourning and some re-living their traumata, because many Trump followers think being hateful, racist, sexist is OK and cool now... I read about too many stories, and my heart is bleeding of sadness and anger.
At first I felt my only weapon was to spread love and focus on my music. Then I realized that is not enough! Love is an action word, and there is much more that needs to be done! Donald Trump can be stopped, through the electoral system as intended by our constitution. By popular vote Hillary received 200,000+ more votes. Over 4,350,000 people have signed this petition already! NOW is the time to mobilize and get into action!
My best (and black) girlfriend asked me this question, which at first baffled me: "How do you take responsibility as a white person for this result."
Me? I grew up very anti-American all my life, listening to world news every morning and hearing what the US did around the world, often feeling disgusted. I came to NYC because I fell in love with the city to my absolute surprise. I made friends with liberals, foreigners, immigrants, blacks, Christians, Jews, Muslims, people from the LGBT community... What I first developed as a high school student in Austria through reading and studying MLK and black American history (I chose to specialize in it for my high school graduation) - a deep compassion for black Americans – deepened when I arrived here. I played in a black gospel church for years, have been teaching over 100 black children the violin so far, have recorded a song and filmed a video called "Building Bridges", which the Mayor of Selma/Alabama used for his re-election. I wrote a song after Trayvon Martin got killed and have been speaking up against guns. These are some examples how I use my music as an activist.
Tuesday before the results came in my amazing new producer Steve Greenwell chose my song Freedom as my next first single (of my new sound and EP, you can support and pre-order it HERE!). I started to write it on 7/4/15, and what was first a very critical American political song turned into a world anthem for freedom, justice and human rights for ALL!
I take responsibility for not engaging in conversations with Republicans about their views, and by disconnecting myself when I realize our principals and values are so different: I realized that I am not friends with any white person who voted Trump, possibly one person I haven't talked to in months. That may be the problem. I have never even bothered to seek out or become friends with any. I used to have a Swiss/American friend I was close to. And our friendship was definitely hurt by our very opposite opinions; she turned into a Republican after she got married to one during the time when Bush went to war in Iraq. I was all against it, knowing it was based on lies. I avoid political discussions. I have only been expressing my views in my blog, newsletters, Social Media and when I am on stage. I get way too emotional.
I also take responsibility to withdraw from the whole political dilemma, it made me sick to my stomach hearing Trump (I got a similar feeling in my stomach like I got when I visited for the 1. and last time a concentration camp), I couldn't even watch the discussions on TV. And therefore had few conversations with people who might not have gone to the polls or were indecisive. And when the opportunity was offered to me to travel to PA to talk to people or call people up in swing states I declined. I truthfully was conflicted about casting my vote for Hillary. I read too many European articles of specialists pointing out how war-driven her agenda is and how that will in-stabilize international peace even more. After giving my vote to Bernie in the primaries I did cast my vote for Hillary last Tuesday with a bit of a stomach ache, but it seemed the lesser evil.
Never ever did I believe this could happen, I chose to be blind like so many others. In the meantime I have done more US and international reading: I truly believe this is a global problem. The right wing populists around the world are gaining success. It enforces different issues in each country, like racism, misogyny, sexism… in the USA. 20+ years of neoliberal capitalism (invented by the Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek) creates more and more losers in the middle class, rich get richer, poor get poorer... Populists play into the fear of people, without offering real solutions. They take advantage of real life issues and nurture hatred in (often little educated) people against "enemies" (blacks, Mexican, Muslims, immigrants, gays… in the case of D.T., foreigners, refugees and Muslims in Europe) and showing scary fascist ideas. Whereas the democratic elites are bought by corporations - in the US even officially and legally -, which are the winners of this economic system. People, who research on this, believe the only solution could be an eco-social market economy, but as long as corporations and money has the say that won't happen. Al Gore and Bernie Sanders had offered some solutions for those problems.
D.T. was mostly elected by people from the country. They benefitted the least from the progress that has also happened in the USA. Their industries they lived off have become irrelevant, and they are in survival mode feeling left out and angry. And they blame it on the government and establishment. This article made a lot of sense for me and helped me to gain more compassion.
In my opinion we have to do everything to express our disapproval of someone being president-elect who spoke so much against the constitution! All of our minorities - black, Muslim, gay, Mexican & immigrant citizens - are in total fear (I am a privileged white immigrant) and are being attacked in thousands in the name of the new president-elect! Not to mention: sexual abuse just got "legalized" too and people are reliving their traumata...
Hitler, also an Austrian, used democratic legalizations and the support of corporations and other powerful groups. From day one Trump sounded like Hitler to me, I had an aversion to his rhetoric and his lies. Hitler also discriminated and instilled fear, people shut up.
What hurts me most right now is that I see so many intelligent and educated Clinton voters, who just like back in the 1930s, shut up and decided to wait and see and give D.T. the benefit of a doubt. I see people being fearful of a civil war and not taking actions.
My dad was a war refugee of WW2. I grew up being critical to our government and politicians all my life, to take actions, stand up for our values, demonstrate, go on the street, collect signatures for law changes...
So here is my plea to the USA and the rest of the world: Let's use all of our democratic rights! We can't be fearful or support a president, who has spread hate, lies and is a dangerous man, not just for the USA, but for the rest of the world. Please, let’s not underestimate him again, we all did up till now. Now is NOT the time to wait some more! I am not talking about violence, I am talking about peaceful protests, taking a stand like MLK and Ghandi did before us. If we don't we approve and support what he spread and what is happening, and I don't approve! Thanks for joining the BUILDING BRIDGES movement!
love love love from your Roswitha