Trump, Death, Resurrection and Safety (Pins)

 

safety-pin-3153-pAs dear friend of mine — a Catholic nun I will not name to protect her anonymity — said to me:  last night’s election feels like death; but I believe in resurrection.

I do, as well. But sometimes the holy one needs a hand up out of the tomb. So, let me share with you something that happened this morning. After doing so, I hope you’ll join me…

I don’t know whether you’ve heard of this or not, but in post-Brexit Britain, where racist, violent attacks are on the rise, people of conscience have taken to wearing safety pins as a way of making a physical, obvious statement to the world that they are not racist, not xenophobic, not homophobic, not transphobic, not misogynistic. The safety pin tells everyone, but especially those who feel vulnerable, that you can be asked for help. If you feel threatened, the person wearing the safety pin will provide safe harbor, will stand with you. You are not alone.

I direct you to this article in the Telegraph, which outlines the importance of this symbol. 

This morning I felt helpless. Frustrated. Which means I know I have to do something. So… I put on my safety pin and went off to my local grocery store to pick up milk and bread and so forth. I also wanted to buy more pins. I asked a young woman who worked there — Hispanic, as it turned out — if she knew where I might find them. As we walked to the appropriate aisle, I asked her how she was feeling after the election. Her eyes, beautifully made up with cat’s eye liner, flicked here and there, but she said “I don’t have words.”

“It must be frightening. I know it is for me.”

“Really scary,” she glanced at me.

“I feel that way as well. I’m so sorry. I really am.”

“It’s okay,” she said, as we passed the international foods aisle. “But I didn’t sleep last night. I told my boyfriend I just don’t know what will happen.”

“Well, if  helps at all,” I said, “I’m wearing this safety pin,” I pulled at it so she’d notice. “So people will know I stand with them.” I told her about the Brexit thing and how this started.

She burst into tears and hugged me. “The worst thing is,” she said, “I look at everybody now and I don’t know who wants me gone, who hates me, who wants to do me harm.”

“Look for the safety pins,” I said. “You’re safe there.” And I gave her my number.

Then I struck up a conversation with a woman wearing an “Obama” sweatshirt, and asked her to join me. She talked about the people crying in the gym this morning, and said she would.

As I checked out, the black cashier and I had a similar conversation. She said the worst thing was not knowing, and that the day before a really nice woman had come through her station wearing a Trump button. The woman was with her two young grandchildren, and they were wearing them as well. She didn’t know what to think, but it unsettled her. She’d never heard of the safety pin movement, but she said, “That’s an amazing idea. I’m going to tell people. Because you never know what people are thinking about you. I mean, we never have, but now… wow. It’s scary.”

It’s a small thing, this safety pin, but if we couple it with conversation, if we let people know we are on their side, that we hear them, that we see them, that we stand with them…. maybe that will build a bridge…. many it will all be okay. Maybe we will come back to life better, stronger, more compassionate.. and more CONNECTED than ever before.

Will you join me? How about posting a picture on social media of you and your safety pin? Spread the word.  Here’s mine:

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51 Comments

  1. Wendy on November 9, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    A really fantastic idea. Hadn’t heard of this but will spread the word.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 9, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Oh, that makes me so happy, Wendy. Thank you.

    • Susan michaud on November 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      I am going to spread the word and I will wear my safety pin proudly.

  2. ShiraDestinie on November 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Thank YOU Shira. It’s my honor and privilege.

  3. Stephanie Cowell on November 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    This is a great idea!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 9, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! Get out that safety pin!

  4. Danielle Peters on November 9, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Lauren, thanks for your hopeful message. It’s a ray of sunshine in what is a dark time. I’ll be wearing a safety pin and when I say “I’m with her”, I’ll be referring to you. Danielle P.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 10, 2016 at 7:35 am

      Thanks, Danielle. I hope to see a mass of people wearing pins, so we can all say “We’re together.” 😉

  5. Brett on November 10, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    If only this guy had a safety pin! https://youtu.be/Fi86meKv34s

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 10, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Well, Brett, since the video has been taken down due to bullying and harassment concerns, I’m not sure what you’re saying.

    • Jim on November 12, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Brett, your link has been taken down.

  6. Jo on November 10, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Seems strange to me that its the people who didnt vote for Trump rioting and beating the crap out of those they THINK voted for Trump…just because a radical group endorses a Presidential candidate does not mean the President holds those values. It appears the Hate is coming from the Democratic party because they didnt get their way. I stand against all violence and hate crimes. I have voted for Presidents that were not elected and seen Presidents I didnt vote for win by electoral vote and I never became violent and hateful toward those that voted for the winner…This is democracy…we ALL have survived Presidents we didnt vote for…give me a break! I love the Pin idea but it needs to be a stand against all violence and all hate and there is obvious hate in your heart for our President Elect. It seems, no it IS hypocritical of you …. I STAND AGAINST ALL ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND ALL ACTS OF HATE…I STAND FOR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND SAFETY, PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL, AND FOR THE RIGHT OF EVERY PERSON. May God Bless you and fill your heart with love, eliminate the fear and show you that it makes no difference who the President is, when our God is King and reigns supreme!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Dear Jo — I’m so sorry you feel threatened, which is how I interpret the tone of your comment. Like you, I am saddened by the rioting, although I respect anyone’s right to protest. Violence is always abhorrent.

      As to the KKK — how I wish Pres. Elect Trump would have disavowed them, just as I wish he had disavowed the bullying and racism that took place at his rallies, not to mention his own misogyny. But he didn’t, and so it seems to me he has legitimized racism, bullying and sexism, both by his comments, and by his silences. This worries me, as I should think it does you as well, as a person of God who stands against all violence.

      This is the sort of thing I mean, near where I live. http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/11/students_yelling_cotton_picker_heiling_hitler_at_this_local_school.html

      I do understand how democracy works, and how lucky we are to live in a country so-governed, but that doesn’t mean I can stand by and ignore those who feel afraid. Like you, I also stand against all acts of violence and all acts of hate. I also stand for universal love and safety, for all persons. There was nothing in my post that said anything different. Do I wish the person taking the reins of government for the largest power in the world hadn’t grabbed women by their genitals? Yes. Do I wish he hadn’t called Mexicans rapists? Yes. Do I wish he had paid his taxes and contributed to the general weal? Yes. I could go on, but we’ve all heard it before, haven’t we?

      Where I do feel saddened by your post is that you, who have never met me, and who proport to be a woman of God, would feel you have the right to call me a hypocrite, and to question my faith. How bizarre. Alas, this reflects more on you and your world view than it does on me. I hope I’m wrong. Let me be clear, since you seem to have misread my intention: I wear my safety pin to tell anyone who feels unsafe that they are safe with me. Anyone. That includes you. May God bless and keep you.

      • Clare MacQueen on November 11, 2016 at 11:07 am

        Well said, Lauren!

        • Clare MacQueen on November 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

          As I wrote on Facebook: I’m glad you’ve posted about the safety-pin issue. Thank you! Before then, I didn’t even know about it. And now, I’m thinking about buying huge pins in various colors to match my fleece pullovers. I also want a huge button to clip to my backpack/purse, that says “Silence is the voice of complicity — now more than ever.”

          • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 11:09 am

            Love it!



        • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Very kind, Clare.

    • B. on November 12, 2016 at 2:29 am

      You idiot! We aren’t mad because we didn’t get our way! We are mad and scared because Trump/Pence are both haters and bigots!

      HOW CAN YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THIS?

      • Bob on November 12, 2016 at 11:57 am

        Trump is a hater, Trump is this, Trump is that. Quit acting like you are three, temper tantrums don’t work. Realize that people who go to work every day, got tired of the liberal, white male is bad fecal material. Wear a safety pin, wear two and a piece of cotton on your butt. I really don’t care. The choices were a career criminal politician and an unknown. We the people decided to take a chance on an unknown. As far as a Catholic nun supporting Hilary, I doubt it. The Catholic Church is staunchly against abortion, and Hilary was fine with killing at anytime. How is the people you most fear, lived through Obama twice, where were those riots? Where were those people blocking traffic and burning cars, looting stores? Sorry the un-indoctrinated have spoken, and they said no. No to illegal immigration, no to bring terrorists in, while allowing veterans and elderly to go hungry. You want haters, look in the mirror, the liberal elite, the true hate mongers. I am part of group you enjoy hating and calling names, you know, the white un-educated guy that fixes your car, makes your lights work, keeps the water in the pipes. The one you raise your snobbish nose to.

        • Lauren B. Davis on November 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm

          Thanks for the comment Bob, even though you obviously know nothing about me, nor the nuns I know. Best of luck.

  7. Danael Osewalt on November 11, 2016 at 6:47 am

    Great idea! You are safe with me!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Thanks, Danael.

  8. Lois Keller-Poole on November 11, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Half of the electorate has disappointment every 4 years and yet our country goes on as it has since it’s inception. I can only imagine how Clinton supporters would have mocked and treated Trump supporters if they displayed the same behavior including rioting and flag – burning because their candidate lost.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Since Mr. Trump suggested that if he lost his followers should use a “2nd amendment solution”, one can only imagine. The difference, I believe, in Mr. Trump and other presidents is that he’s the first one in modern history not to have disavowed a KKK endorsement. That, to me, tells me who he is.

    • May McCarthy on November 12, 2016 at 8:43 am

      This has nothing to do with being disappointed with the election outcome, and everything to do with the quality/morality of the person elected. He ran a racist, anti-environment campaign designed to instill fear. If you recall Trump threatened months ago that there would be violence in the streets if HE lost the election. He brought this on.

  9. Julietta Wilder on November 11, 2016 at 9:47 am

    That’s ridiculous. Just because Trump was elected doesn’t mean Kristallnacht will happen. The man never meant to win — it was all a crazy media blitz. No sane person would say such ridiculous things while campaigning. She was such a despicable candidate that many people didn’t come out to vote, or voted against her — not for him. He was just as surprised as anyone else at the outcome. So let’s try and help him grow into the office. Obama is doing just that. Stop fearmongering and do something positive. Sorry – I am the child of Holocaust survivors and am well aware of pre-Hitler Europe. With so many vigilant against this happening here, I don’t think it will.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Thanks for your comment Juliette. I don’t quite know what you think is ridiculous. I do think you might be right about him never intending to actually win! And I hope he rises to the occasion and governs with sanity and grace and compassion. That doesn’t change the fact people are afraid right now. I am not fearmongering. I repeat — I am not fearmongering and I rather resent that, to be honest. I am speaking from experience of the people I know whose fear and anxiety cannot be discounted. I know people who won’t send their kids to school, who haven’t stopped crying, who are worried about leaving the house. LGBTLQ people who don’t know what will happen to their marriages and who are afraid of being beaten up… I could go on. Here’s just one example: https://thinkprogress.org/children-are-already-being-harassed-in-the-name-of-our-president-elect-5b2d381cf588#.68lsdj6dw But there is also the woman in Philly sitting on a bus who was called “Shakalaka Nigger Cunt” by a man wearing a Trump shirt. Or the woman pushed out of the way at the gas pump by a man wearing a “Make America White Again” hat. He yelled at her to “Go back to Africa. Don’t you know it’s over for you people now?”

      I don’t think it’s so much, at this point, about Mr. Trump himself, more about the sort of racism and hatred he’s unleashed. Trump’s being in office will have its own problems. Little I can do about that. What I can do is stand against harassment, intimidation and cruelty, regardless of its source and, frankly, regardless who’s being intimidated. If Anti-Trump forces treat poor, disempowered white men like that, I stand with them, too.

      • Clare MacQueen on November 11, 2016 at 11:20 am

        This is not at all fearmongering! It’s called “raising awareness,” and its motivation is based in love. As I posted a bit earlier, I did not know about the “safety-pin” idea until after Lauren shared it on Facebook. The safety pin is a small thing, with huge potential, as it can help not only the person who wears it, but also those it’s meant to reassure.

        • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

          Appreciate the support, Clare.

    • Anne Wright on November 11, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Sue, it’s not ridiculous. Not sure how you read this post. Ask Cecelia. Ask the guy at the car wash to tell you how he feels. I don’t tend to think of you as out of touch but your post seems out of touch to me.

      • Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

        Thanks for your comment, Anne.

  10. Lauren B. Davis on November 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    This is what I’m talking about. Day 1.
    https://twitter.com/i/moments/796417517157830656

  11. Nancy Larsen on November 12, 2016 at 9:39 am

    I think the safety pin idea is a good one, and I will definitely support it and expose others to the purpose–inclusion, not bigotry and exclusion.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 12, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. Hope you’ll join us.

  12. Debra from South Plainfield, NJ on November 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    For one, as a Democrat of “the People”, not of the Corporate Elite Class, I believe it is extremely important to recognize how “the People” are the biggest losers in this election of Trump. We are the ones whom will bear the brunt of the economic losses, the lowering of the bar of REASON, ETHICS, and good common sense Legislation. No one should under estimate the PAIN that will be felt by over half of this country. Those who do not recognize what the Hillary platform left out, are not truly understanding a really Democratic Platform, as Bernie Sanders laid it out, and that was THE PLATFORM to believe in and work for, in my opinion. To those who ignored the rest of us at all our peril, I say, how dare you not pay more attention to the facts on the ground, out here in Working Class Americans’ lives? How Dare You call yourselves Democrats?

    I like the idea of the pin, and so I will wear one, too. Thanks!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 12, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      thanks for your comment, Debra

  13. Meredith on November 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I like this idea. How can we get Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton to both get involved? They were friends once, and have so much in common. They are both young and intelligent and each in a perfect position to show all Americans how to put aside the hurt and negativity and go forward together. They must both understand that half the nation is unhappy with the actions of their parents. They both can serve as role models to show us that good will and hard work can help us all overcome our fears for the future.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 12, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks, Meredith. That’s a good idea. Twitter?

    • Barbara Denton on November 13, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Dear Meredith, Lauren, and others who have posted comments. I am heartened by your idea of wearing a safety-pin and will be doing so. Lauren, you’ve been thoughtful and kind-hearted in your comments. I admire the even-handed and clear way you’ve addressed those who oppose your idea, and you’re an inspiration to me and many others. Consider me one of your newest fans.
      With kind regards, Barabara

      • Lauren B. Davis on November 13, 2016 at 9:23 pm

        Thanks so much, Barbara. Much appreciated.

  14. Eileen Kontrovitz on November 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Are you implying that everyone who voted for Trump is an intolerant bigot who wants to shove gays back in the closet, deport 11 million people, take all healthcare away from people who can’t get insurance any other way, think every Muslim is a terrorist, sexually harass their co-workers? Who’s the bigot now? STOP perpetuating the myth that everyone who voted Democratic is in some way superior and those who voted Republican are in league with the devil! What a bunch of lock-step, non-thinkers! Followers all. GET OVER IT! You will live and your neighbors, those mean, scary people who voted for Trump will still smile at you in the morning – that is unless you try to burn down our neighborhoods. Then we might get a little testy! Take that safety pin and – well you know what you can do with it.

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Eileen, thanks for your comment. Apart from the unpleasant suggestion you make about what I can do with my safety pin, you might want to check out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s site, which lists the hate crimes that have been perpetuated by ALL people since Trumps election. Those who voted for Trump may not all be intolerant bigots, etc., but you have voted one into the most powerful job, arguably, in the world, thus you must take responsibility for whatever policies he and Steven Bannon put in motion. I sincerely hope Trump and his cabinet surprise me. So far, they haven’t. Regardless of what you write, the hostile tone of your email suggests you may not be someone who smiles at me in the morning, and I find that sad, frankly. I certainly don’t think Democrats are superior, and, for the record, I’m not a Democrat. Rather, I wonder if the difference is more that of moral perspective? I would never vote for a candidate from any party who said the things Trump said, nor who did the things he did. Today on Fox people are talking about a Muslim Registry. How frightening that must be for Muslims. If you believe none of these things, will you denounce the rhetoric of your candidate? Will you denounce the KKK and the Aryan Nation’s endorsement of your candidate? I hope you will. Perhaps you can even speak to some of the visible minorities, the LGBTQ2 community, the immigrants, and reassure them. That would be fantastic! In the meantime, this is an article from “RedState”, which is a republican site. Perhaps you might read it and understand why so many people are feeling unsettled. You might even, with a change of tone and an open heart, help change their feelings. I invite you to do so. I stand by you while you do so. Thanks.
      http://www.redstate.com/neil_stevens/2016/11/08/vote-trump-racism.-yes/

  15. Barbara Denton on November 17, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Lauren, as I said in an earlier post, I love the idea of the safety-pin and have been wearing it. It’s come up a number of times as friends and strangers remark on it, and all have welcomed what it represents. I’m sorry to see there are some people that take offense to the positive message behind this simple and small gesture. I will continue to wear it with an open heart.
    Sincerely, Barbara

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks, Barbara. Anyone can wear it, an open heart is all that’s required.

  16. Lise Mayne on November 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Hello Lauren. I am glad I checked out your post. Haven’t been here for a while. I had never heard of this safety pin idea, but it’s brilliant! I know you understand how this election has affected us in Canada as well. Have you heard about the situation in the Alberta Legislature? Misogyny is rampant here as well. Our wonderful premier, Rachel Notley, is so brave and strong in the face of it. What has been happening in the US and on Twitter have been bringing this and racism to the surface. In Red Deer, Alberta, a Confederate Flag was flown (with maple leaves instead of stars!) at a political meeting. The leader of the party didn’t stop it. I despair.

    Yes, we have lived through bad times and bad leaders. I have co-opted your term “best beloved”, and he and I have been talking about this so much lately. It has also brought up for me the misogyny I experienced in my career as a teacher and school administrator. Some of it has made me recognize aspects which I had blamed myself for, at the time (classic victim behaviour). When he and I feel disheartened we remember all that we experienced (threats of nuclear war, the Vietnam war, the FLQ crisis…) but it’s becoming harder and harder to be optimistic. We have to hold on to our faith in the good of humanity as a whole. As Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.” I think this safety pin idea will inspire people to recognize each other as helpers, and see that there are more good people than they realize, surrounding them every day with unspoken support. Bravo. The pin is going on my coat today!

    • Lauren B. Davis on November 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      thanks, Lise. Good to hear from you. I am aware, sadly, of everything going on the Canada. “Look for the helpers,” indeed. Thank you for being a helper. 😉

  17. Danielle Shay on February 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    What an amazing idea! It’s so hard in this day and age, this Trump world, so scary. You really don’t know what the person next to you is thinking. I will wear a safety pin, and I will spread the word. I’m hoping that Canadians (like you!), will follow your lead. I will tell all my friends to do this. Thank you Lauren. You’re not just a fantastic author, but you are a kind soul.

    • Lauren B. Davis on February 3, 2017 at 8:54 am

      I believe in doing anything that will make my neighbor feel safer in these difficult times. Thanks so much for your comment, Danielle.

  18. […] how to support someone who is being harassed. Wear a safety pin to show your willingness to stand by the marginalized. Read articles like this one from the Huffington Post that list tips and techniques for hanging […]

  19. […] how to support someone who is being harassed. Wear a safety pin to show your willingness to stand by the marginalized. Read articles like this one from the Huffington Post that list tips and techniques for hanging […]

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