Fear and Loathing in the Divided States of America

As I was going through my documents on my computer, I came across this piece I had written the week after the presidential election.  I don’t know why I didn’t post it then, but here it is now…

 

So it has come to this.

After a year and a half of proudly supporting, promoting and doing everything in my feeble abilities to help Hillary Clinton take her rightful place among the Presidents of the United States, somehow she has lost to her opponent, Donald Trump.

To say that my emotions have run the gamut this week would be the understatement of the year.  How someone such at Hillary, who had the drive, the determination, the knowledge, and not to mention the experience to do the job, could lose the presidency to someone like Donald Trump boggles my mind.  I could be biased, however, which I’ll freely admit to being when it comes to Hillary.  You see, ever since Bill Clinton became President, I have admired her.  As the years passed and she became more involved in the political arena, I came to admire, respect, and yes, love Hillary even more.  In my opinion, she’s one of the greatest political figures the United States has ever, or will ever, have.  My partner says I seem to have a weakness for strong, powerful women in leadership.  That may be true, but I believe I come by that naturally.  After all, my unwavering allegiance to Her Majesty The Queen would be enough evidence of that… not to mention my absolute love, loyalty, devotion and admiration for my mother as well as my grandmother when she was still with us.

But let me get back to the point of this post.  There’s little doubt you have felt strongly, one way or the other, about either Hillary or her opponent.  If you say you couldn’t care less, well… let me be the first to say you’re lying.  What I can’t wrap my head around, however, is given the fact as to how divisive this election season has been, and given the blatant disregard for those around him, I’ll never in my life understand how anyone with a shred of self-respect or respect for anyone they love could have voted for her opponent.

You see, throughout his campaign, Hillary’s opponent vilified everyone around him who wasn’t white, conservative, and some would argue Christian.  He has called those from Mexico rapists, drug lords, and promised to build a wall to keep them out of his country.  He’s objectified women, demoralized minorities, ridiculed the disabled, and generally made anyone who isn’t exactly like him feel as though they are somehow “less than.”  Sadly, this behavior has brought out the same in his followers, who think it’s perfectly acceptable to treat others this way.  He based his entire campaign on propagating a sense of fear in his followers, and admonished them to loathe that which is different from themselves.

If you need to be reminded of just how terrible this man is, one needs to only think back to his campaign rallies held throughout this past year where his followers attacked, beat and berated those there who opposed his views.  To add insult to injury, he even promised to help pay their attorney fees for doing so (but I think we all knew that would never happen).  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the divisive rhetoric that spewed from his mouth was more than nauseating.  All this has fanned the flames of so much hatred that people are now fearful of what is going to happen to them.

I myself have been the victim of hate speech on social media by his followers, ranging anywhere from false accusations to veiled threats.  This coming from people I “thought” were my friends.  Never before have I heard such vile things come out of the mouths of people as I have this year, no doubt encouraged by this man.

Now I know some people will say that I just don’t get it, and that they aren’t like that.  But as you sit there and support someone as misogynistic, xenophobic, prejudiced and an all-around bad orange as this man is… well, keep in mind that my grandma used to say, “You’re known by the company you keep.”

That’s the main reason why it’s so hard for those of us who supported Hillary to accept the results of this election.  You see, it’s about much more than merely election results.  If that were all it is, you would see us accept this decision much more gracefully, knowing that it was all part of the process.  But this is about much more than that, and much more than being, as someone called me, a “sore loser.”

So what is this all about for us?  It’s about fear.  It’s about the uncertainty of not knowing if our basic human rights will be stripped away due to the prejudice of the leader, like in many third world countries.  It’s about the fact that hatred, racism, bigotry, intolerance – they’ve all effectively been given the stamp of approval by electing Trump.  Unfortunately, a vast majority of the people who elected him will never know what it’s like to deal with these things on a day-to-day basis.  Let me put it this way; if you’ve never been awakened in the middle of the night to find the KKK burning a cross in your yard or discovering your relative being lynched and hanged from a tree simply because of their race, you’ll never understand the threat of that kind of mentality being allowed to once again run rampant.  If you’ve never feared for your life because you’ve wanted to simply hold the hand of the person you love as you walk down the street but can’t because they happen to be of the same gender, you’ll never understand the fear of homophobia and gay-bashing being socially acceptable again.  If you’ve never been afraid to go to your house of worship to pray for fear it might be bombed while you’re there, you’ll never understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of religious persecution.  With a Trump presidency, we face an all-too-real possibility that these types of crimes will dramatically increase, simply because of his followers believing that it would make their country somehow “great” again.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I know Hillary wasn’t perfect… none of us are.  But as far as what the candidates stood for, she was infinitely the better choice.  I wish those who bought into the fear mongering could have opened their eyes and seen that.

What really unnerves me about the whole thing, and makes me feel such an absolute sense of betrayal is the fact that it was the white “Christian” (and I have to use the term “Christian” very loosely here) masses that are the main group responsible for electing him.  Conservative Christians pretty much voted rank-and-file Republican, while most liberal Christians, I want to believe, voted for the best candidate for the job.  What I can’t understand is that Christians could see exactly who he was and what he stood for, all the while ignoring it and holding their nose and pulling the Republican lever, regardless of who it was they were voting for.  If you’re one of these people, I want you to remember what you’ve done while you watch the news of children being terrified of being ripped from their families due to deportation, or kids in school cafeterias being bullied because of their race, all because their parents and their new leader seem to think it’s somehow okay.  I want you to remember what you’ve done the next time you hear about someone you know being dragged by a chain behind a truck down a rocky road until he dies all because getting rid of one more person of a different race will make their country great.  I want you to remember what you’ve done the next time you hear of someone being tied to a fence post out in the middle of nowhere and left to die after being beaten half to death all because of their sexuality.  I pray none of this happens to someone in your family.

So what are you going to do, now that you’ve won?  Call for unity?  Tell us all to “just get over it,” and get along with the business of life-as-usual?  While I personally might not agree with the violence in the protests going on across the country, I can certainly understand why people feel the need to protest.  I’m sure you can too… after all, it’s the Trump supporters themselves who led the protesters by example.  It’s funny to me, though, how now that he’s won the election all the talk from his supporters has all of a sudden stopped being about brandishing arms and taking back their country, by force if need be, and are now asking for unity.  And you have the audacity and unmitigated gall to expect anything out of others different than what you’ve shown the world for the past year?  A call for unity was Hillarys message all along, and it was you who rejected that.

I don’t say that to advocate violence, but to simply drive home the point that it’s extremely hypocritical of Trumps followers to feel they can treat anyone they disagree with in any way they choose, yet cry foul whenever the roles are reversed, even slightly.  This is not the way Jesus, who you claim to follow, would have you behave.  You do not get to act like a petulant child all year and bully, threaten and mistreat everyone around you who disagrees with you until you get your way and then expect everything to be fine with everyone.

You have a chance here, albeit a very slim one, to prove to the world that you really can treat others equally.  I would highly suggest you act upon it.

 

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