As I look through my wordpress feed, my facebook feed, my twitter feed, and basically any other place where people feel safe to speak freely– I realize that there are others out there who can say what I’m about to try to say much more eloquently than I can.
But, there are also a lot of people out there who write like they licked a light socket covered with lead paint, so I figured I’d give it a go.
America, you know that the election has finished. You know who our president is. I don’t have to go over this information. You’ve already digested it and are beginning to process how you feel about it. Some of you are ecstatic. Finally, the government is out of the hands of politicians and people with no idea what the Everyman deals with everyday. Some of you are terrified. Am I still safe? Will my only-recently legitimized marriage still be legitimate a year from now?
Whatever your political leanings, I want you to realize that you’re not alone. If nothing else, this election has made it easier than ever before to find groups of like-minded people across the country. Part of that is because of the internet–news and opinions can spread faster than ever before, and we’re finally using it for more than cat videos and porn (hopefully not together). But that’s only part of it. I think a lot of it is because Trump has given people the power to shout things that society had almost locked away, thus uncovering much of what we’d tried to bury and move past.
And those shouted things– the things that were almost socially unacceptable but apparently still hidden just below the surface– the fear, the hatred, the bigotry and racism– those are the things that I am most scared of. I’m not afraid of most Republicans– for the most part, I think that they, like any group, are comprised mostly of good people that are overshadowed by the loud and bad. I am not even truly scared of Trump– he’s just one man and I’m partly convinced he will get tired of the job and quit sooner rather than later. But I am afraid of some of the people that have grown bold beneath his gaze.
I’m afraid of the people that have come out of the woodwork with, not pitchforks and torches, but automatic assault rifles and a majority rule. I’m afraid of the people that can’t say “Muslim” without cursing and think the Civil War didn’t have anything to do with slavery. I’m afraid for every woman that’s ever been sexually abused–because now it’s harder to hear her voice above now-legitimized victim blaming. I’m afraid for every family that hasn’t been in the US for more than a few generations because the line between “evil illegals” and “hardworking immigrants” seems to get a little blurrier each day. I’m afraid for every little girl out there who might also be named Tahani, because she might not be lucky enough to have blonde hair and pale skin, so perhaps it won’t take people as long to realize that it’s an Arabic name.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an election polarize our country this badly. I didn’t think that we’d go from legalizing gay marriage to seeing KKK members openly celebrating in so short a time. I didn’t think that we’d go from cheering about Freedom of Religion to discussing the deportation of Muslims so quickly. I didn’t think that we would turn away from news about refugees so we could plan on building a wall. I didn’t think that a campaign fueled with hatred and fear could gain so much ground.
I didn’t think.
Because of course it could happen. This is not the first time that hatred and fear has colored our politics. Hell, it’s not even the first time I’ve written about it. But as I’ve said before– This is not all the fault of one side. Even as so many of us hate that it’s going on– the taunts, the fear, the classification and separation– we’re not stopping it. We’re adding to it by screaming and calling names. Demeaning the people who (for the most part) have done nothing worse than have an opinion different than ours. Yes, there are evil Republicans that are filled with hatred and bigotry– but there are also bad Muslims, bad African Americans, bad transvestites. Most of the people I know have been saying for years that we cannot hate an entire group because of the actions of a few– then why are we so ready to slander, demean, and unfriend every Republican we know because of a handful of truly evil bastards? And how would saying “you don’t agree with me so I don’t like you” possibly make us into a better country? How is that not a form of tyranny? Did saying that really work so well for you in the third grade that you’re willing to hold onto it for the rest of your polarizing, hate-filled life?
Yes, I agree– Trump as our president is not the ideal situation. But we came to this ultimate decision through the democratic process that sets us apart from so many other countries. We pride ourselves on our Freedom. On our ability to choose– our ability to guide our government through voting. So how dare we turn up our nose and refuse to participate when we suddenly find ourselves losing? Is that not the exact thing that we screamed and ridiculed the Republican-led government shut-down of a few years past? Are we no better than that?
Last January I put up This Post about how would I react should Trump became President. I’m going to remind you of the things I promised to myself and all of you. Because we’re better than this. We’re supposed to be adults. But we’re not acting like it.
Stop the name calling and the hate-mongering. You want to change your country into something better? Don’t bury your head in the sand, or skip town, or sit there with your arms crossed like a moody teenager. Do Something About It. But do it without alienating others. Learn some goddamned interpersonal skills and find a way to work with the people you “hate.” You do it at your job every day for a paycheck that’s hardly worth the effort– you’d think you’d be willing to do it for the betterment of your country, too, right?
Also–Listen to me from a year ago. She was smart and said some shit you need to hear.
REPOST: What I Will Do if Trump Becomes Our President (From January, 2016)
If you live in the United States, you probably know that this is a presidential election year. If you live in the United States and you DON’T know that, then you both amaze and terrify me. I’d love to meet you and find out what your life is like that you can live in ignorance of that knowledge and yet somehow still find this blog. You must be a wizard.
Anyway… As with all US presidential elections, this year finds our nation pretty well divided and our news feeds flooded with promises, lies, propaganda, and threats of varying degrees. It’s kind of bizarre all the things people say and do and what I’m sure they WILL do if anyone other than “their” candidate ends up in the White House. All these promises, oaths, and threats seemed so interesting that I thought I’d play too.
So…Here’s what I will and will NOT do should our next president be anyone other than who I vote for:
1) I Will NOT Leave the Country.
This is a big one, because I’m amazed at how many people scream “if Hillald Clump becomes our next president, I’m moving to Canada!” Gah. I hate that person. Shut up and stop crying, because there are a few problems with your plan:
First of all, it’s unlikely that Canada will take you, because Canada is already pretty sure you’re an asshole. Second, you kind of ARE an asshole. But not a grown up one. You’re like that kid in the 3rd grade who would lose a game and then start crying before taking his toys and going home. Only you’re worse, because that kid at least had the decency to actually go away and leave the rest of us to do what we were doing without having to hear him bitch about losing.
We are Americans. We’ve been taught since Kindergarten that one of the things that make us a great nation is our democratic system. You know, that thing that lets us VOTE for the next president? That system that is the underlying backbone of our Freedom? It is one of the basic principals of our entire culture. It is necessary. And if you support that, then you have to support it when it WORKS– even if it works out differently than you’d hoped. Our president will be elected by the Majority. If it turns out that I’m in the minority come election day, then I will live with that. I won’t necessarily like it, and I’ll probably blame the surprisingly large percentage of people that don’t vote, but I’ll also realize that my will is not shared by everyone else. We are not a hive mind. And I will step down and accept it when my fellow countrymen outnumber me. When it turns out that maybe my thinking is slightly skewed, and maybe the majority of the country really isn’t idiotic. Because that’s the foundation of democracy: the belief that, when working together, the majority will decide what is best for the whole. I certainly will not run wailing into the hills when I’m shown that the rest of our nation does not agree with me.
2) I Will NOT Threaten or Decry the President… Ever.
Have you SEEN some of the things people say about our Commander in Chief? Every other day I see people calling Obama the Anti-Christ or Muslim Hitler’s Cyanide-Happy Clone or something. And I saw the same thing when George W. Bush was our president. I probably would have noticed the same thing with Clinton if I hadn’t been so focused on Pokemon and nail polish at the time. But seriously, guys. Enough is enough. So you don’t like the guy (or gal, possibly, next year). I get it. You’ve made that clear. But doesn’t it bother you that some of the things you’re sharing are blatant lies? That even the smallest amount of research could (and does) make you look like a blithering idiot? Is your stance really so shaky that you have to post obvious falsehoods in order to make a conceivable argument? Because that’s not going to make your case look like a good one. And, also because (spoiler alert) you already LOST the fight.
Remember, this hypothetical situation is AFTER my least-favorite candidate has already become president. So, I have to accept that MOST people (at least half, since that’s how democracy works) doesn’t agree with me and doesn’t want to hear whatever seems to be leaking from my pie-hole after the fact. And even if they DID, all the garbage-laden, hate-filled sewage I could muster isn’t going to give people the opportunity to change the outcome for at least 4 more years.
So simmer down and rant about other things that CAN be changed. Policies we can vote on. Politicians we can support or oppose. If you’re going to be political, at least be USEFUL.
And that’s only mentioning the “Here’s why your candidate is EVIL” stuff. That’s not even touching on the “If he came close enough I’d shoot ______________ in the head” posts. Which, in case you didn’t know, is GODDAMNED TREASON and you should be ashamed of yourself. If you’re willing to post threats about our president on your feed, you don’t deserve to vote ever again as far as I’m concerned. You deserve the felony charge that comes with treason and a smack across your bitch face for being so small and petty that you’re willing to threaten the leader of our country on a public forum. Again, you have to remember that you are the MINORITY of people who believe as you do at this point, and if you ever try to make a move on your big talk, you better expect more than a few patriots to defend their country and its leader however they can.
Even if I did think that the PotUS was ruining our country (which, again, is not my sole place to judge) I wouldn’t spit on the flag and the system I believe in by trying to take the power out of the people’s hands and putting it into my bullet.
3) I Will NOT Demand Impeachment (And Especially Not Every Single Day)
Do you know how many presidents have actually been impeached in our country’s history? Two. Yeah, only two. And neither of them were ever removed from office. President Johnson replaced the Secretary of War without Senate approval, and President Clinton was tried for perjury and obstruction of justice (having to do with his extramarital affair). Impeachment is not an easy process, and it certainly isn’t necessary for trivial hurts.
So, yeah. I’m not going to scream for impeachment every time our president does something that I don’t agree with. That not only, once again, undermines the spirit of democracy, but it kind of makes me look like I don’t actually understand what “impeachment” is. Or what it entails. And I don’t want to look like a whiny, entitled, toddler.
Which, really, is what all of this comes down to, anyway. There are people running for president that I don’t like. There is a chance that one of them will make it into the White House. But part of being given the right to vote is the assumption that I am mature enough to have an opinion on the future of our country. And if I’m mature enough to handle that, then I sure as Hell better be mature enough to handle losing with dignity.
4) I WILL VOTE.
Nothing bothers me more than someone who complains endlessly about how our country is being run, but then says (almost pridefully) “I didn’t vote for anyone. They all would have sucked.” My response is usually as follows:
Sit your ass back down and stop speaking before I get some of your stupid on me.
Seriously, people like that kind of disgust me. They’re like the drunk uncle who comes to Thanksgiving with nothing but a beer and some Tupperware, then complains that the mashed potatoes have skins. You want skinless mashed potatoes? DO YOU? Then get off your ass, get in that kitchen, and start peeling, you lazy slug. You’re part of this party. You’re part of this country, and if you think you’re adult enough to have an opinion, you better be adult enough to DO something about it. If you don’t like the person that’s going to be speaking at inauguration, you better do whatever you can to make sure he or she doesn’t get that far, because if you don’t put up sandbags to stop the flood, I’m sure as Hell not going to help pay for your water damage. This is your country. One of the people speaking in those debates is going to be YOUR president. Maybe you should start acting like that means something.