This is an article I wrote in late October of 2016 as elections were nearing. I don’t think the woman I refer to in the article realized how damaging complacency could be. Yesterday, we were all reminded:
Way too Political
It was a fairly warm evening for late October. I was at an author’s reading and just finished hearing an essay about the approaching elections, a topic heavy on many minds. Most agreed that voting for the lesser of two evils was the safest choice, both literally and politically. Then again, I recently read an email that many doctors would not even bother casting a vote because neither choice would be a healthy one for the American people.
The concept of electing our first female president may have been thrilling to many, conjuring up visions of “I can do anything you can do better.” Yet is it enough that it be any woman regardless of her history of fickle decision-making? But then again, a poorly tanned narcissist isn’t much of an alternative either.
The guest author enthusiastically expressed his opinion of our crooked-wigged candidate and highlighted his many toxic plans for our country. The author went on to dissect the candidate’s strong objection to those who create the mosaic that is America.
Maybe bizarrely, I believe there is great value in highlighting the potency of racism that exists in our country, often masked but very much alive. But with the way it’s being done, tactlessly and risking the safety of millions of Americans, people are emboldened to be more openly hateful again. This is America. Great. Again.
Even still, there is something uglier, something more insidious than exposing the realities of hate in one full swoop, and that is perpetually ignoring the severity of mounting injustice. Yet this is where some people’s minds have lain dormant for some time now, bolstered by the election of President Obama. “We have a black president. How can we possibly be a racist society?” In some people’s minds, this made everything right in their privilege-padded worlds. I suppose their assumption is that Mr. Obama’s election instantly changed the views of millions of callous people just like that because it’s that easy.
There was a reception and book signing after the author’s talk. Because he is a connoisseur of birds, there was a spread of various nuts, crackers with small seeds, owl shaped cookies and wine, much-needed wine. As another attendee and I were reaching for a spoonful of sunflowers, she stopped and turned to me.
“What did you think of tonight’s talk?” she asked.
“Pretty sobering,” I said.
“Well, I didn’t like it. It just wasn’t entertaining. It was way too political for me.”
Sad, I thought, that something that is a necessity for me happens to be an inconvenience for someone else. The advancement and protection of my rights as a woman of color mean absolutely nothing but a missed night of amusement to someone who is otherwise unscathed by the slurs and threats that were to become far more overt, post-election.
Is the harassment and violence still too political for her, I wonder? And if undeniable recognition of hate has been the one mildly positive thing that has come out of this election, how then may her understanding of advocacy change from “too political” to too detrimental to ignore?
What might she have to say now? Hopefully not, “We should wait and see what happens.” It’s already happened. Hate is being actively promoted. Accounts of simple-minded, sometimes life-threatening behavior are streaming onto news circuits at a disturbing rate. While this oblivious but otherwise seemingly decent person can afford to tell herself she’s going to wait to see what happens, the safety of my children, my community, my country depends on my being far more political than many might ever appreciate.
4 thoughts on “Complacency No Longer an Option”
So many perspectives makes this a topic that often ends in disagreement. That’s OK. Respectful disagreement is healthy. Discourse is essential IF people truly wish to UNDERSTAND eachother’s positions. Unfortunately, in many cases, people are more interested in imposing their views instead. This creates defensive posturing and usually ends as an exercise in futility.
One perspective rarely discussed centers NOT on the candidates themselves, but rather the reality that traditional politics has been compromised. This election has created a new reality demonstrating the masses are willing to VOTE FOR CHANGE even with the threat of greater volatility. I believe this may be a first step permitting future QUALIFIED, ETHICAL candidates OUTSIDE the scope of politics to get elected based on transparency and accomplishments without ties to special interest groups. The term Republican and Democrat begin to lose clarity as the masses focus more on ISSUES they believe can move this country in a positive direction.
I predict FEAR will be a part of our current administration for some time to come. Many may oppose the agenda President Trump is pursuing, but no one can say he is cowering to political pressures. Whether we agree or disagree with his agenda, he is following through on his campaign promises and spending inordinate time pursuing these goals. Personally, I do not care for the man Donald Trump, but respect his fervor and tenacity as he openly confronts a political process and utilizes an approach (often with great antagonism) more focused on RESULTS than POPULARITY.
I hope he becomes a positive flame that helps to improve the confidence that we, as a nation, have come to question. I don’t think President Trump will ever be well liked. He has said and done many reprehensible things. He is, however, our President. The position, at the very least, deserves a window of time to create a path where we can judge the overall direction our country is headed. With daily headwinds created by media bias, it makes the process that much more difficult.
If we truly wish to UNITE, there comes a time where the masses must agree to give the PROCESS a chance. We need to establish guidelines to judge the effectiveness of policies the administration has promised to implement, rather than admonishing political views our political adversaries oppose. Donald Trump was NOT elected into office on a democratic platform. Although democrats are understandably frustrated, they are wrong expecting his administration to pursue their agenda. They SHOULD voice their concerns, but in a RESPECTFUL and PEACEFUL manner. This would be one step forward in returning this country to the status of a GREAT NATION.
Only time will tell if his platform moves the country into a safer, more prosperous direction for ALL TO BENEFIT. Maybe its time to sit back and LISTEN rather than SHOUTING over each other. Productive dialogue can only exist when two sides are willing to LISTEN!
You make many good points, ongoing discourse is important, which will naturally lead to both sides advocating for what they believe. And yes, imposing our beliefs only leaves us where we started.
Unfortunately, It seems the rift is growing and both sides are being disrespectful in various ways. I don’t think the climate would be this contentious if we had another president, Republican or Democrat, who appeared to be more psychologically fit for the job.
What’s currently happening may not have been what Trump intended but then again, I don’t know whether he realized how covertly volatile the country has been for a very long time. But at the least, he has to understand that people deserve respect. I believe most of us started out giving him a chance when he was elected (I know I did despite my reservations, hoping for the best), however, as a woman, a woman of color, a person assumed to be Muslim, a “terrorist,” an “Arab” b_&*@” and someone who has family and friends of various different racial and religious backgrounds, he’s really testing my patience. He has to stop inciting fear or things may only get worse.
I pray he grows and learns to show dignity and compassion toward others. God can change any person’s heart, and I hope this is the case with Trump, but then again, I also don’t place all my trust in people, but in God. Thanks for your honest thoughts, Doctor Jonathan. I always appreciate hearing your views!
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Thank you for your insightful and thoughtful response. This is likely going to be a lengthy process. There is great division and many people are acting out of FEAR. Time is usually the healer of this type of dysfunction. Those with a strong spiritual belief will likely weather the storm more easily.
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Thank you for the follow on ComeFlywithme – thanks also for the likes on my blog posts. As I said on my last comment re your follow on tellingitlikeitis, it’s great to have this connection and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
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