I’m not on Facebook, so I cannot respond directly to my Democratic/Liberal friend’s post that initially stoked my ire and disappointment. Since that post, there have been numerous articles and Op-Eds calling for the People’s response to mass atrocities and inhumane actions to be more publicly “civil.” Yet, like my friend on Facebook, so many of the people calling for this are otherwise intelligent individuals with ginormous hearts. That is why I hold out hope that these words may be heard and considered with seriousness and openness by those who may not yet realize the negative repercussions of calling for the same “restraint.”
The Democrat’s current mantra of a “Return to Civility” is no different from Trump’s “Make America great again.” It’s a form of propaganda that can only be said with any seriousness by people with privilege; by people for whom these issues aren’t actually life and death. I find it to be both reckless and immensely harmful, even though I believe that is often the opposite of its intent. This misguided call for civility has recently been exemplified in this Washington Post article: Liberal hostility toward Trump aides could galvanize the GOP base and this L.A. Times Op-Ed: Making Trump officials miserable doesn’t accomplish anything. Vote them out if you want change.
Unfortunately, it’s the same mindset that allowed the majority of white Democrats to consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an “enemy of the State” and a “threat to Democracy” at the time of his assassination. It’s the same voice as those who thought the Vietnam war protests were a “formula for discord.” It’s the same privileged view that, in 1966, a Harris Poll revealed 54 percent of whites said that they would not march or protest if they “were in the same position as Negroes,” and two months later, in October 1966, that 85 percent of whites insisted that civil rights demonstrations hurt Negroes more than they helped (sound familiar?). By starting down this slippery slope, one ends up siding with the people who perpetuate oppression and atrocities while allowing oneself to feel as if you are fighting or resisting them, but from a more “dignified” place. What this unwittingly ensures is that there will be little-to-no consequence for politicians who commit atrocities. God forbid there should be “public” consequences, lifestyle consequences or discomfort. Continue reading “A Response To The Democratic Call For “Liberal Civility.””
Under the Trump Administration, America finds itself in the midst of a worst-case scenario conservative/corporate agenda free-for-all.
It’s very clear to most everyone that Trump himself isn’t calling most of the shots, but he’s opened the floodgates and the result is going to be mass suffering not just here in America, but across the globe.
The way to fight this, to change this, is not only to point out what is happening, but to offer real-world, concrete alternatives. It is completely antithetical to this outcome to get behind Democratic candidates and politicians who choose to align themselves with anti-Trump Republicans over pro-Democratic liberals.
The Trump administration is horrific. But there is always a silver lining. In this case, that silver lining is liberals coming together to offer a truly progressive liberal alternative to what is happening. Not aiming for some conservative middle-ground that alienates a huge swath of Americans, but embracing the values and ideals and laws that we want to see this country represent not only in word but in action. Continue reading “What Does YOUR America Look Like & How Far Are You Willing To Go To Make It A Reality?”
I see a lot of people writing about how we should, post-election results, allow ourselves the time to – and recognize the importance of being able to – embrace feelings of mourning, of anger and disappointment, of frustration and sadness. I couldn’t agree more. From the deepest recesses of my soul. These are real feelings attached to real human beings having a very real experience. It’s not only important to allow ourselves to feel these things, it is essential.
It’s also important to recognize when we don’t extend that same opportunity and compassion to others. When Bernie Sanders lost in the Primaries, the thing I heard the most from my most-avid Hillary-voting friends, was “Your candidate lost. End of story. Get over it. Shut up and stop whining.” This was followed by a barrage – both public and private – of Bernie Sanders supporters (and Independents) being shamed and derided, of being told they were “getting in the way” and, in no uncertain terms, to be silent. I even had friends who mockingly shared a video of a young Bernie Sanders supporter crying when Bernie lost. They found it funny, absurd, ridiculous.
It is essential in breaking down the many actions taking place this election cycle, to comprehend the immense emotional and cultural need for a woman president in this country. The mourning happening now is real, as was the deep, deep desire that allowed many to see a monumental and long-overdue opportunity for healing and recognition and empowerment that should have taken place generations ago.
This morning as we all face a President Trump, Democrats across the nation are trying to understand how this happened. And who to blame.
For the past year, I have been pleading daily on social media and elsewhere – anywhere people might listen – for inclusiveness and empathy for the many struggles and experiences that were taking place. But it never happened. In fact, social dialogue moved even more deeply in the opposite direction.
You can’t fight fascism by trying to silence or diminish people. You fight fascism by listening to the people, by hearing them. The Democratic Party has a long history of not being able to read the room, of seeming incapable of feeling the temperature of the country and act accordingly.
This election, the DNC, Hillary, and many of Hillary’s most vocal supporters, chose to spend their time telling people to shut up. By painting pictures of them as deplorable or selfish, irresponsible, or simply getting in the way.
Until Democrats can recognize and comprehend their own vast role in the creation and perpetuation of Trump and Trumpism – and ultimately for this Trump presidency – we stand no chance of breaking our own destructive cycle. Continue reading “When “Stronger Together” Is Just A Campaign Slogan”
Thoughts one day before the election:
Months ago, I committed to voting for Hillary because of the unique threat Trump poses. I’ve been vocal about my decision to vote for Hillary and have written about why it is important to stop Trump and have asked others to vote for Hillary as well. I have also asked for tolerance and understanding for the myriad experiences taking place during this election cycle. I have tried to offer perspective on why it is difficult for many to vote for Hillary even under these extreme circumstances and those like myself who will vote for her, but for whom it is a deep and oftentimes painful and confusing struggle. I had hoped that as a liberal reaching out to other liberals, I would be met with some measure of understanding. In some instances that has happened. Unfortunately, in far too many, it has not.
Hillary is not as dangerous as Trump. I believe that with utmost certainty. That is why I chose to vote for her. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that in this final week, I have been on the receiving end of and have witnessed much that has forced me to second-guess that decision to vote for her, that has made that personal struggle even more intense.
Yes, Hillary is not as bad as Trump. However, I have found that far too many Hillary-supporters are as dangerous in my mind as your average Trump-supporter. The level of intolerance and shaming I have seen has left me feeling that the divide between conservatives and liberals isn’t as wide as we might think or believe, that we are all susceptible to being both manipulated and instigated by fear. Even though I am voting for Clinton, I have still been called “selfish” and “irresponsible” for trying to express and share with others why that decision is such a difficult one; to offer perspective for those out there struggling to understand why and how this decision could be fraught, could be immensely challenging, even painful.
This has come from people who believe they speak for and represent the party of inclusiveness, empathy, open-mindedness, equality, freedom of speech and choice, and are fighting for the “common good.” I have witnessed a level of hate and intolerance and bullying that has left me spinning. In addition to the names that I have been called, in addition to the immense intolerance I have been shown by so very many, I have also watched women attacking other women for expressing their difficulties in voting for Hillary, for having a different perspective or a different struggle. I have seen groups of women calling other women “twats” and claiming that those women don’t even have a right to be called “women.” To me, this is incredibly destructive, it is the antithesis of empowerment. It is most certainly not inclusive or compassionate. And it certainly isn’t working toward any “common good.” The phenomenon or “trend” I am witnessing, of fear and anxiety manifesting as intolerance and discrimination and taking the form of browbeating and hostility, feels like a rampant response that has only escalated as election day approaches. Hate and intolerance doesn’t lead Democrats to a different place than it does Republicans. It’s the same road. Continue reading “What I bring with me into the voting booth tomorrow”