Nov 9, 2016

Apathy & Hate - Deciding How to Respond


I don't think I have anything that has already been said, and probably better, by someone else. But after months of saying, "It'll all be fine" I guess I can't stand the idea of sitting around and continuing to pretend everything is ok. I feel incredibly naive for my opinion up until I awoke on Wednesday morning, because I truly believed that this was not a possibility.

I believed that the fact that Trump had come so far was because no one thought he could make it and they weren't taking it seriously. I thought when the time came to vote, people would wake up and he'd lose in a massive landslide that proved he never should have been there all along.

I believed that third party votes would be at an all-time high. I don't necessarily agree with all the criticism of Clinton, but it's an opinion I can understand and respect, and if you'd rather vote third party, I'm all for it. Show the government that we want more options and that the two party system is broken!

But that's not what happened. Not at all. Third parties combined took maybe 4%. So all these people whining about, "We don't have any good options" did what exactly? Just didn't choose anyone? Wrote in bullshit Internet memes. As Alyssa put it, "spat on the right to participate in democracy that not 100 years ago women were being jailed in their fight for."

I understand that people were upset. I understand the desire to protest what you feel weren't good options. But sitting by and doing nothing and allowing this to happen? Yeah, I'm sad and more than a little disgusted that that was how people chose to deal with the situation. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing."

I'm also astounded at the sheer number of people who actively voted for hate.  Who listened to Trump's platform of misogyny, xenophobia, and racism and thought, "Yeah, that's what I want for our country."  Who listened to bullshit promises about building a wall that Mexico will pay for, and thought that not only was that a good idea, but that he has/will have any power to deliver on that promise.

I shouldn't have to explain to anyone why Trump is not a good candidate. I seriously thought he was making that perfectly clear all by himself over the last year.  But obviously there are a significant portion of Americans who look at all this hatred, this incompetence, and this fountain of empty promises and think, "Well, at least it's not a woman."  People who legitimately think that an email scandal is the equivalent of or worse than sexual assault charges, and that experience ranks less highly than "speaking your mind."

As a woman, it feels like a personal blow to me, even though I'm sure that's not what was running through people's heads when they were voting for Trump (with the possible exception of his KKK endorsers).  I'm sure everyone who happens to be a minority, immigrant, and/or Muslim feels the same way.

I've been reading posts like Jana's about what this means to their children. People with biracial or minority children who have to explain the logic that went into this man getting elected. How to explain that the bully won, and that our country chose him. I saw a news clip from last night that said, "This is white supremacy at work."  And you know what?  I don't disagree.  She points out Trump's winning strategy: finding all the pockets of hate and fear in our country and whipping them into a frenzy.  Our mistake?  Underestimating how many and how large those pockets are.  Trump's slogan should not be "make American great again" it should be "make white male America great again." But only if you don't happen to be a contractor or small business owner, because then he'll skin you alive to make a quick buck.

I'm trying not to be bitter.  Sad yes, and bewildered, and scared.  But I know bitterness and anger, disgust and more hatred aren't going to help.  I was prepared to bury my head in the sand and pretend this wasn't happening, for the next 4 years if need be. But then I saw a few people's rallying cry. Yes, it's a huge blow, but we need love more than ever. We need each other more than ever. Michael shared a great tweet at the end of her post, "Often our greatest courage is just getting up after a long night & persisting in doing good for others, serving, helping & never giving up." Audrey Louise reminded us that Trump's America isn't hers and extended her love to all those who might be feeling the lack right now.

My favorite post is my sister's, which I've screen captured to give her some semblance of privacy.


I'm a little ashamed that my first impulse was to run and hide but now, reluctantly, and perhaps begrudgingly, I'm admitting these people are right. Giving up on our country, escaping to Canada, or burying our heads in the sand for the next 4 years aren't going to help anything.

As hard as it is right now, I'm not deleting my news feeds or social media accounts. I might refuse to discuss politics in person but I am sure as hell going to keep educating myself on the issues and voting, even when it feels pointless. I'm going to research until I figure out how the primaries work and what I have to do to be allowed to vote in them, even though sometimes it feels like the government is purposely obfuscating information about our election process. And if you're a vote-abstainer, I am going to give you shit until you go get registered.

Inaction and apathy are the two things our country really can't take any more of right now.

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11 comments:

  1. Yep. I am still in the hiding and pinching myself in case it's a nightmare mode, but I appreciate the call to arms and hope. It's nice to hear other people getting ready to strike the match, even when I'm still in the dark.

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  2. Well-said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm learning today more than ever how comforting it is to know exactly which people in your life you can look to with trust and feel safe with, and happy to see my blog family is a big group of those people.
    As I titled my post, this is only the beginning. The worst MAY be yet to come, but I'll hold out hope that America is just waiting to shock me again, in a good way this time, with how willing they are to fight for good, for humanity, for equality for all.

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  3. I've been trying to hold myself together, but I started full-on crying in my cubicle at my office of mostly Trump supporters. Think I'm going to have to finish the work day from home. Your sister's post is great. I agree, this is the first time I've felt ashamed to be American. I've been embarrassed by some of the things our country has done in the past, but never have I felt like this.

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  4. I physically ache right now. I naively believed like so many that when it came time to vote - that people would not choose hate. But they did. I'm scared as a woman and a minority and I'm ashamed as a proud American because this is not my America. Like you, I was tempted to just stay in bed and put my head in the sand and wish 2020 would get here lickety split. But that's also what got us here. I love both the thoughts and hope you expressed here and what you shared from your sister as well. And it is those thoughts, beliefs and rallying cries that gives me strength and faith that all is not lost. That people will rise up and demand better. That they won't give hate a blank check. It's also a huge wake-up call that we have a ton of work to do around racism and sexism, which is depressing but also gives us an opportunity to actually address and fix the problem. Because I didn't know those pockets were so big and deep either.

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  5. Jenn, this is beautifully written! And thank you for sharing my post. Believe it or not, 2020 will be here soon. And in these next 4 years we owe it to ourselves and this broken country to educate, rise up, and stand up for what we believe in. I plan to learn all I can about the electoral college because it's BROKEN. Our government has been broken for years and we all just ignore it because "that's the way it is". I'm tired of hearing that cop out. I'm tired of participating it at times. We need to love and we need to learn.

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  6. I know one thing for certain, if this one event hasn't opened everyone's eyes to drop the hate and get together with love to fix our broken country, I don't know what will. Unfortunately, humans continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, not learning from the first sting. I hope with all of my heart that this is the one time we learn. We can't run away from this, or nothing changes. We must all stand up and do SOMETHING.

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  7. One of my closest friends is Mexican and she is legit terrified of her safety in this country now. All I could tell her was that there are enough of us who love her and we got her back. We will not let anything happen to her.

    This country is on the brink of something and I hope it's people like you and me and Alyssa and your sister who push it in the right direction rather than the alternative. I don't know if I can handle that.

    P.S. How about our little Delaware going all historical and voting a black woman to the House?! At least we can be proud of that.

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  8. this was a beautiful and eloquent post Jenn. thank you for sharing. you said exactly how i am feeling/felt. i went to sleep early on the night of the election because there was absolutely no possibility in my mind of anything other than what i was expecting. i said to kc 'this is so cool, one day when we have kids, it will with a female president and isn't that an amazing world to bring a kid into?'. we woke up at 5am to go to the gym and KC rolled over to check his phone and just started saying 'oh my god, oh my god'. i didn't say anything, pretended to be asleep. he goes 'kristen' and i said 'don't tell me. i don't want to know'. i knew, of course i knew. but i wanted to stick my head in the sand as well. i am just so despondent. so upset, and scared and just like... bewildered at how the world (okay, country) is going ahead like something ridiculously horrible didn't just happen? but like you, i've come around and i don't want to stick my head in the sand at all. i want to stand up and shout, educate myself and be involved in the things that are important to me.

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  9. I felt, feel, like I've been kicked in the teeth. I'm going to wallow in my despair for awhile and then get back out there and fight. I'm bruised and battered but I've still got some fight left in me. Thank you for your words.

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  10. I have been fighting a migraine since Tuesday, I have had a constant nauseated feeling. Thankfully my lesbian daughter and her girlfriend are handling it better than I am. I think I am just a cynic and they are still young and naive. I'm hoping I am wrong and it will all be ok. I explained to my youngest that life isn't always fair and sometimes we have very hard choices to make and not everyone handles making those decisions rationally. I am really surprised that more people didn't vote 3rd party. All in all I think I am still in shock.

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  11. I am with you ... I thought and have been saying "no way is his campaign going to be taken seriously"...then, "no way are the Republicans going to nominate him"...then, "no way will enough people vote for him that he will be elected President."

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