Sisters, Brothers, and Kin —
During the debates Tuesday, Donald Trump was asked if he would condemn White Supremacists and Radical Far-Right militia groups. He refused, instead telling one Violent Right Extremist Group (according to Trump’s own FBI), to “Stand back and stand by.” You can watch the video for yourself here.
As IATSE members, we all know the term “stand by” gets thrown around a lot on set and behind the scenes. We know what it means. Often times it’s a call and response, a call to ask someone to pause before carrying out the rest of the plan. A call to “stand by” demands a response, and that’s exactly what the President got. When Donald Trump failed to condemn White Supremacy during the Debate, he issued his call, and members of the group celebrated, proudly responding, “Standing by sir.”
However, in our work "stand by" can mean something else entirely — a warning. In motion picture and television production, "stand by" can be a warning that filming is about to begin. In theater, the phrase can be a warning that the curtain is about to rise and the show is about to start.
In addition to the obvious travesty of a sitting President failing to condemn White Supremacy in front of a live TV audience of millions, on a stage built by our own IATSE sisters and brothers, we are gravely concerned that Donald Trump's directive emboldens the Violent Right and serves as a warning that Pro-Trump paramilitary groups are willing to cause more chaos and bloodshed to aid Trump’s desperate attempt to remain in power.
We can’t let it come to that. A landslide victory for Joe Biden this November would make it undeniably clear that the American people have chosen our path, and hopefully, this clarity will bring far-right extremists to stand down, rather than stand by.
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Standing by…. to VOTE.