I don’t think anybody will like me after this post. I have been discussing…debating…contemplating the results of the election…public reaction…reaction to that reaction. And these are my thoughts. I am going to start with my fellow lefties. We see signs in every protest that say “Love Trumps Hate”. I love this core concept. Love is more powerful than hate. And yeah, it is also a fun bit of wordplay. But the thing is, the same folks who want to post “Love Trumps Hate” are quick to cast hardcore aspersions and verbal stones. Not everyone who voted Trump is a racist or bigot. Were there some? Of course some were. I mean David Duke supported Trump. The official paper of the KKK endorsed him. But a large number of Trump voters actually voted for Obama previously. I personally know plenty of people who were focused on specific things unrelated to women, gays and non-white people.
Also? Can we stop this post mortem blaming? It is the fault of black people! The Media! Not choosing Bernie Sanders! Third Party voters! And so on and so on. I am really starting to think this “soul searching” will get so convoluted, we will be unable to resolve, move forward and support each other.
For Love to trump hate, we need to focus on using that love. Even for those we might be frustrated and angry with. Our tendency towards name-calling is problematic. One thing I can tell you…I do not know one person who supported Trump who was swayed by Trump being called Fuckface Von Clownstick. Or Drumf. I say this as a big fan of both Jon Stewart and John Oliver. I say this as a person who finds Trump a man with little redeeming qualities. Even the whole “But He Has Great Kids!” No, his sons at least seem like pretty unpleasant guys. And yet, talk about assassination does not help at all. It just pushes people away. Remember how those people who joked about killing Obama and Hillary rubbed us the wrong way?
We need to also take stock of what is actually possible, versus what Trump cannot do. Gay marriages will not likely be annulled. It is, of course in the Republican Platform, but it will be hard to undo. However, all laws pertaining to the Trans Community? Those were executive orders…Trump could dump those quickly. Instead of giving into a fear of the unknown, we should look into what is likely and what is unlikely to be impacted first. Focus on addressing the stuff that is likely first.
Also…do not create fake stories about bigots attacking you if you were not attacked. Some of the stories (including one in my home state) are getting debunked quite quickly. This damages the witness of the true stories. This one could be tough, as I suspect there are other issues at play with people who fabricate stories, like a desire to be recognized.
“Hate will get you everytime.” –Always Love by Nada Surf
The fact is that love can be a powerful change agent. It can change the hardest hearts. If we are going to claim Love as a triumphant power, we cannot mix hatred in with it. Hate undermines love when it is given room to grow. If we truly believe love will overcome hate, we need to show love to even those we might find unlovable. Or people we might at least struggle to love.
Showing a better path is easier said than done. And I am not saying you should not be frustrated or angry. I find myself struggling. I am not asking people to suck it up and support Trump. No…protest. Investigate. Stay vigilant. Support those concerned about what Trump’s presidency means for them. You do not need to get over it, less than a week into things.
“Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable.” – Finley Peter Dunne
Love does not mean falling in line. It means reaching out. It means listening. It means stepping in to hate. It means speaking out. But it means doing so with an eye towards not tearing people down. Again, this can be hard. It is easier to let our anger turn to rage and hate. It is easy to let our frustration make us despair. It is easier to look at people who made a choice that we feel was terrible for the country as villains. We on the left need each other’s support. We need to be looking out for each other. We also need to hear the people who were also fearful. Because the fact is, Trump appealed to fears. He appealed to the fear of terrorists slipping in among the people seeking refuge from their homelands. He appealed to the fear of their economic future. He appealed to anger. The anger people had against politics as usual. Reach out in love to people. Try to provide solace…try to ease their fear. Truly allow love to trump hate.
“This night corrupts us all.”- Elizabeth Mitchell, The Purge: Election Day
Hey…Trump Supporters and Conservatives. Hope you did not think that this would not address you as well. So, the morning after the election of Trump, there was suddenly a call to put it behind us and unite behind Trump as our president. Unify! Heal! Really now? Are you joking? Less than a day into Barack Obama’s Presidency, Fox News was declaring him the worst ever. Like 24 hours before, when it was “Liberals are terrible and do not respect the office of the Presidency!!!” The next day it was “This president is not legit!”
Barack Obama won without question. And the response was people trying to prove he was born in Kenya and not legitimate to hold office, because he was not a real American. It was a wholly ridiculous as conspiracies go. And this was not a fringe belief. In fact, our current President-Elect is one of the people who pushed the conspiracy for years. He claimed he had investigators in Hawaii and people were going to be shocked by what they are finding. This was during the 2012 Election season. He never revealed this stunning information before or after the election. The most likely reason is because in the end he actually had no stunning information. And I would bet he did not have any investigators either.
During the Bush Years, I had people telling me that conservatives would never behave like liberals were behaving. I can only assume they missed the 90’s where Bill Clinton was accused of murdering Vince Foster on the Senate (Oh, but Harry Reid referring to Trump as a sexual predator is beyond the pale!). But they were certain Conservatives and Republicans would behave differently.
Back to 2009…the right was pretty upset that Obama won. Republicans were suggesting they should obstruct, obstruct and obstruct. Late in 2009 we got the Tea Party. They protested Obama. Republicans courted them. The ones that did not, well, the Tea Party voted them out. There was a lot of protest. I would say that both Obama and Romney were pretty gentlemanly, and most of their controversies were based in poor word choice (Binder full of Women and so on). And then, when Obama won? Here was the response:
There was no, “Let’s get behind Obama and unify” in 2008 or 2012. People complained how badly Obama divided the country. So, if you want to start the healing? Stop telling the protesters to get behind Trump. Stop calling the protestors whiners. Stop asking them to accept it. Also, stop using pictures of riots in Greece and Venezuela and claiming they are from protests here in the U.S.
Conservatives have pointed out that they were told to suck it up when Obama was elected. But here is the thing…
You did not suck it up and accept it. You insulted the President. You protested loudly. Stop talking about groups helping organize protests as if they are being sneaky and underhanded. The Tea Party was not spontaneous. There were Grass Roots organizations that helped organize protests. These groups provided props for protesters. They bussed people in to protest. Protests need some guidance. So, Trump and his supporters need to stop complaining about Professional Protestors. In spite of Trump and his supporters concerns about protests after he won the election, back in 2012, this was his response to Obama winning:
Right before Election Day, Republican Joe Walsh tweeted this:
After Election Day?
And people talked about armed insurrection if Hillary won. So, stop talking like you would have lined up behind Hillary. We all know that is hogwash.
“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.” – Lindsey Lohan, Mean Girls
I mentioned name-calling earlier. And frankly, Trump supporters have no moral high ground there. Trump supporters are every bit as guilty of this tactic. Even more? President Elect Donald Trump has been insulting and name-calling for years. He did it in TV interviews, magazine stories and…holy crap…his Twitter feed in bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. That would be enough, but then came the primaries. From the primaries on he made it his tactic to give condescending and insulting nicknames. They were not always that great (Lyin Ted? Crooked Hillary? For being so great, he sure lacks imagination). Trump takes the easy roads, people. The low road is always easier.
So, stop the name-calling. Stop insulting you opponents. There is a popular viral video that folks are passing around where a British guy who hates Trump goes on a rant about how Liberals are guilty of all these qualities. And the real message in the video is that Liberals need to be willing to discuss. But that applies to Trump supporters as well. Take the time to listen and discuss the concerns of people who are upset about the election of Trump. You might find they have some real concerns. And since we spent eight years listening to fears that Obama would be taking away your guns in spite of not one proposal being put forth in that time…the least you can do is listen to the people concerned their marriages will be invalidated (Again, the Republican platform encourages the reversal of gay marriage to “protect the family”). Listen to Trans people; listen to non-white people wondering about their future under Trump. Stop talking like PC culture is the worst thing ever. That is just an excuse not to listen. Stop telling those of us who struggle and cannot just stand behind the President Elect that our concerns about the man should be ignored. Especially because plenty of folks kept telling me that they did not like Trump, even though they were voting for him. You know there are valid criticisms of the man. Folks state they voted for Trump to end the political cycle. This is pretty much up to debate as whether he will be a change agent. I would hope it is true. That he would upset the Mario Kart in a positive way.
“For the heart with no companion, for the soul without a king. For the prima
Ballerina who cannot dance to anything.” – Leonard Cohen
Speaking to both sides now? Be better. Instead of pointing at the other side and saying they do it to? Stop the cycle. Be that change. Be better. Be the one who loves the flawed. If we cling to the anger, this cycle won’t end. It won’t change. Every four to eight years, the script will flip and the side that wins will tell the other side to shut up and get in step. So, with no regard to how the other side is behaving? Be better. Be kinder. Love more. Fight injustice with strength and nobility. Challenge bigotry with wisdom.
If things are going to be as bad as some of us expect over the next few years? We will need to have support of folks who voted for Trump. And if it is as bad as we fear, a lot of people who voted Trump are going to be pretty disillusions. That is when that unity and healing will occur. I mean, we could be wrong. He has not earned that so far from me.
“But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.”- Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
And yeah, believe me, this is hard. I get that. Anyone who knows me knows that I can find these discussions frustrating. I am whole-heartedly guilty of the insults and name-calling I spoke of. I am guilty of expecting the other side to capitulate. But I want to get better at that. I want to be able to not give in to snarky and insulting memes (Hey! How about we stop that too!!!) about my side of the aisle. I would like to stop liking the harsh memes about the right. I want to be the person offering better ways. I want to be an outstretched hand that can help. Maybe if we all started towards that together? The cycle might end and we might come together and challenge our politicians in a real way.
“And this is what it said on the sign! It said you gotta love everybody, make ’em feel good about themselves.” – the Presidents of the United States of America
Apologies to Ric Alba for stealing a lyric for this blog title. It is from a song called Truly Helpless from his OP album Holes in the Floor of Heaven. I could not locate it separately on YouTube (only the complete album). So here is a song Ric penned with the Altar Boys that speaks to this all quite well.