I haven’t been writing lately. And a big part of that is that I don’t know how to express what I feel the need to express. Because the world is screwed up. It’s always been screwed up, but right now we’re in this state of flux, a moment in history where things are moving, while staying the same.
And, well, I honestly don’t know what to feel.
Part of me, obviously, feels incredibly sad. There are people out there who still cause violence due to the difference in skin color or religion or personal inclinations of others. People who will literally kill other people simply because they are different.
But there’s still a part of me who sees hope. Because this is how the world works. It hasn’t even been two years since we said goodbye to the first black-skinned American president. While many people saw this as a sign that racism was gone, the reality, of course, is far different. During President Obama’s tenure, we saw that racism was alive and well, most notably through the cries of those who spoke out under the banner of Black Lives Matter. Racism was still here.
Yet one can’t help but feel things have gotten worse since he left.
And, of course, if one was to assume that, one would also be willing to make the assumption that this is caused by our new American administration.
It’s not hard to do. Our current administration definitely spouts a much more outward dislike for people who are different. We’re building walls, we’re breaking foreign ties…heck, we are quicker to respond to illegal immigration right now than we are to physical disasters.
But this is how change happens. We made what many saw as a giant leap forward for mankind with the election of a black man. And, in some ways, it was. A country like ours, steeped in a history of discrimination against people of color, put a dude with dark skin in its highest office. For 8 years!
A look back over 60 years ago and we see Rosa Parks, whose simple act of not moving from her seat on a bus, sparked a revolution and a revival in the Civil Rights movement. The organization of a bus boycott followed immediately after, which led to the bombing of four churches and at least two homes.
Sure, racism plays a (really big) part of it, but the simple fact remains: People don’t like change.
And so, I posit the theory that our current situation is a direct response to a change in how we see each other. Under President Obama, we saw people emboldened to come forward about how they saw the world as unfair toward them, how people felt trampled on, and how people felt they believed better. And we saw our country begin to make those first changes toward that goal of all men feeling as though they are truly created equal.
But then comes the inevitable bounce back. The response of those people who see the world as it has always been. Those people who want “America to be Great Again!”
Honestly, with all that in mind, I couldn’t think of a better political candidate than Donald Trump (at least if you’re looking for someone to win). His slogan was perfectly matched to meet the mindset of people weary of all the change. The world was changing so fast that so many people just wanted to go back to the way things were, even if the way things were weren’t all that great for everyone.
Making America great again was never about any specific moment in time, it was about remembering not having to consider that there might be people different than you who have different needs, or even people different than you who have the same needs, but don’t feel as though they are being met in the same way.
Making America great is about going back to the status quo. About stopping all this changing and just getting back to something comfortable. Because if there’s one thing change isn’t, it’s comfortable.
And so many Americans, well at least those who are on the line and don’t simply vote Red or Blue because that’s their favorite political color, saw this message and said, yeah, I could do with a bit less change right about now.
And others, of course, took things even further and acted upon their need to stop all the change.
Approximately two years ago I placed on here a plea to stop hating each other through a post about how Trump supporters might not be as bad as we might think. And I still believe that they are mostly good people who are being led astray through the color he campaigned under or through other issues unrelated to his response to race and gender and all those other things which make people different. But Trump and his administration stand for something I simply can’t support. Something none of us can support. They stand against the progress of equality. They stand against the downtrodden, the weak, and those without a voice. They are men (and yes, a couple of women) who believe might makes right and will use their power to plow through any roadblocks, seen most recently with the display connected to our recently anointed Supreme Court Justice.
Sure, it’s possible Kavanaugh isn’t guilty, but the truth of the matter wasn’t found in those hearings…or even sought after.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My favorite color isn’t really Blue either. I’m incredibly disappointed in many of the things President Obama did (or more importantly, didn’t do) during his presidency. But the fact of the matter here is that he stood for something, simply because of the color of his skin. And that something is being battled against by those who feel they have too much to lose by it.
We live in this terrifying world right now where people can’t even go to church without fear that they could be killed. Where the President himself suggests that they should have had armed guards present to keep themselves safe, blaming the victims instead of the shooter or the current political climate which caused the shooter to believe he was right. Yes, the President had, in the same interview, suggested the highest punishment for the shooter (and all shooters), but his ultimately answer was to shoot back.
Of course, these things don’t happen to white Christian churches, so at least the majority of people can still go to church comfortably. But the moment you start introducing metal detectors at the front doors of our synagogues and mosques and black Baptist churches, there’s no going back. There will never be a time where you won’t have to take off your shoes to enter your church.
And unfortunately, that is the next step. Because there’s very little President Trump can do to make the situation better. Or anyone. We are in the midst of change. Big change. A change which will hopefully, at some point in my lifetime, result in Americans (as well as people all across the globe) gaining a better respect for those who are different. That those who vote Red or Blue don’t see the differences between them as being cause for violence. That black men can walk down the street at night feeling comfortable in knowing the police see them as someone to serve and protect, instead of someone to protect us from. That women can feel confident in coming forward with sexual assault allegations and knowing that justice will be served if they choose to do so (it’d be a lot better if women could feel safe from sexual assault…but I fear we have a long way to go before we get there).
It feels like just yesterday we were battling about whether or not transgendered individuals should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. And today we’re shooting Jews as they worship.
That feels like a major step back.
But I’m hoping…I’m optimistic…that this step back is only temporary.
And the only way we can make that happen is by us, the American people, speaking out against those who would split us apart by our differences. If not by words, then by actions. And not actions of the killing or hurting people variety, but by caring for your fellow men and women…and by voting for those who show they care for them as well.
That’s not a Blue or a Red thing. That’s a person thing.
Love each other.