Friday, November 11, 2016

What I'm hearing on Facebook these days

When you say, "Please can we just stop the fighting and unify as the great country we are?"

I hear, "I am not listening to your concerns."

When you say, "Please can we just go back to posting pictures of what we're eating and cats?"

I hear, "I have accepted and moved on and so I need you to do the same, whether you are ready or not."

When you say, "It's time to move on past this."

I hear, "I do not respect or understand that you need more time to grieve and process."

When you say, "Stop posting all these hateful things."

I hear, "I have seen some truly hateful things being posted. And they are keeping me from hearing the message you are trying to send because I have lost faith in my ability to discern truth from fiction or reason from hyperbole."

When you say, "He won the election because a majority voted for him."

I hear, "I don't actually understand how our election process works."

When you say, "The protests should stop because they look like whining crybabies."

I hear, "I do not understand that people are truly hurting and very afraid."
(or maybe if we're being really honest it's "I am afraid I have contributed to these peoples' hurt and anger.")

When you say, "Protests have never happened before after an election."

I hear, "I do not know how to use Google to fact-check before I make an absolute statement."

When you say, "Keep it off Facebook."

I hear, "I need a break from reading things I do not agree with."
Also: "I do not know the difference between "unfollowing" and "unfriending" someone on Facebook.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Not Ready to Make Nice

Yes, people are protesting the election of Donald Trump. Some are doing it with FB posts. Some are doing it by participating in large group protests. Others are doing it in whatever way feels best to them. 

Why does this bother you? 

Where was your outrage when people rioted - calling out racial slurs - after Obama was RE-elected in 2012? (Seriously - try googling "protests after election" and you will see this is nothing new regardless of which party won the office.)

Where was your outrage when the birther movement persisted? 

Where was your outrage when for 8 years, we have regularly seen our President disrespected with words that are full of hatred and bigotry, not to mention untruths? (He is not Muslim. He is not Kenyan. You saying he is doesn't make it so.) He was our President after all, so he deserved everyone's respect, right?

I still remember all the sad, racist things that have been said over the years, including by my own friends and family.

Where was your outrage when Trump supporters routinely and regularly chanted things like "lock her up," or referred to her as "Killary" or called Latinos "Mother f---ing tacos" or called for the lynching of reporters - all at campaign rallies?

You reap what you sow, and these are the seeds that have been sown by our President-Elect. 

If you don't condemn, you condone.

Some of us just need some time. All of your posts about "we just need to unify" are hitting bruised hearts right now. It confirms that you aren't really trying to unify with us, because you aren't even listening to us. Some of us do not yet want to unify. We do not want to align with hate. We do not want to align with misogyny or xenophobia.

And yes, we ARE having trouble explaining this to our children. Because they watch TV. They watched the debates. They watched Donald Trump speak to his opponent in ways we never allow them to speak to each other or anyone, and they don't understand how we the adults could let this happen. He is not what we have taught them a real leader is. Their very sense of safety and security has been shaken this week. My daughter said, "I don't like what he said about women and people who aren't white." She didn't say "Mexicans" or "Muslims," or any of the other words we hear all the time. She wasn't parroting anything we've been saying. She was paying attention and she came to her own conclusion. She is six. And she is both female and not all white.  So yes, what do I say to comfort her and make her feel secure again when I don't feel that way myself?

We did not vote "against" Donald Trump, despite the ongoing rhetoric that seeks to paint that picture. We voted enthusiastically FOR Hillary Clinton. Many of us shed tears as we filled in that circle, so filled were we with hope and anticipation. We did not vote for her because she is a woman, but that was a momentous side effect. Some of us sensed a world that was finally changing in time for our daughters to fully appreciate it, only to have that hope come crashing down hours later.

If you voted against Hillary because you considered Trump the "lesser of two evils," that is your right. I am so glad you voted and I do not care how or why. But do not assume we all cast our votes in this manner.

In fact, I am making a pledge from this point forward. I came dangerously close to voting in this exact manner this year. But in the last six weeks or so, I took the time to delve deeper and something in my heart changed. I love how it felt to vote FOR a candidate. It's actually the only way I have ever voted in a Presidential election and I vow for as long as I live, it's the only way I will. If I don't feel strongly FOR someone, I will exercise my right to stay silent. (I have many friends who did that this election and I admire them so much.)

You labeling protesters as "anti-American" or "crybabies" does not help move us toward unifying with you, it only serves to further the divide and deepen the alienation we feel from our fellow countrymen. 

We want to be sure our voices are not lost in the hostility we sense being aimed right at us.

A friend suggested that the way I'm feeling now is probably how McCain/Romney supporters felt in the past two elections. Perhaps that is true, I don't know.  Perhaps I wasn't as sensitive or compassionate as I should have been and if that's the case, I'm sorry. Or perhaps it's true that many people's only real deep-rooted issue with Obama was the color of his skin. I don't want to believe that is true but after this week, please understand that I no longer trust what I used to believe to be true about my fellow citizens. It is a scary time for me and many who feel as I do.

I have experienced racism and bigotry while in public with my husband before. Children have laughed and pointed at him using Chinese slurs, (which only further exacerbates their obvious ignorance since he is Filipino) among other things. There is a feeling we both have right now that the possibility of something like that happening is high. That we could go to a movie and be followed out to the parking lot. So that means we are living in a state of heightened alert and paranoia right now. Last night I heard a car speed past our house after a series of "pop pop pops." Intellectually, I knew it was nothing. But I still went outside to see if something had been thrown or shot at our house. 

Because that feels like a legitimate possibility right now. 

Because this is the reality we are living in. And we don't know how long it will last.

I have perhaps never understood my white privilege as acutely as I do in this very moment.

Perhaps- just perhaps - your rushing of our grief process is in part due to your own regret. Perhaps the sooner we all "accept" and "move on" and "unify," the sooner you can assuage your own feelings of having let us down, or your own fears that perhaps you made a rash decision. Or maybe it's that you made peace with your choice months ago when you decided to vote for Trump, and you simply don't recognize that we need time to make peace with the result. 

I have been a supporter of the losing candidate several times in my voting history. I was devastated when Bill Clinton won, both times. I did not decide to vote for Barack Obama until the day of the election- both times. So this is not a partisan thing for me, nor for many of us. This election was about more than choosing a candidate. I'm sorry if you don't believe or understand that, because all I can do is tell you it's true.

We are told over and over that we live in the best country in the world. I'm still confident that's true, but this week has been a crushing blow that it is not the country we thought it was. 

Grieving is a process. We will get there. We will give President-elect Trump the benefit of the doubt, but we will do it on our timetable, not yours. . Of course we accept the results of the election, but that doesn't mean we have to like them. I'm still thankful we live in a country where it is our right to call people horrible names, to protest peacefully, and to take the time we need to heal fresh wounds. I'm just asking you to understand that we need that time.

We will go back to posting funny memes and pictures of our kids doing cool stuff. But we need a few days. Maybe even weeks.

To quote the Dixie Chicks, "I'm not ready to make nice." Not yet.