Monday, November 14, 2016

What I'm Hearing Now

Photo Credit: Google Image Search

In trying to remain true to my word, this past weekend, I completed the arduous task of going through my facebook friends and refollowing those I had intentionally unfollowed due to their political posts that I had disagreed with.  To be perfectly honest, this was painful.  And while I don’t derive a great deal of pleasure from social media anymore in general, this made the experience of scrolling through my feed quite uncomfortable.  But, I have committed to live into this discomfort and I made an effort to really read what was being shared or liked, and here is what I’ve learned:

People who voted for Trump overwhelming appear to have done so because they did not like Hillary and were afraid of what she would do while in office.  Oftentimes, this appeared to have boiled down to abortion.  And to be honest, this rhetoric seems to make sense to me and if more people would openly say this, I think it could help move the conversation forward.  While I am most definitely pro-choice, I can respect that for some people, the deal breaker is abortion.  Voting your conscience on this issue is something I can’t really argue.  The idea of Hillary appointing Supreme Court justices who could tip the scales of the court to lean left was truly terrifying for some people.  I can respect this.  I disagree with it, but I can respect it.  I would encourage folks who voted for Trump for these reasons to speak up.  To remind folks that they voted for a candidate who made them feel safe in regards to issues that are fundamental to who they are as people, as religious folks, etc.  I think that could do a lot to dispel the myth that the majority of folks who voted for Trump did so because they agree with how he speaks.  This would have been the dialogue if any other republican candidate had won, in my opinion.

People who voted for Trump think that the liberal folks are being sore losers and need to get over it.  I’m sure it’s annoying to see people “bellyaching” over this election.  I was in Alabama when Obama was first elected, and I remember thinking to myself “come on, folks, this is not that big of a deal” as well as “you people are ruining it for me!”  It’s a feeling that both sides of the coin have occupied and I am definitely eating crow this time around.  BUT.  People are scared.  People are sad.  People are sick.  You do not get to tell people how they are going to react to something.  As a parent, I have to constantly remind myself to validate my son’s feelings even when I think they are ridiculous.  And yes, they are ridiculous, and sometimes I have to encourage him to move beyond his emotions, but that’s because I’m his parent.  You are not the authority of anyone’s emotions except yourselves (or maybe your toddler children).  If you don’t like how people are reacting, don’t watch.  Remove yourself from the equation.  Engage with folks who are responding “appropriately” if you really can’t handle it, but in the interest of unifying a country, I’d encourage you to dig deeper.  Ask someone that appears to be over-reacting why they feel as strongly as they do.  If you provide a safe space to engage this conversation, I’m sure these people will tell you.  For me, I’m terrified for myself, but moreso terrified for my friends who fall into any of the categories that have been under attack throughout Trump’s campaign.  Sure, he may not have done anything yet, but as the great Maya Angelou has said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Trump has a lot of work to do in regards to undoing that impression – and while there have been glimmers of hope since last Tuesday, there have also been some terrifying validations (i.e. appointing a white supremacist as his chief strategist).

People who voted for Trump believe that the millennial generation is weak and entitled – the precious snowflake generation.  The idea of college aged kids needing to take time off or requesting safe spaces on campus following the election being the #1 point to confirm this.  Now, I have to tell you, this dialogue and this pejorative description of my generation is really really annoying.  Since most people who are making this claim about the generation are baby boomers, let me ask you to read this article: If you’re not willing to, I get it, it is really offensive to have your generation categorized in a negative way.  So, hear me when I say – your feelings about this generation are doing NOTHING to help the situation.  And, in all honesty, many of the people sharing these articles or making these claims are the very ones who raised the millennials and shaped their worldviews.  So, let’s remind ourselves again that in the interest of unity, making fun of or disrespecting an entire generation of people is not moving that forward. But let me also speak to this “precious snowflake” stuff.  I used to hate the term, but now I love it.  Why?  Because I think that is the most wonderful way to look at the world.  I was given the message over and over again in my life that I am special and unique and valued and worthy of respect.  This message came to me from my parents, my friends, my extended family, my school, and my church.  I would say that I absolutely believe I am a precious snowflake.  But the beautiful thing is – I see everyone else as one too.  That, my friends, is why this election is so painful to my generation.   We have been raised to be empathetic and so watching our friends and family members feel pain and fear and sadness has made us realize that they have been made to not feel precious.  And it has profoundly shaken our worldview.

I’ll continue to live into this conversation, and would also welcome additional conversation about any and all of these.  I’m ready to listen if you are too.


Diwakar said...
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