Friday, November 11, 2016

About That Election...

Hey, Friends.

It's been a while.  I took a little vacation, went to Texas to visit my brother and his family.  It was lovely, thanks for asking.  I made sure that I was back in time to vote.

My first choice of candidate was Bernie Sanders.  After he lost in the primaries, my choices were the same as everyone else in the country.

To be clear: you have the right to vote however you want, to have your voice heard.  Just because I don't agree with your opinion does not mean that I don't respect you or your right to exercise that vote as you see fit.

I chose to vote for Clinton.

When I went to bed on Tuesday night (technically Wednesday morning) there were still states that were "too close to call".  I went to bed hopeful, yet worried, about what result I was going to see when I woke up the next morning.

To say that I was bummed out to see that Trump had been elected would be an understatement.  This man who had said so many hateful things during the election, who had some of my friends terrified about what it would mean for them if he got elected, was our new President.  A man who now had to stand trial for fraud and (until very recently) rape charges was now going to represent me and my country.

I was not in a happy place.  I'm still not.

I'm not saying that it is necessarily the healthiest way of functioning, but I tend to have a very "Suck it up, Buttercup" approach to things.  Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows.  Shit happens.  Bad things happen to good people. You get hurt.  People disappoint you. The world keeps turning, Friends. Life will move on whether you are ready for it or not. So take some time, deal with it as best you can, and then get on with things. Go to work, do what you have to do, and continue to fight for what you believe in.

I was at work last night, still trying to wrap my mind around how this came to be reality.  People being attacked all over the country, the hate that was being spewed, swastikas being spray painted in public parks and schools.

I'm pretty used to listening to people ramble on about things.  I've listened to lengthy conspiracy theories about who killed John F. Kennedy, about space aliens taking over the country, and how Pokemon Go is really a tracking app to keep the populace under control -- just to name a few.

Last night a man launched into a discussion on politics and the election. He was addressing all of us, but was most pointedly directing it to a coworker.  He said he didn't align himself with any particular political party, and that is what all people should do.  He believed a great part of the problem was lack of education, that if we taught the kids in high school about the Federalist Papers, made them read Alexis de Tocqueville they would better understand the institution in which they were participating.  He blamed the colleges for being "safe spaces" where students were taught that everyone could say what they want, and everyone got a shiny trophy for participating, but no one learned how to actually speak to someone whose opinion was different, about how to persuade them to come around to their opinion. He carried on at length about this topic.

He then went on to say that people shouldn't be so worked up over policy decisions -- that's all the election really was.  You vote for the policies you believe are the best, and you move on.  That there was nothing personal about it and people were getting all worked up and emotional over nothing. He very pointedly directed that to my coworker, almost begging her to say something to him in response.

And that was when I couldn't shut up any longer and let him wax poetic.

I told him that in the grand scheme of things it might be about policies, but that in this election it had gotten very personal, and that is why people are emotional.  I have friends and loved ones who are worried, anxious and scared about what their lives are going to be like under our newly elected President.  They are scared of what they now face on a daily basis.  The man who was elected just spent the past several months telling them that their very existence was wrong -- be it for their race, sex, religion, orientation, country of origin, or who they choose to love.  He made it incredibly personal by essentially blaming a large swathe of this country for being the problem, and saying he could "Make America Great Again" at their expense.  I spent an hour and a half earlier this week listening to some gentlemen with disabilities worry about what they were going to do if the programs they rely on had all of the funding cut.  People are emotional because they are already seeing the attacks and hatred being put into action.  The fear is very real for a lot of people.  Women already had a tough road when it came to how sexual assault was perceived in this country.  A man has now been elected that seems to think it is perfectly okay to do whatever you want to a woman.  How the hell is that supposed to make any of us feel safe?

He said that he could understand that point of view, but that people were over emotional.  Everything would calm down and people would move on. He didn't want to travel the country and have people fear him because he was a white man.

And then he left, still in a good mood and firmly believing that it was all just angst and over-emotion, and people just needed time to calm down.

For someone who wants discourse and discussion taught in colleges, he did a really good job of listening without giving any credence whatsoever to the other point of view.  He was right, and everyone else just had to stop being so darn emotional.

I believe in human decency, respect, equality, and dignity.  That EVERYONE has the same rights and should be able to exercise them, to live their lives in peace and without fear.  We have always had work to do on this front, and now we have even more.  This election seems to have given parts of our population the idea that they can say and do whatever hateful things they want.  I truly hope that it is a much smaller part of us than it seems.

To that end, I want to share an article that I saw online earlier.  It might not be much, but it can't hurt to try.

People Are Wearing Safety Pins As A Show Of Solidarity

I realize I may piss off a lot of people with this post.  I know a lot of people are going to disagree with my opinion, or think that I am over emotional about it.  You are welcome to do so.  I've seen so many people say that the election is over, to accept it and move on, and work on trying to understand the other part of the country.  Both sides need to do so.

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