I'm worried. I've talked about it a few times already but for the first time in my adult life I'm actually worried about the future. I've always been optimistic by nature. It's who I am. But it seems more and more like optimism is foolish. Like fear is the prudent course of action now. Which is at war with everything in my heart and head and how I want to live my life. But here we are...
The reason is because we've divided ourselves in to warring tribes. One side vs. the other. Fairness is out the window. Hypocrisy leads the day. Winning is really all that matters. Kindness is out of fashion.
We cannot see the world the way the others do. I watched President Obama make his farewell speech and then I watched President Elect Trump give his press conference. There could not have been a more stark display of the differences between the men. There could not have been a more drastic example of how things are going to change. And it depended on where you stood when they started on how you saw them. If you thought it was a good thing or a bad one.
This week I've watched a few friends of mine post the "video evidence!' that Trump did not mock a disabled reporter. I watched the video evidence and saw a man that mocks everyone. This is supposed to be proof he didn't mock a disabled reporter. It's a video that shows mocking is his go to move. And somehow if you are on one side of the divide this exonerates him. For me it, once again, shows that you are missing the important part. Why did he mock that reporter? Because Trump lied. He lied, then he tried to use an article that reporter wrote to back up his lie, when that reporter said, "No, that's not what I said." Trump worked to discredit him. And everyone fell on to the mocking part. But back it up. He lied. Then he lied again. Then he mocked the person calling him out on it to distract from the lie. And it worked. And when I point this out I am told that he didn't mock the disable reporter. PAY ATTENTION! He's lying to you and he's showing you shiny things so you don't notice or care that he's lying to you.
Right now there is the story about Russian's having salacious information about PE Trump. He is working overtime on Twitter screaming about fake news. I'm pretty sure the story isn't true. It's too fantastical to me, too petty, too weird. But I don't know. And honestly, I don't care. If you like watching pee shows, whatever. I don't care. But what I do care about is the fact the Russians meddled in our elections. That we still haven't seen Trump's tax returns so we don't know if he is in business with the Russians. That he still won't stand unequivocally against Putin. And I know that I am on one side of divide here. People that for my entire life have been against the Soviet Union and then Putin's Russia are now totally cool with the authoritarian leader whose critics disappear or die horrible deaths by radiation poisoning. A country where the Russian church has made it a-okay to hunt gay people down like animals. This is all great with a segment of our population now. And I stand on the other side of the gulf wondering what the hell happened here.
He's nominating people to head departments whose only qualifications seem to be that they have spoken out about getting rid of those departments. He's talking about repealing and replacing the ACA with a "great plan, a better plan, a cost saving plan" and he's going to do it "soon, maybe even the same day, the same hour" but if you ask for specifics on the plan there are none. There is no plan. So they are going to defund the ACA and leave people with no coverage and then....well something. And people keep telling me I have to give him a chance. A chance to do what? Something great? Just watch? There is no there there. And somehow the party of "trust but verify" has turned in to to the party of "shut up and fall in line." Again.
See I went through this with Bush the younger. When I spoke out about the wars I was told I was unpatriotic. Anti-military. By people whose only service to this country consists of putting on camo and carrying their guns around pretending to be...what? I have never figured it out. My family has always served. Not wanting people to die or go to war makes you pro-Military. Wanting them to live. Wanting them to get actual help not just lip service during election years. But you feel free to tell me how I'm unpatriotic because I think their lives shouldn't be sacrificed for your macho pride.
Now I am getting the whole "bubble" argument. Six states. Blue collar to white to no collar at all. Republican to Solid Progressive. Under the poverty line to comfortable. Military wife to civilian. Evangelical to agnostic. That's where I've been. Tell me again about my bubble when you've lived in the same town your whole life and still socialize with the kids you went to kindergarten with. Where you all share a religion, a zip code, a skin tone. And tell me again why you matter more than I do? Why do I have to buy the argument (AGAIN) that somehow middle America is the real America? That the coast doesn't matter because...why again? Because a lot of people live there? That always seems to be the argument. That cities don't matter because of all the people. But mid-America matters because of...all the land? It's truly infuriating.
I'm supposed to understand that you feel like your culture is being taken away from you. That you are being forced to believe things, accept things that you don't agree with. And this is somehow supposed to make me apologize and want to capitulate to you? Why? Because I've been forced to live under your beliefs for most of my life. Friends of mine couldn't get married because your religion said no. Rights were denied to people because you thought it was wrong. You want me to say it's cool to make decisions based on religion...well unless that religion is Islam then no way. You are so worried about Sharia law that you don't pay attention to the fact that you've been forcing your religious rule on the rest of us.
Oh everyone is too PC! You know this one I agree with. To a point. I've railed against this for years. That we are limiting discourse and discussion by shutting people down with political correct speech. But there is a difference in levels. Are you upset about this PC culture because you cannot have an open and honest conversation without being shut down because you used the wrong term for someone who wants to be referred to as zee or are you mad because someone called you out for using the N word? Hey, guess what, some people are too easily offended but that doesn't mean you should take that as forgiveness for being an offensive asshole. Take some personal responsibility.
So I'm afraid. I'm afraid that we've reached a point where we cannot ever come back to the middle. I'm afraid that people I love will lose rights. I'm afraid that people who hold beliefs that I find reprehensible will feel empowered to act on them. I'm afraid of a bully in the White House leading us in to war because he cannot tolerate people saying things he doesn't like. I'm afraid of what pieces will be left after this administration is through stomping around.
But hey, here is one area where we might have found common ground with those on the other side of the gulf. For the first time in my adult life, on November 10th I asked Brent if he thought we should get a gun. He had already thought the same thing. So there you go. You've finally convinced us that the world is a dangerous place and being armed might be a good idea.