I am one of Those people. The kind who start long Facebook posts with “I usually stay out of politics, but…” And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. Just to be clear.
I have worn out my welcome to use that phrase in the last few months, but prior to this year, I really couldn’t have given two craps about most political events. I voted. I knew what I liked, what I wouldn’t stand for, but I didn’t have any real passion for it. I didn’t do much research, I didn’t get worked up about things, I just submitted my ballot every so often with a shrug and probably a write-in for Donald Duck somewhere.
Those days are far behind me. I didn’t want to be this person, but then… the debate over the Confederate flag happened. There was a part of me that was shocked at first that this was even a debate at all, but especially here in Oregon. We weren’t really a part of it. (We sent one troop. And we were part of the Union.) Regardless, jacknobs tore down the streets in their giant trucks with the good ‘ol stars and bars waving from the beds, yelling about heritage and history. It unfroze me from my shock. This is who we’re saying we are? That this completely bullshit symbol (THAT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ISN’T EVEN PART OF OUR FUCKING “HERITAGE”. We’re across the goddamned country. WE NEVER TRIED TO CEDE FROM THE FUCKING UNION.) was more important than people? Not just a couple, but an entire race? That we were willing to completely disregard their feelings, at the very least, for a fucking flag? What?
I was not willing to be represented this way. I wasn’t going to let my silence lump me in with this crowd. I was going to make it clear that this is not who I am. So I did. And nobody listened. Or they told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. (Bitch please. I’m a female in the automotive industry. Next time try bringing a new dish to the table.) But that didn’t really matter to me. I kept saying it. Still do. And I’m not done there.
My son and I were chit-chatting on the way home from football practice tonight. We got on the subject of the presidential election, as we often do. Today was the first time I’ve really shared my opinion with him, though. I wanted him to form his own, based on his own research, beliefs, and feelings. He is very anti-Trump. This isn’t at all shocking to me, because I know him, and how he processes things. He is baffled, however, that there are people who aren’t.
When we discuss these things, I try to present both sides to him. I attempt to be as fair as possible, because that’s how I want him to be. But above all, I have to instill good values in my son. That we don’t generalize, follow stereotypes, use racist language, demean people, laugh at their pain, or try to use it to our advantage. That’s all Trump is. Entirely. And let me make it clear right now that the above values are just that, they have nothing at all to do with “political correctness”. We don’t use stereotypes because we treat people like people, not because it’s frowned upon. We don’t make racist comments because we aknowledge that it is hurtful and thoughtless, not because it’s unpopular or taboo. I’m not afraid of hurting people. I am mindful of it.
Which means I no longer compare Trump’s behavior to that of a middle-schooler’s. Because mine is so much more mature than that, and I would never tear him down that way.
I’d say to go ahead and try to justify being a Trump supporter to me, but frankly, I don’t want to fucking hear it. But maybe you should think about how you would justify it to a child. Tell them when it’s ok to call a Venezuelan woman “Miss Housekeeping”. List out for them all the ways rich people can benefit from working people (which you more than likely are. Odds, not generalization.) being laid off, your jobs being outsourced, your homes being forclosed on. Explain that that’s alright, because personal gain is the ultimate goal, no matter the cost to others. Look your daughter/neice/granddaughter/baby cousin in the eye and tell her why her looks are the total sum of all she will ever be, and if she doesn’t take care of them, she deserves to be shamed. Teach them that when you don’t get your way, you blame others, you call names, and you change the subject. Perhaps (and hopefully) you’ve spent time teaching them the exact opposite, but if you really back up what Trump stands for, you’re going to have to rethink some things, right?
And no. I didn’t try to win any points by playing the kid card. They’ve been in this game the whole time.