I wasn’t sure what to write this morning because I’m so sad and disappointed about America. Donald Trump is being sworn in as President of the United States, today. This is the wrong decision and direction for our country. History will prove that, and I believe quickly.
In the days after Hillary lost I was incensed. I know I wrote this nice, hopeful post about how Hillary’s concession speech inspired me, but I didn’t feel that way for long. I felt hopeless. I kept saying all Trump voters were bad people and all Trump voters were racist and anyone who voted for Trump is not intelligent. I encouraged my parents to cut off friends and family members that voted for Trump. I thought they deserved consequences for their choice. You want to support a man who insights hatred? Then you lose the love and support of people who now hate you. I was rip roaring – for lack of a better term and also because that’s a great one. This election made absolutely zero sense to me. I so clearly saw why this man was a wrong and bad choice. I would not and could not see how anyone with a heart or brain could vote for him. I kept saying that over and over again. How could anyone with a heart or brain vote for him???
Then one night R posed a question that shut me down in two seconds. This is the thing that finally came to mind as I sat here this morning trying to figure out what to write. [Disclaimer: R got this “brain game” from someone else, but I don’t know who. Reveal yourself! I would love to credit the source]
Imagine that it’s a different presidential election. The candidate the Republicans nominate is Ted Cruz. He’s the same wildly conservative version of Ted Cruz we know today. So obviously he has ideas that you – as a Democrat (this is R speaking to me) – believe are really wrong and really bad for this country across the board (fiscal, social, political). And he’s made some questionable moves over his history in politics. You’re obviously not voting for him, right? But the Democrats – somehow – nominate Kanye West. But he’s not Kanye West as we know him now, he’s worse. He’s more unhinged and more unspoken. He’s made business dealings that have been total failures. There are reports that he’s sexually assaulted women. We’ve seen him insult white people and dumb people and anyone he doesn’t like. He’s promised to finally stick it to the folks who’ve been messing up this country for decades. And his wife is Kim Kardashian. But fiscally (for the most part) and socially (in general) and politically (as much as he knows about politics), Kanye is on “your side.” He’s a Democrat. Maybe. You’re not sure what the hell this guy is going to do when he actually gets in there, but you know he’s not Ted Cruz. Who do you vote for?
If you say Kanye then you are a moderate Republican that just voted for Trump.
If you say Ted Cruz then you are a Republican that just threw away all of your political ideals and voted for Hillary.
If you say that you’re not going to vote then you’re why voter turn out was low and Hillary lost.
I – and I cannot believe I’m going to admit this – voted for Kanye in the first round. I said, better the devil we know is on our side. Then I thought more about it and decided I would not vote. Morally I feel better about that decision. Logically I do not.
This is not a perfect comparison. Ted Cruz is not Hillary Clinton. Kanye West is not Donald Trump. I’m not trying to simplify what happened in this election (or, rather, R isn’t. This was his brain game).
The point of this is also not to say that I now support Trump voters. But through this lens I was finally able to understand how America put a lot of people between a rock and a hard place. This doesn’t include the people who happily and willingly voted for Trump because they believe in his exclusive view of America. I believe those people are wrong, bad, and mean-spirited. This also doesn’t excuse all the elements that allowed Trump to rise to become the nominee. For that I blame divisive politics for the past eight years. I blame the tenor of real news across networks like Fox. I blame the unfettered fake news across networks like Facebook. I blame the greed and power-hungry nature of Republicans in the House and Senate who were took weak to stand against Trump. There is plenty of blame to go around. I am plenty angry enough to dole it out.
But somehow this Ted Cruz/Kanye question helps dissipate the hate I had for a huge chunk of my fellow Americans, and I think that’s important.
They say that connection dispels hate. If we can place ourselves inside each others shoes that we can start to step away from our sides and come toward a middle. Believe me, I do not want to leave my side. I do not want to find middle ground with the part of my country that put this man in office. I will fight for the America that I believe is best for all. This new viewpoint is not a concession.
It is, though, the one thing that’s made me slightly less stark raving mad. Every time I want to punch a wall following ten seconds on Twitter I step away and think Cruz v. Kanye.
Maybe that doesn’t work for you. Maybe it makes you angrier. If that’s the case, I’m sorry. You don’t need any more anger.
But I’d like to encourage you to find whatever it is that helps dissipate the hate you’re feeling. Because I believe that hate will be the demise of this country. It’s not your fault that you feel it. You have every right to hate so many things right now, including our president. But today, I’m trying to remember this:
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world,
but has not solved one yet.” – from Maya Angelou and this:
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
-from Dr. Martin Luther King.
Two people who have seen more hatred in their lives than I will ever know and still found a way to move forward.