Thursday, November 10, 2016

The only way

Love the sentiment, not the candidate.
It's been a rough couple of days.  I'm going to try to stay off social media for a while (though I'll still be here, just talking about sewing and cats), but I do want to say a few words about the election, and its aftermath.

My candidate did not win Tuesday night. (Actually, my candidate was out of the running a while ago, but you know what I mean).

I know people who voted for Trump and who are happy about the result of the election. I believe most of these people do not actually think that women, gays, Muslims, people of color and other minorities are less than they are.  I hope that is true, and I hope they also realize that others will use this election as an excuse to fear and hate those who are not like them.

One thing I heard on Tuesday night's endless coverage was that liberals took Donald Trump literally, but not seriously, and his supporters took him seriously, but not literally. So maybe he won't build a wall, ban Muslims or do any of the other things I fear on behalf of people I care about.

Living where I do, near the University of Pennsylvania, in a neighborhood which is so multi-colored, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural it's difficult to visually decide who is a minority, with three mosques within walking distance of my house, I know a lot of people who could be affected by the negative rhetoric which was thrown around during the campaign.  Even if Trump walks back his remarks, or changes his tone, the genie of racism and misogyny and xenophobia has been let out of the bottle, and equal numbers of people are trying to stuff it back in while the rest are trying to break the bottle.

It's up to us. Obviously, voting isn't enough. If you care about something don't just tweet or post on Facebook or hash tag. Do something about the causes that matter to you. Because then even if the other candidate wins, you know that you are doing your best to be the change you want to see in the world. And sometimes that's the best you can hope for.

Also, if you know someone from the other side of the fence (and are still talking to them post-election), try to find at least one issue on which you share common ground.  We wouldn't have ended up quite so divided if we still talked to each other, instead of letting politicians and cable news tell us what the other side thought, and scaring us all senseless in the process.

I voted for Hillary on Tuesday, but I really wanted President Bernie Sanders.  I admit that I fear what could come from a Trump administration.  But there are still good, kind, rational people out there, willing to make a difference, talk to their neighbors (and their difficult relatives).  Sometimes a conversation can spur change.  Sometimes a person just needs to know someone to get another perspective on an issue they thought they completely understood.  It may not change their mind, but then again, it might.

I have a cousin that I love.  He voted for Donald Trump.  He is a good, kind man, who loves women and animals and America.  He's intelligent, he's college-educated.  He is pro-gun, but he grew up in a rural area, where they're a fact of life, not a criminal weapon (at least for the most part).  He chose to move to Philadelphia, so he can't have many issues with people not like himself.

We're having dinner soon.  I look forward to finding all the things we do have in common, and maybe even finding an issue we can work on together.  It's the only way.

16 comments:

annie said...

We have much more in common than not. We have to focus on that.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put and true, people make the difference , individuals make the difference not rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on all points. This is a scary time, I am trying to hold on to my faith in the decency of most Americans.

Vicki said...

I think the media play such a big part in all of this. Far, far away here in Australia there has been so much coverage. I don't recall there ever being so much with previous US elections. This morning I read here that an ex Prime Minister was urging us to cut ties with the US and aline more with China. It is scary times. Or is it? Is it just the media making headlines? Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. In the midst of my own despair about the election, it is good to read reminders to remain hopeful and keep talking.
Cynthia

Nancy Hale said...

Thank you for so eloquently expressing what I am feeling. With you on all points.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.
Bobbi B

Michele said...

Very well said. Thank you.

Krista said...

This is one of the the most reasoned and eloquent comments on the election I've seen. Thank you.

BeccaA said...

I agree with you 100%. You put it so eloquently and I hope that you are right that people on both sides can find some common ground. If only we could get rid of the electoral college....

Catherine p said...

Thank you for such a positive, hope-filled post.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, or fortunately, you will find common ground with your cousin. Too bad Donald Trump has little in common with the people who were swayed to vote for him because of his demagoguery. They will suffer from Trump policies just the same as the Hilary supporters.

From what I have heard, a lot of Trump supporters were gun loving or anti choice one voters.

Too bad they didn't study what Clinton's policy was on guns. She didn't want to ban them. She just wanted Regulations so criminals and the off balanced couldn't get them so easily, and war guns, like assault rifles, which hunters do not need unless they are hunting humans, would not be in the stream of guns sold.

She also was pro choice to keep women from dying. Abortions are going to happen whether there is a ban or not. Wealthy women will travel to countries where it is legal and will get it done safely. Poor women can't afford to get them done anywhere but in the unsanitary back alleys where they live by someone with no medical training who will use a coat hanger to do it. As history showed, both the woman and the fetus are likely to die if it can't be legally done by doctors.

And contrary to what the Donald said, 9 month abortions are not done unless the fetus has no chance of surviving and the mother is in imminent danger of dying if it isn't done.

Good luck to America, our great nation. I hope she remains a great nation. We'll see.

marcy harriell said...

I merely want to say that this was beautifully said, Karen. We must listen to each other.

Rachel Turnbow said...

You've written very eloquently the words I've been struggling to find since Tuesday. Thank you for this. Thank you.

nnhoffman said...

Thank you for the lovely, sane sentiments from someone who is so tired of being yelled at on Facebook and the like. Bless you.

Ann said...

I was a Trump supporter, although he was not my first choice. I could not support Hillary Clinton, because she and her husband used their positions of power and privilege for their own personal gain. Not only that, they did so at the expense, and even peril, of our country. She used her position as Secretary of State to sell influence and arms to our enemies. Also, she is not a feminist. If she were, she wold not have attacked, vilified and dismissed Bill Clinton's victims as "bimbos". Trump is inarticulate and has no government experience. However, the presidency, much like a governorship, is the office of an administrator, and not a politician. Trump has a proven track record as an effective administrator. Also, we all know, if we have been paying attention, that a large number of politicians, including both Clintons, use their positions of power for their own personal gain. They are also beholden to their contributors. Trump ran for the presidency, because he wants to help our country. That is why he spent nearly a billion dollars of his own money on his campaign. After so many self-serving politicians, we need someone now, who is a public servant, and not an opportunist. Also, I do not believe that most of the people supporting Trump belong in Hillary's "basket of deplorables". We are not racists and misogynists. For example, the reason for stopping Muslim immigration until the refugees can be properly vetted is common sense, and not racial discrimination. We have already seen that many soon-to-be terrorists have entered our country among the refugees. Also, no one, who does not wish to assimilate into our culture should come. We used to pride ourselves on being a melting pot. Did you know that Saudi Arabia has a city with over 100,000 air conditioned tents available for Muslim refugees, but they have not taken a single one from Syria? This is because the Muslims, themselves, discriminate between Sunnis and Shias, and the members of one sect hate the other. Americans do not seek to discriminate against Muslims, but only to identify the terrorists among those seeking entry. As for abortion, it is a subject upon which reasonable people can differ. When Roe v. Wade was decided in the 1970's, the culture was different. Unmarried men and women did not live together, a woman, who bore a child out of wedlock, was shamed, and many desperately sought backroom abortions to spare themselves the shame and rejection likely to come. Nowadays, children are commonly born out of wedlock, and there is someone wanting to adopt each and every one of them. Except in the cases of rape, incest or risk to the mother's life, does society really do a woman a favor to offer her an abortion to spare her the inconvenience or embarrassment of an unwanted pregnancy? I would like to suggest that it is character-building to carry that child to term, and give it up for adoption, rather than have an abortion. I speak from experience. I had an abortion within weeks of Roe v. Wade, and I have always regretted it. I was never able to have a child after that. There is no chance that my child will seek to reunite with me, because I had an abortion. It was a selfish act, and the biggest regret of my life. If abortion had been illegal, I would have given birth, and either kept the child or surrendered it for adoption. I know of no mother, who regrets not having an abortion, and of no child, who was surrendered for adoption, who regrets having been born. So, perhaps Roe v. Wade will stand, and perhaps not. Either way, it is a subject upon which reasonable people can differ, without labeling or dismissing each other as insensitive or racist.