Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Talk: Understanding the Fear after the Elections

Election night blues
Election day was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. But the day after, the emotions were crystal clear. Anger, disappointment and sadness hung over my head like a cloud. For many of us, this wasn’t an election about Republicans vs. Democrats, big government vs. small government or rural strife vs. inner city problems. It was about right vs. wrong. And to wake up to the fact that half of America (who bothered to vote) voted for someone who lit up the campaign trail with insidious rhetoric aimed at anyone who wasn’t white was like a punch to the gut.  

So, to all of my Caucasian counterparts who are wondering why I’m a little stand-offish and clearly not my jovial self in polite company these days, let’s talk.

Most of my Republican friends will say they voted for Trump because of what he said about bringing jobs back to Middle America. Others will say they voted for Trump because he is going to cut taxes and be more fiscally responsible. All of those reasons are fine. But let's talk about the other things he said, the things that people are so quick to overlook, the things you turned a blind eye and ear to during the election and since. He has flung about horribly insensitive and racially-charged rhetoric that has set the tone for people to do things like push a girl off the sidewalk at Baylor University and call her a Nigger, or tell our Hispanic elementary school students that they need to go back to where they came from.

Are those examples too far removed from your daily life? I kind of thought so too, until a parent at my son’s school called saying she was upset because there were boys passing out donuts to Trump supporters but not Hillary supporters. I’m sure it was all fun and games, but not funny and it wasn’t a game. Or how about when my nine-year-old daughter came home and said one of her nine-year-old classmates said she was glad Trump was elected so he can keep the Mexicans from killing us.

What?!!!  This is an absolute shock! Or is it?

You see, the rhetoric on the campaign trail and now in the White House has energized and given a louder voice to this awful behavior in our society. In many cases around the country, it’s not just talk anymore. It has turned into action. Swastikas and Confederate flags aren’t necessarily new, but they are being flown high with new confidence and pride. I don’t feel safe in a neighborhood that I have live in for the last five years and a country that I was born in. I’m worried about letting my children walk the dog. People are entirely too comfortable with being confrontational and violent. Where does it stop? Who is going to stand up for me and my family, if it comes down to that? I used to think the people of this country would. Now, I'm not so sure.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think all of my conservative friends who voted for Trump are racists. But you co-signed for someone who is…or who clearly has racist, sexist tendencies. You can’t say you care about my family, but then vote for someone who wouldn’t give my son a job solely based on the color of his skin. You can’t say you think my daughter is great, but then vote for someone who thinks that a woman’s looks determine her value. You can’t care about me, but then vote for someone who would do me harm.

So yeah, I feel slightly betrayed. We have normalized crazy, and crazy is taking full advantage.

Some are saying, “Give him a chance.” I did. Every day of the campaign, Trump had the chance to turn the corner toward reconciliation, but he never did.

Some are saying, “Let’s come together.”  You can’t degrade and demean me for 18 months and expect me to get over it in 8 days.

Some are saying, “Get over it.” I would if the President-elect would not constantly dismiss my concerns by appointing a known alt-right sympathizer to the highest post in the White House.

I am truly hoping that this President will prove me wrong. Yet, I have a sneaky suspicion that he is who he has said he is.

Real Talk. I can understand if you voted for Trump because of what he said about NAFTA, taxes and jobs. But, I can’t understand wearing blinders when it comes to who he is and what he stands for. You can't pick and chose the parts you like. You have to realize that a person’s integrity stems from the totality of their life and works. After 70 years, I don’t like the picture that Trump's life has painted. More importantly, after 70 years, I don’t see it changing.

P. S. for those of you who didn’t vote at all, I can’t with you…

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