As I was driving to work today I experienced a series of unsettling things. First, NPR changed Morning Edition to Horror Hour without telling anyone. They kept saying things like the Republican Party has officially nomination Donald Trump for President of the United States, and the theme of today’s Republican National Convention is, “Make America First Again.” And there was a semi driving behind me who had a Confederate Flag painted onto the grill of their truck. And then one of D-Trump’s kids actually said the words, “We’re the only children of a billionaire that feel just as comfortable in the cab of a caterpillar as we do in our cars,” unironically. And he mentioned the fact that people telling his dad that a kid from Brooklyn would never make it in Manhattan only served to spur Drump on. And NPR helpfully added that no one believes in the young man heading to make is way in Manhattan with only 35 million in his pocket.
And I can’t any more. I’ve started to become the person I don’t want to be on Facebook. I rarely use Facebook for anything more than a distraction while I wait in a line or first thing in the morning as I’m waking up. But I kept finding out that this “friend” (acquaintance, usually) is racist, or that “friend” has absolutely no concept of the world we all actually live in, letting their privilege and bias shine through in the memes they were posting. And I found myself itching to comment on them just exactly why they are offensive or the facts that they are ignoring, etc.
And I don’t want to be that person. Everyone has the right to post whatever they want on their social media, but the articles I’ve read on how youth have a breakdown of understanding between the private discourse that happens interpersonally vs the public discourse that happens on social media left out the fact that adults do too. I have seen so many adults I know post something offensive that I can’t imagine them ever saying out loud in real life. And I wanted to textually yell all of the reasons they’re wrong at them. And even though I don’t want to be that person I can’t just ignore it and say nothing.
Enter this blog. Because this is where I get to control content and post what I want on my social media, and I am angry. And I am tired. But mostly this morning I am done.
And don’t get me wrong, if I thought that it could be an actual conversation between me and whichever FB Friend I would 100% try to start that conversation. But so many of the things I see are issues that people seem to be so unwilling to see from a different angle. And no, I’m not blind to the irony that I’m writing that in this post right now. Because I do try and look at multiple sides of an issue that I feel strongly about. I can understand why some of the people are saying the things that they are. I can see the root of the issue that they are concerned about, and I understand their motivation. But that doesn’t make their racism or bigotry or ignorance okay.
Make America First Again is one of the most honest things Donald Trump has said. It completely lies bare his narcissistic need to be Number One. He wants to win the presidency because it’s an important title that he thinks he needs. He wants to build a wall to keep immigrants who are people of color out of the US so he can say that he did it. Other countries are trying to do it, or have succeeded, but he wants to be the one who finally gets it done in the US. He wants to be the first President of the US who ran on nothing but sensationalism and racism with no attempt at actual policy. And he wants to be the one who Wins because of it.
The United States was built on the backs of Native Americans and slaves from Africa and other continents. And we have been run on racist fears ever since. Look at the pictures in the article I linked above. Do they look familiar to you? Because I remember seeing similar images in history class when they actually taught us a little about the effect that all of the wars and events we were glorifying had on the people.
This image from Turkey in 2015 from the above article looks a lot like this one from a Japanese Internment Camp from 1943:
We have lived this before. There are a lot of Americans still alive today who remember being sent to these camps “for their protection” and losing everything. The inflammatory rhetoric that DT uses is how this started. The American people were afraid of the people they saw as Japanese because their leaders were telling them that they should be. And this is already happening with Muslims today. Why do we learn history in school if no one ever seems to learn from it?
So today I live in a world where a billionaire narcissist and all around terrible person was democratically elected by majority as candidate for President of the US after he ran on a platform of nothing. Where 49 innocent people were shot just for celebrating who they were (I linked it in case you forgot). Where police are killing African Americans and then being called heroes. Where one angry man has destabilized an entire community just as they were hitting their stride towards a safer, more inclusive atmosphere. And people are still shouting “guns don’t kill people, people do,” and “All Lives Matter!” and “Blue Lives Matter.” And gun regulation is still at a stand still even though the majority of Americans believe that it should be more difficult to get a gun.
And even though Trump has said an incomprehensible number of morally corrupt and offensive things, the biggest focus for a ton of people is that Hillary Clinton used the wrong email address, (EVEN THOUGH IT WAS LEGAL FOR HER TO DO SO) just like many Secretaries of State before her. And I’m not saying that that’s not a big deal, because it is. But does that really make her worse than Trump? I wish Bernie Sanders had won the nomination, but he didn’t, and I do believe that Clinton will make a good president. Although there are definitely some sketchy things in her past that should not be ignored, how can anyone think that Donald Trump is a better option? There’s no comparison. A career politician who has held other major government office and who has shown that she is (usually) willing to admit and learn from her mistakes vs an overexposed man-child who goes on a rampage when someone hurts his feelings.
This is not a rock and a hard place situation as so many people seem to think. This is a reasonable choice vs a potentially ruinous mistake. But the majority of Republicans still elected Trump for candidate. And I can’t understand it.
I try to look for the helpers. I do. But sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the seer amount of willful ignorance that I see in this election cycle.