Obligatory Election Post
I know, I know. I haven't posted in a while. I had every intention of keeping a blog posting schedule this week. Then Tuesday happened.
If you're over the politics that's fine, I get it, ignore this post. I will say, this is not about politics, this is about civil rights. I've been through a lot of down and up since Tuesday and it's amazing how much I've learned about myself and other people in that time. I'm grateful for my ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner. I'm grateful that most of the time I am able to stay level headed and stay open minded.
With that said, I am truly concerned for our country and the safety for many people on both sides of the fence. Before I get into everything that's happened in the last few weeks, I'd like to start by telling you a little about me, my upbringing and my political experience.
I'm a nearly-30-year-old-woman from the very blue state of Maryland. I was raised by one very conservative republican, closed minded parent, and one very democratic, open minded parent. I think I'm grateful for this upbringing because it allows me to approach situations with a type of scrutiny that doesn't automatically believe or disbelieve either side. For instance, what's with the consipracy theories around Hillary and the damn e-mails? Where is the conspiracy here? My sister gave a great example: I check my e-mail from my phone all the time and I have both accounts on my phone, I can totally see how it would just happen from one or the other. Obviously that's speculation, but I just don't see how we hold on to these conspiracy ideas and don't hold onto very clear things like racism, misogyny, etc etc. Anyway, the one thing growing up in my house and area was enabled was this unintentional white privilege and being sheltered. I've had people of color in my life for my entire life. And not just in my life, but very important people in my life who were very close friends or role models. I never saw anyone as different from their skin color or differences or anything. I also really in the back of my mind was naive to the fact that blatant racism was still a thing. Since I have that white privilege people don't treat me differently so I don't see it... but people of color obviously see it every day, all the time. For blatant hate crimes to be rampant in the streets of American cities in 2016 is something really difficult for me to understand. KKK propaganda and hate crimes are from history... we're not in the civil rights movement... Anyway. I think I liked the idea of Bernie but wasn't sure how he could get so many of his radical changes through the system. I started actually paying attention. I started actually watching the conventions and listening to what was said. I timidly read articles and wondered if I was reading something that was untrue or too tainted by the left or right. I wanted to make my own opinions but I didn't know how to get the information, so I only made opinions based on things that seemed matter-of-fact.
Suddenly my sheltered blindfold was ripped off my face and I was reading about bonafide hate crimes in the news. I also was reading about freedom fighters causing riots, injury, and death. My heart was hurting and I felt broken. I felt like my country was not the one I grew up knowing and loving. A lot of older people and people on the right might call us 'crying liberals' or say 'grow up, you lost'. The problem with these sentiments is that for a lot of us our emotions are not just guided by the election, but civil rights. We cry or get depressed or whatever because we've never lived in a time like this before. Our world is irreversibly changed. I'm not saying we can't change what's going on, I mean our perception has changed because we're experiencing another installment of the Civil Rights movement. People may call it a bunch of crybabies bitching about a lost election, but I'm pretty sure it's not about that.
As my balls have dropped and I've learned to speak up for what I believe in, I've noticed a lot of close-mindedness on both sides. I take the time to sit and think before getting into some reactionary bullshit. In one case I was talking to a relative who is a Trump supporter. It started by her saying that this bullshit didn't happen during the Romney loss. My response was, this is about civil rights, not a damn election. Over the next few hours we went back and forth. Every time she brought something up I took my time to evaluate both sides of the issue before making a response. I made sure to understand where she was coming from and what she had issues with. Every time I took the time to respond she came back with something that was demeaning or making it seem like she's better than me and knows more than me and is right. I spent hours carefully constructing a response to her saying, "Oh so you support law enforcement getting ambushed because the current president caused a racial divide by calling white officers racist?" I even watched an Obama speech and spent the time typing up some of it which proved he didn't say they were racist. Her response was to accost me further and to tell me to get an education and grow up. Then I decided to sink to her level because another family member told me that's the only way to communicate with people like that. She said something about growing up and enjoy. My response was, "I'll try. You enjoy your alcoholism." In that moment I really wanted to ask Michelle Obama how we're supposed to stay high when they're always so low? The altercation ended in me being told I'm the reason they're not coming to Thanksgiving and her unfriending me.
That has been the most extreme of situations for me. I've had plenty more situations on social media where someone doesn't like what I post and I make sure I research everything they're claiming and everything I'm defending. A few times it has resulted in mutual understanding which makes me feel excellent and proud of myself for taking the time to communicate and educate others. Today someone posted something that was from a bad site and when I told him that he said Thanks and deleted it.
I have so much to say on the topic, but that just may have to happen over a series of posts. I will wrap it up by saying I think this is a huge opportunity for us as a country to grow stronger through unity. I think this is an opportunity for white people like me to realize that racism wasn't gone it was just behind closed doors and we need to fight it and find a way to educate people and also talk to them and figure out where the hate and racism stems from. I think it's incredibly important to go about this in a peaceful way. I think it is so important to fight for civil rights. I do think I can give Donald Trump a chance, but from his administration choices I'm not hopeful. I think as a country our better choice would be to sway the electors for the electoral college in December. Think of it as a Christmas gift to the United States... and the world, frankly. I think causing riots and violence is going to hurt the cause and make everyone we need to reach less willing to be open minded. Every day that I'm outspoken about this, I learn something new. I don't think I've ever actually read Martin Luther King Jr's speeches as an adult. Sure, when you're a kid you just get the jist of 'sweet this guy helped spark legislation that changed lives and American culture'. When you're an adult you really grasp and appreciate the depth and understanding this man tried to convey.
Please please educate yourself. Please please check your sources and make sure your information is current! I've posted two articles on Facebook that weren't current. When we do this it circulates information that isn't relevant and when extreme things are shared that are false or not current it really fucks with things. Be responsible with your resources! Make sure you google sites before believing everything you read.
Let me know how you feel! Let's talk about it.