Being in front of a news camera for almost a decade has taught me to keep my thoughts to myself, especially when it comes to politics. I’m not sure if anyone else did this or still does this, but I would read a political article or meme that would get me fired up, and begin to create a post via Facebook or Twitter. Halfway through writing it, I would shake my head with regret all before deleting what I had just written. I was always afraid to speak up when I saw injustice happening before my very eyes because of fear that I’d lose my job or piss off news viewers. Not just politics, but controversial issues in general. Even my sexuality was off-limits in the news world. News directors were always afraid of unwanted attention. They told me, “Why can’t you be a reporter that happens to be gay and not a gay man that happens to be a reporter?” That really pissed me off. I was hiding who I was, staying silent on issues that directly affected me. I had to portray this “hetero” lifestyle to appease the rightwing viewers so they’d keep watching the station. I was miserable.

The moment I walked out of my last news station was the moment I said, “No more.” I wouldn’t be silent and wouldn’t apologize for my political and moral beliefs. Frankly, my beef with Trump supporters isn’t political; it’s all moral. I can respect someone’s political views for a stronger economy, foreign trade, and more. I cannot stand by while innocent people are being gunned down by white nationalist Trump supporters, while trans women are being murdered across the country, while LGBTQ folks are enduring hate crime after hate crime, while immigrants are being detained and put into cages at the border, while black men are being killed by police at an alarming rate, and while women are being shamed and ridiculed for choosing what’s best for THEIR bodies. All of this while the white men in congress and white men across this country sit back and enjoy their white privilege. Look, I know I’m white … a white redneck from South Carolina, but what defines me is how I act and treat other human beings around me. I’m thankful my mom and step-dad raised me with a belief that all people are created equal and no one should be treated like scum.

But for those who hide behind their religious morals and preach that Jesus would have done this and that for the “white man,” but support hateful rhetoric by the president against all minorities, you’re weak, afraid, and incompetent at seeing the truth. You’re being played by conservative politicians who are being fed money from organizations aimed at making your life harder. The one percent is what these politicians care about, not you! But you feed into their agenda and believe democrats are what’s so horrible about this country. You are what’s not great about this country. You are the swamp that needs to be drained. You are the reason people think it’s ok to go into a church, mall, club, concert, bar, or school and end lives with one pull of the trigger. Because you don’t speak up to this atrocity in the Oval Office, these racially motivated shootings will continue to happen because your president speaks it into existence. Don’t preach to democrats and liberals about family values and raising good kids when you support a president who grabs women by the pussy, says he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and not lose any supporters, blame mass shootings on video games and call white nationalists “very good people.”

To those politicians across the country and here in the state of Georgia who fail to stand up against Trump and the NRA, enjoy every penny you get from this greedy organization. Blood money is bad money. There’s no other way to put it. You may have come into office with good intentions, but you’re now being given hush money for an organization that doesn’t care if another gunman kills 10 or 20 people. They’re using you, they’re using every Republican supporter like puppets to advance their agenda while our mass shooting numbers continue to rise. What will it take for politicians to stand up and say enough is enough?

Here’s what: the death of the wife of a Republican politician or the child of a Republican politician due to gun violence. Still, will they choose greed over precious life? Will they cry and beg to their fellow  lawmakers to pass gun laws to prevent another shooting from happening? My guess is no. These Republican politicians who still have yet to pass sweeping gun reform laws lost their souls the minute they decided the murdering of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary was ok. Nothing was done then, so why do we think these NRA puppets will do something now?

This goes for Trump supporters as well. We will remember who stood up and put on the “Make America Great Again” hats, calling themselves deplorables. We’ll remember who cried innocence for a president that’s covered in guilt. We’ll remember who supported the harsh treatment of immigrants and the violence against black men. We’ll remember who was in Charlottesville for a KKK rally that ultimately ended one woman’s life. After Trump is long gone, your support for his sadistic, hateful behavior and speech will ALWAYS linger. Forget apologies and forget blaming your support on your “hopes” you had for this country. You will always be that person who stood by while your country was made worse again.

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