Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election 2016

I want to weigh in on this. I start comments on Facebook, only to delete them. I try to say something aloud, then quickly bite back the words. So I will say this here, in my space, and hope I will not feel, ever, that I have to defend it.

We elected a person who fills me with dread, revulsion, and rage. People told me he was better than Hilary Clinton. She was a security risk to the country, they said. She did something illegal (but they don't know exactly what it was - only that it involved email), then tried to cover it up, they said. She kills babies, they said.

And I am trying to understand how this measures up against a man whom I have seen threaten people with physical harm. I have heard him say words that exclude members of other races, religions, and sexual orientations. I have watched a video of him describing how he humiliates, objectifies, and uses women. He has threatened to close our country to immigration when he, himself, is the son of immigrants. He has discussed his desire for nuclear proliferation. In my mind, these things add up to security risks to our country, illegal actions, and, yes, the killing of babies...and people of all ages.

Perhaps I am too literal.

The truth of all this is that while the man, himself, causes me severe anxiety because of his support of rape culture, bigotry, chauvinism, etc., he was chosen, selected by my fellow citizens. And that is even scarier than the existence of our new president. People like him are real. They take the forms of bullies, abusers, rapists, and oppressors. They are narcissists and gaslighters. They believe they are right, always, and if they say something that is incorrect often enough, people will believe them. This election upholds everything such people have assumed about the general population.

And after Donald Trump is gone, the people and organizations who elected and supported him will still be here. The bullies will continue bullying. The abusers will not cease to abuse. The liars will continue to tell the same untruths repeatedly in an effort to deceive those who hearken to thier words. Those who made this happen are not going away.

So I am here, in this place, making a plan to survive the next four years. That I will survive is a certainty.

But I would love to, somehow, turn the tide that is driving the citizens of this country to believe that deception and denial can somehow become viable social rhetoric.

I would like them to understand that in treating women as objects, supporting rape culture, denying them equal pay for equal work, and forcing them to live in a society which treats them as second class citizens, we are shooting ourselves in the foot economically, socially, and emotionally. As long as women are sexual statistics, we cannot thrive.

I would be ecstatic if the general population did not feel the need to blame people of color or different countries for the problems we encounter here, but rather than blame, seek solutions, especially those that would require us to work with the very people who have been blamed in the past.

I want us to get a grip, become sane, and stop looking to extremist thought and action to bail us out of whatever situation is causing us distress. Because it doesn't work. Not ever. No one is completely moderate, but I'll settle for mostly moderate with a healthy dose of lucidity and logic.

No walls. No threats. No alienation.

We are called the UNITED States. We can be united alone as we ignore global situations and destroy diplomatic ties with our international neighbors. Or we can be united with them as we search for cooperative ways to solve problems and live on our shared planet.

I find it difficult to believe that my opinion is currently shared by a minority of our society. It is abhorrent that a man who publicly attempts to shame women, who is absolutely careless about their social treatment, and who would punish them for making decisions about their own bodies, is now representing the country of which I am a citizen. And yes, for me, it really is about the implicit and explicit treatment of women above all else. That is not to say that I'm dismissing the fears within the communities of minorities, immigrants, and LGBT citizens. I share those fears. But as a woman who has experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, abuse, and rape, those are the things that speak loudly to me right now.

So my hope is that those of us who are thinking clearly, the ones who understand that having a man with a toddler mentality leading our country is a bad thing, can come together. My hope is that we can serve our 4-year sentence with grace and dignity while relentlessly doing what is necessary to build bridges, reconstruct common decency, and stand firmly for what is right. Because it is right to want people from all walks of life to enjoy the same rights as those born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It is right to welcome people who have lost their homes due to terror and war. It is right to work to help the poor and needy, to mourn with those who mourn, to comfort those in need of comfort.

And no matter how many times our current president might make statements that disagree with what I have just said, it is still right. I do not have to say it repeatedly to make it so.

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