This is the saddest day of my life. I can't even wrap my mind around the horror of what happened last night in Orlando, where 50 joyful dancing queers were murdered by a religious extremist. I'm sad -- devastated, in my soul -- about that; but I'm also sad that the events of Orlando have shattered my political beliefs, as I can no longer swear allegiance to a peace-love-and-unicorns progressive philosophy that only helps to get my fellow queers killed.
Yes, there is a war between religious fundamentalism and the spirit of love and tolerance. But we progressives here in America still labor under the delusion that the religion we need to combat is Christianity. But that's a strawman opponent, and has been so for decades. Since the 1990s, Christian extremists have essentially lost all their power, and are now toothless nonplayers in the "culture wars." Meanwhile, Muslim extremists, with guns, murder us, and on the left our only response is to bleat about "Islamophobia" and jump through hoops trying to explain away the self-evident religious motivation for the killings.
Oh sure, all year I've been playing the "Bernie or Hillary?" game with all the other default-Democrats in my social and professional circles. But this is no longer some kind of game. Our lives are on the line. Although I voted for Hillary in the primary, I now cringe inwardly with shame and embarrassment at having done so, and in November I will vote for Trump.
Why? Yes, I know that Trump is an a**hole, Trump is a clown, Trump is a motormouth buffoon. You don't have to convince me of that. But he's also the only person saying anything about putting the brakes on Islamic extremism, and in light of what happened last night in Orlando, suddenly that is the only issue that really matters when it comes to the health, well-being and safety of the queer community.
As an aside, Trump has never said anything homophobic, and has always gotten along well with the gay community in New York, so there's that in his favor as well.
I also now realize, with brutal clarity, that in the progressive hierarchy of identity groups, Muslims are above gays. Every pundit and politician -- and that includes President Obama and Hillary Clinton and half the talking heads on TV -- who today have said "We don't know what the shooter's motivation could possibly be!" have revealed to me their true priorities: appeasing Muslims is more important than defending the lives of gay people. Every progressive who runs interference for Islamic murderers is complicit in those murders, and I can no longer be a part of that team.
I'm just sick of it. Sick of the hypocrisy. Sick of the pandering. Sick of the deception.
And you know what makes me angrier still? The fact that I have to hide my identity and remain anonymous in writing this essay. If I outed myself as a Trump supporter, I would be harassed and doxxed and shunned by everyone I know and by the Twitter lynch mobs which up until yesterday I myself led.
I am ashamed. I am angry. And I am sad. I don't want to vote for Trump, but I must. And if you care about the safety of the gay community in America, so must you.
* * *