My husband forced me into watching an episode of the Emmy Award winning show “Blackish” the other night. I love the show, but the reason I didn’t want to watch was because it was the “Lemons” episode… their super relevant episode addressing the recent election and how it is affecting not only the black community, but the United States. This election has me totally emotionally spent, and I felt that one more mention of it would push me over the edge. I bucked up and sat on the couch with him to watch, and I am truly so glad I did. They somehow found a way in a short episode to represent the whole rainbow of emotions Americans are feeling right now, but also so perfectly represented why this election is truly devastating.
They represented the American citizens who are terrified and feel a vote for Trump is a vote for racism. They showed the white male American perspective – that a business man as president can’t be a bad thing… right? They also showed the people sick of hearing about either side, and just want to focus on love and the positivity in the world, because so much of what is in the news is argumentative and unpleasant. Most importantly though, they focused on how no matter what your opinion is, that there is no denying that this election outcome was not a step forward for human rights.
There is SO MUCH argument out there right now about politics… more than I have ever witnessed in my life. There is no way you can deny that this election was not a polarizing moment for our country, and that we are quite divided as a nation at the moment.
Of course I am frustrated with the outcome of the election, but I can’t control that. My next biggest frustration is with people being close-minded, which I still can’t control but if in reading this it makes them think a little I still did something, which is why I decided to post this.
I am hearing a lot of “America is great, because it always has been”. Yes, America is great, but we are human and therefore have a great number of flaws. These flaws have fluctuated over the years, and we have had our ups and downs. People who feel “America is always great and that’s all that matters”… how can you not see the huge flaw in your argument? Was America great when slavery was legal? Was America great when women couldn’t vote? Of course not, but thanks to the strength of democracy and the ability for people to have a voice, those difficulties were overcome and our country did gain much greatness.
This feeds into my second gripe; people who truly do not understand how democracy works. So many people complain they hate how “mean” people are for voicing their opinions. Freedom of speech is an American right, so if you feel someone talking about politics is “mean” then you should stop being so insecure and realize that this is just something that comes with democracy and equality. We are all equal and allowed to speak our minds in this country, so if you think America is perfect, you sure better get on board with this concept. Secondly, peaceful protest and ‘marches’ are another form of freedom that is allowed in this country and it is not ‘mean’ or ‘disrespectful’ to do so. This is not left-wing liberalism, this is democracy. Do you remember the Martin Luther King Jr. speech you had to listen to so many times in high school? There is no difference between his march on Washington and the marches scheduled to happen on January 21st. These marches aren’t a joke or something to roll your eyes at. These are brave people standing up for what they believe in… let alone in public versus hiding behind a keyboard like so many do these days.
I agree, some kindness could help everyone right now. But the fact that you should be kind is purely common sense and just a way people should live their lives. It has nothing to do with politics or democracy, that is just being a decent human being. Another part of being a decent human being is having some humility for people who feel threatened right now, and realizing that though you are not scared by this election, others are TERRIFIED and absolutely have the right to feel that way. If you are a minority or part of the LGBT community and you aren’t terrified that is fine, and I applaud you for your strength. However, if you are a white person who feels everything is fine, maybe take a step back and realize you feel that way because you have never been a victim of racism or discrimination in your life, and it is ignorant to assume that because of this it doesn’t exist.
We are in the middle of a completely polarizing moment in our country, and smiling and acting like everything will be okay WILL NOT help us make it through. Who helped us make it through in tough times like this in our country’s past? Strong people. Fearless people. People who stood up for something and had a voice. GET ENERGIZED. Realize what a huge moment this is in history, and that this is your opportunity to stand up for what is right. Be part of the movement. Be the person that someone will read about in history books someday – about how you stood up against a force of evil and won, and bettered our world. It is time for this to happen, and I hope you decide to support democracy and your country (not just yourself) and join in.