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Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

Be More Than Kind – Our Rights Depend on It

I will tell my story, but first I will tell you why I’m mad. 

Today I was waiting in the lobby for a friend to drive me to Target so we could get flu shots together. As any other teenager with (I’ll admit it) an addiction to technology, I started clicking through Instagram stories while I waited. As I swiped through a dense collection of resposts regarding Trump’s recent Supreme Court Nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, I came across one post in particular that I have not been able to stop thinking about since. For context, I saw this post around noon, and right now it’s 2:41am. The quote read: “I am way less concerned with who you vote for than I am with how you treat the people that vote differently than you do.” It was posted by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This makes perfect sense.

I was raised LDS, and am more than familiar with the obsession of treating each other with kindness. However, as I grow up and continue to see and learn more about the world, the more I realize that many LDS members are far more concerned with the possibility of tarnishing their reputation of appearing to be genuine and caring than actually taking stances on important issues. Like my favorite line in Hamilton goes, “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?” As the election approaches and some of us begin voting in the next few weeks, this is a question we need to be continuously asking ourselves. It’s great to be kind. It’s even better to stand up for what’s right.

Before I go further, I want to make it clear that I wish it was as simple as “just being nice.” I wish that kindness could solve systemic racism and uproot oppressive systems that create wage gaps. I wish kindness would allow me to walk around Salt Lake City at night without being catcalled. I wish kindness would raise the average age to which a trans woman in this country is expected to live. I wish kindness had saved Lauren McCluskey, and Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown, and everyone else whose life was cut too short because of sexist, racist, poorly trained police officers and broken systems. 

It’s 2020, and kindness is not enough. Validating people who outwardly express support for a man who is objectively misogynistic, transphobic, racist, xenophobic, and only doing work that benefits insanely wealthy, white men like him is not kind. As a female college student incredibly inspired by her 14 year-old, out transgender sister, with hopes of one day opening a clinic for LGBT+ youth, there is absolutely no part of voting for Donald Trump that seems equitable. Or valiant. Or charitable. I cannot bring myself to be kind to people who believe my sister deserves to be treated less than human, or think I shouldn’t have the right to my own body. I can be respectful, and do my very best to educate Trump supporters who disagree with me on politics. But the issue is that this election is not about politics. Far too often I find myself defending my sister’s mere existence, or why Breonna Taylor should have been safe in her own bed. I am arguing about BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS – not politics.

If you are acquainted with the LDS church, you may be familiar with the 13 Articles of Faith that are quite foundational to the religion. If this is your first time hearing about them, it is an honor to share my favorite one with you. The thirteenth Article of Faith states: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” This is my challenge to members of the LDS faith to seek after these things. We must do good to ALL men (and women, and children, and nonbinary individuals). My sister’s rights are in jeopardy. My rights are in jeopardy. My immigrant friends’ rights are in jeopardy. BIPOC rights are in jeopardy. Not bringing this up to Trump supporters to avoid coming across as anything less than kind is not virtuous. It is complacency. Advocating for the rights of human beings is radical kindness, and it’s what Christ would do. Choose the right and have the difficult conversation, because I am concerned about who you are voting for on November 3, 2020.

Original Illustration Created in Canva for Her Campus Media

Meg is a second year Health, Society, and Policy major with a minor in Sociology. She plans on attending medical school at some point in the future, with dreams of one day opening an LGBTQ+ youth clinic. In her free time, Meg loves to read and write, go on sunset hikes, and binge-watch Grey's Anatomy.
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