Fear. Generalizations. Stereotypes. Name Calling. Bickering. Personal Attacks. Violence.
All this and more have I watched and seen over the course of the last two years, and even the last few days, of what has been the ugliest, most vile stretch of life that I can ever imagine. Of course, what it was, was a campaign for the highest office in the land, a land once called “a shining city on a hill.” We were that once, to a bunch of dreamers. I’m not sure what we are now. Maybe we can be that again.
For those who would deny that some of the rhetoric from President-elect Trump hasn’t emboldened those who would use hate and fear to those who are different than them, I give you the last couple days of violence and verbal attacks toward minorities and women. For those who feel pained that their candidate lost their bid for the highest office, I say yes I get it, but candidates lose bids for office all the time. There is no need to destroy things for this. It’s the way democracy is supposed to work. Peaceably protest, absolutely; it is within your rights to do so. Giving public property an L in the process is not.
I wasn’t even sure I would write anything about the last few days. I didn’t feel like I had the words. I don’t even know if I can express what I’m trying to say, but here goes.
First of all, I don’t believe that everyone who supported Mr. Trump is a bigot, misogynist, racist or a xenophobe. No more so than I believe that those who supported Mrs. Clinton condone the things she has done or been attached to. Given the choices in this election, each candidate brought their own share of baggage, and if you weren’t voting for a third-party candidate (and they probably had their own share too), we were going to have to live with whatever they brought to the table. Nevertheless, the hate is out there, and so is the fear. I hope that the greater number of people in the country, no matter what candidate you supported, can be against that kind of behavior, and be willing to speak out against it. We preach and teach tolerance, but there is a subset that will not be tolerant; that will be mean and hateful toward those different from them. It isn’t what America was supposedly founded on, and certainly hasn’t always lived up to it, and we have a ways to go to get there.
As I have said before, it’s going to take all of us to make things work. For me, that begins with less talking and more listening. Or, to reflect what I have placed in the title of this post, less shouting at each other, and more dialogue with each other. The “my way or the highway” government, coupled with personal attacks, insults, fear-mongering, incorrect generalizations and stereotypes has got to cease. It’s a lazy way to solve problems. We need to roll up our sleeves and be the solutions that it seems our leaders don’t want any parts of. I’m tired of people we elected not governing for us, not bothering to do what they were called to do. We need people who are willing to work together, not obstruct everything. If you don’t like an idea someone brings to the table, that’s fine, but work toward something that can solve the problem. Or even acknowledge that there is a problem. When does that happen in our government?
Government in this country is broken. I hope our next President can do something about that, but I’m afraid that he won’t be able to. It is a job that will take more than one man to fix. No one person can undo what has been done here.
On Election Day, I was on Facebook (which was probably a mistake) when I saw one of my friends post a request to share the words from the Pledge of Allegiance. I read those words and focused on the word “indivisible.” If I remember correctly, that word means united, or not divided. I look around and I don’t see that. It is going to take a while to heal the divisions in our country, if they can be healed. I don’t want to sound as if I’m giving up hope that it can be done, but the further we go, the worse it seems to get. I always say we have more that unites us than divides us, and that a house divided against itself cannot stand. What I’ve seen over the last few days makes me wonder if the house can ever be repaired. We can all reasonably disagree over the issues, but there is no place for hate and fear-mongering.
Despite everything, there is an opportunity here. An opportunity to turn back from this way and find a new way. A way that works for those who feel angry and disenfranchised as well as those who appear to be better off. A way that works for everyone. It won’t happen overnight; Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. Where we find ourselves today didn’t happen overnight either. We can’t allow fear to govern us; we need to be strong and courageous, willing to work out our differences with gifted hands, not bludgeoning hammers. Where the pride of wanting to be right is replaced with the will to do what is good for the people.
For those that took the time to read this far, thank you for that. If it reads like some kind of screed I’m sorry. If it bores you to tears, I apologize. If you think I’m crazy, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard it. This is just a few among many things that have been bouncing around my head over the last few days.
I’m sure the shouting will go on even after this.