The Politics Post: Part Three

The following is cross-posted from my Facebook page, where I've been sharing my thoughts on the 2016 election and its results. I turned off the comments on my blog a couple of years ago because this is primarily a safe outlet wherein I share my personal views, in-depth thoughts, and difficult experiences; however, I welcome differing opinions and respectful conversations across my other social media platforms. What I won't ever tolerate is disrespect, bullying, or name-calling. And on the subject of politics especially, I don't appreciate snark because that's another form of mockery, and mockery is not OK. I don't care what side you were on in this election--you had your reason for voting as you did, and I respect that. What I do care about is the negativity that was nurtured during the campaign and the hatred that's transpiring by those emboldened by the words of this man. It's not everyone, I know, but it's enough. And I've had enough. I pray that on this, at least, we can come together and make this a safe and better world for everyone in it.

Everyone.

A friend and I are having a discussion on my latest post via Facebook. She rightly pointed out that there's a breakdown in communication, that people are inappropriately lashing out and that we must find a way to disagree and express our emotions without resorting to verbal attacks. I wholeheartedly agree. Would that everyone have the skills to communicate effectively, I think the world would be a better place (and maybe we wouldn't be in this mess). So much is lost to misinterpretation and miscommunication--but the true shame is that we don't listen to each other. I think it's a valid point, and I added my thoughts, as espoused below: Over the past few days, I've been trying to understand what happened by reading about the other side and how they voted. There's an excellent Cracked article that lays out where many Trump supporters were coming from and why they voted as they did--basically, they felt they weren't being heard and desperately wanted to change the status quo to ensure their own survival (jobs, financial security, etc). Being in a similar situation due to illness, I understand this. I know what it's like to be desperate for work and not able to find a job because there are no jobs or you can't work physically (as in my case), I know what it's like not to have enough money for food, and I know what it's like to be so afraid that you won't have money for medicine. I'm a lot luckier than most because I'm able to rely on my family. I know that, too, and I'm grateful every day. So I respect these fears--they are very real fears, and when you feel like you're not being heard, it's human instinct to shout harder. I think that what Trump gave them. A louder voice. I could have appreciated that about him. Hell, I loved and supported Bernie because his message was similar: government and politics as it stands is not working for the majority of Americans and must be changed.

Here's the difference: Trump actually invited hate. That's not news--he quite literally mocked and antagonized minorities and never once did he denounce the violence that ensued during his campaign. I don't particularly like Hillary. My policies and beliefs aligned with Bernie's and then, for the most part, with the Green Party. I liked the fact that we may have made history with our first female president, but that was an afterthought. I didn't want to vote for her, and my upset has nothing to do with her, personally, losing the vote. I looked at the divide; I looked at what was happening--what could potentially happen--and decided I could tolerate the status quo and the things I disliked about her for four more years. What I could not tolerate was what we're seeing now--friends and family and complete strangers in fear for their lives, not just by threat of their rights being taken away, but by physical violence. Some people voted out of conscience, and that's fine. I personally voted out of duty.

And that's the thing that upsets me. There's a part of me that feels like people who voted for Trump were self-serving, not taking the time to see how their decisions would affect other people. That's what I think we're lacking in this society--the ability to look outside of ourselves. I don't blame anyone for their vote--their vote was theirs to do with as they wish. But there are consequences to actions, and no one wants to look at themselves and see that they played a part. I think that's why people are angry. Because this decision is going to affect millions of people in negative ways, and it feels like the rest of the country is shrugging and saying, "but it won't affect me." Again, it's people screaming to be heard, only minorities have been shouting for hundreds of years, and still no one is listening.

I pray we start listening.

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