I wrote this yesterday, then saw such a wild outpouring of rage–on all sides–on the internet that I had to leave it on the hard drive and think about it. I guess I just couldn’t figure out what to say anymore, what I could say. I’ve gone numb and very uncertain, but I decided that since there still are protests going on (though I’m not seeing much in the online media about it), and it can’t hurt me to put it out there, I’ll do so anyway–
Dear Anti-Trump Protesters:
Like yourselves, I am not pleased with the national choice for our president-elect. I was hoping for some semblance of sanity to take over and a better candidate to come out somewhere. How the two major parties managed to scrape the bottom of the barrel and put the slivers in the top spots for election is something that may have historians still scratching their heads fifty years from now.
The election was November 8th. The voters (and Electoral College) spoke, and Donald Trump was elected president, to take office January 20th, 2017. It’s a done deal, what could have been done was done last Tuesday. So, I have to ask the question: what exactly are you protesting?
Are you protesting the deplorable behavior of the man, who instituted one of the most divisive, fear-mongering campaigns in modern memory? I can understand that.
Are you protesting the Electoral College, (something I myself considered an outdated relic for many years), and how through that institution, Trump was determined the winner?
Or are you protesting that it wasn’t fair for him to win? That’s the protest I cannot understand or back (and I hope that’s NOT the reason for some of you). Our side (aka, anybody who voted for the other three) lost—now it’s time to deal with the fallout and make a better nation.
I can hear you rolling your eyes or fuming if you read or hear this, but bear with me. I am also afraid. I’m afraid at the loss of common civility. One of my favorite media personalities, Bill Maher, often referred to Trump as “Whiny Little Bitch.” Now, Trump supporters and others who know the election is over are happily bestowing that title upon you.
I believe in protest, but I also agree with what Trevor Noah said: you have to protest for the right reasons, and in the right manner. That’s the difference between a tantrum and a movement. What the media shows looks more like a tantrum by the losing side. Just to recap–the motives are not as clear to us watching on the outside. We’ve already seen the terrible results of Trump supporters, the ones not afraid to vent their hate and anger at detractor, who have used this election as their own coming out party. Sadly, thanks to riots and burning in effigy, some of you could be counted in that number as well.
No one ever sees themselves as the villains of their own story.
It took a presidential election and its candidates to remove the filters most people had that allowed racism and hatred to flourish and decency to go out the window. Remember: Trump has NOT taken the oath of office yet. You’re safe…relatively…for now. Even if he wanted to, Trump couldn’t unleash the vitriol he campaigned about overnight.
More than that, protesters, you don’t need a certain type of president, or a presidential mandate, to make America great again. To paraphrase the great philosopher, Spock, there are always possibilities. So, let’s make some of our own.
If you are afraid of what’s going to happen to your neighbors, or your family, your communities, then reach out to each other in your communities. One thing I’ve noticed, at least in my neck of the woods, is that so few people actually get to know their neighbors anymore. The only time I’ve really seen it in all the places I’ve lived has been on T.V. Maybe its time to get to know each other better.
This division reminds me of what I’d read about and heard from those living in the Deep South during Jim Crow. Black and White alike were poor, but never able to come together due to social convention and racism. Had they been able to meet each other as equals, both groups of poor would’ve known they were in pretty much the same boat. Who knows how much the poverty situation might’ve changed, and how much sooner, if all the poor were able to realize they were much the same?
We can band together to help ourselves—forget the President! Maybe this is that chance to make ourselves better people and make our neighborhoods better, our communities, our towns. If someone’s being verbally attacked, stand with the attacked and ignore the bully. Yes, I said bully. They lose their power if they don’t get a response, and shrink in the face of the un-intimidated.
Let people know that they mean something to us, that they’re more than a face in an icon block or a click on a petition. Maybe this is that break from technology some have been hoping for (I know I have). There are so many interesting people to meet away from the phone, and some of them are all around you. This is our chance to let things calm down and really connect with people.
Screaming does nothing but create more violence. Let’s create a dialogue revolution, whereby we learn about each other with respect. Ignorance breeds hate—its time to lose our collective allergy to learning new things about other people, about what they believe and think and why they may feel or vote the way they do.
So, Protesters, I’m glad the “slacktivist” generation’s getting out there and taking it to the streets, but…what is your goal? What is your end game? It takes more than anger and hate. Trump profited by that, but the rest of us can show him that we don’t need to work that way. We can work together, and perhaps we can all find a better way. I’m certainly trying to find one.
Best of luck…to all of us.
–Tally, The Chatty Introvert