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Don’t let hate & fear rule you

It would be easy to hate right now. It would be easy to categorize all Trump supporters as bigots, racists, misogynists, homophobes, and uneducated people who are deserving of disdain and antagonism only. So many people have ‘unfriended’ people on FB and in their lives because they are Trump supporters for this very reason; they believe that people who support Trump are ignorant and that they supported hate on a grand scale.

I know for certain that this is absolutely not the case. Although I am a flaming liberal and an avid Bernie & Hillary supporter, I have many friends and relatives that voted for Trump. These are people that I know and love, who have good and kind hearts, who are smart and thoughtful and caring; they are not racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or any of the other labels that are carelessly being tossed around right now. These are people who I count on to love me and who would and have been there for me in times of need and who care about the needs of others.

This week, I finally took the time to listen to what some of the other half of the nation has been saying. The majority of Trump supporters can no longer tolerate the level of corruption in the government and I certainly cannot blame them for that. They can’t stand what ‘wimps’ we have become with our demand for everything to be PC and our insistence that no one ever be offended by anything; I also cannot blame them for that, I am sick of it too.

Many people can no longer tolerate working their butts off and not making a decent living. They can no longer tolerate being invisible and unrepresented by our leaders. Our neighbors, friends, and family members are not these horrible bigots who support hate and the loss of human rights. They are good people, just like you and me, trying to find a way to make an honest living, trying to take care of their families, make a contribution, and feel safe and secure in the world. Just like you and me, they want change.

I heard liberals being described as insufferably arrogant. According to some articles, Trump got elected because of our unwillingness to listen, to compromise, or to change. I would have to agree when it comes to myself; I was brought to my knees and humbled from these election results and have been forced to come face to face with my own bigotry and arrogance.

Please do not continue to assume that everyone who voted for Trump is a misogynistic homophobe who is out to take our nation back to the 50’s or worse. I have seen many posts saying that the hardest part of this is accepting that half of this nation consists of people that are full of hate and who are racist, and worse. This is just not the case. This is simply our own fear and preconceived notions getting in the way of really listening to what people are saying.

I have read numerous articles arguing that even if you are not a bigoted racist, by voting for Trump, you voted for hate. Please consider that many people believe that those of us who voted for Hilary voted for murder, genocide, corruption, greed, and for ‘business as usual’ while a large portion of the population is in extreme pain, poverty, and unrest. For many of us, Hillary did not do any of things she is being accused of and her mistakes pale in comparison to Trumps’. I think that the same goes for those who voted for him; they don’t believe much of what the media has said about him and to them he is nowhere near as bad as Hillary. I have heard people say that they don’t necessarily like him, but that they believe he will get things done.

We have been fed so much propaganda, and campaign BS, and one sided information that it makes my head spin. The more I read, the more I see how skewed and twisted my own perceptions have been. I don’t know much right now, but one thing I do know is that I cannot believe much of what I read, hear, or even see. I ask each of you to question what you read, to fact check, to notice the inconsistencies, and take it all with a breath and critical thought, rather than just respond with your gut reactions.

I did read one article this past week by a Muslim Liberal Immigrant Woman that felt authentic. She is a single mother who voted for Trump. Take the time to google the article, she is articulate and clear. She said that even though she didn’t like some of Trumps’ behaviors, Obama’s programs didn’t help her, and in addition to her beliefs regrading Clinton’s mistakes, she believed that Trump will take a stand against actual terrorism. She had many other valid reasons for voting as she did.

Take the time to really talk to and listen to people who believe that the new president can create change for all of us. Hear how they have been feeling, why they voted how they did, and what their thinking is. Take the time to see how we have not been listening.

There are some unthinkable and horrible, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-semitic events happening right now in our nation. Intolerable. Yes, rage filled people have been stirred up. Numerous hate groups have been on the edge of a volcanic eruption for quite some time now, just waiting for the chance to pounce. I knew it, I felt it, and I am willing to bet that you did too. Very likely, the Trump campaign and the media stirred them up, but they certainly didn’t cause it. They absolutely do not represent all Trump supporters. These groups are not the majority by any means and it is important to remember that.

Many Democrats are also resorting to violence, hate, and anger. I saw a video of some young people kicking an old man who had a Trump T-shirt on. There are people burning flags, screaming obscenities, and harassing others who voted for Trump. I saw one video of a woman who pulled down her pants, defecated on a piece of paper, and then smeared it on a Trump poster.

Even here in idyllic Santa Barbara, my husband and I were eating at one of our favorite locals’ restaurants where we know the owner. We were sitting on the outside patio. A very angry man, who was driving down the street, screamed out to all of us who were eating there. He yelled, “DONT EAT THERE, THE OWNER (he named him) VOTED FOR HITLER.’ I felt some physical fear in the face of how intense his rage was. This man’s energy was really dark and could have gotten people riled up in unpredictable ways.

I have interacted with the owner of this place a number of times over the last 20-30 years. He is a nice guy, who seems like a solid and caring person, and he runs a great restaurant. Am I now the target of hate because I am willing to remain friends with people and/or frequent the businesses of others who have different beliefs and perspectives than me? Since we will continue to eat there will we also begin to be labeled as ‘haters’ deserving of being ostracized? Is our only choice now to choose sides?

The violence and hate that liberals are expressing towards those who voted for Trump does not represent me, and very likely does not represent you, just as those people out there who are perpetrating hate crimes do not represent all Trump supporters.

To assume that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist or a bigot is of course a form of racism and bigotry. To assume that everyone who voted for Trump is represented by these people is no different than others assuming that you and I are represented by the people out there burning flags and beating up people who voted for Trump. We ARE being the hypocrites that conservatives are accusing us of.

I am NOT in any way saying that I support what Donald Trump has said that he stands for. I am NOT in any way suggesting that any of us sit by and witness intolerance and hate or someone being physically hurt or deported. I love seeing people ready to take action, and ready to take a stand for what they believe in. I love that this election has brought people together, and that more people are ready and willing to get involved. Peaceful, non-blaming gatherings and conversations that include problem solving and plans for action are great. Perhaps Trump is just the wakeup call we all needed. Change is here.

However, there is a tradition in the US that includes a graceful and peaceful succession of power. We are dishonoring that with anger and violence. We are being the haters by not accepting that Trump won. We are being the bigots by condemning everyone who voted for him. The angry, violent, protesting is really scary and is only serving to incite the actual haters, vindicate their rage, and divide us as a nation more.

Trump was elected. We can kick and scream and shout about it, but short of him being arrested for something, which is really not likely, he is our next president. I just don’t think that protesting his election can really have much of an effect at this point and it really dishonors the other half of our nation’s voters who voted for him.

Yes, I do believe that there is a time for protesting and fighting back and perhaps that time is now, however, I personally want to see people putting their energy into issues and actions that that they can actually have an effect on.

Let’s put our collective energy into actions that can make a difference. Let’s put that energy into vehemently and righteously protecting the environment and the planet. Without saving our planet, we have nothing. The rest doesn’t really matter much. Protest the animals that are being abused. Fight for human rights of all types, and the refugees. Those are the things we CAN have an effect on.

We do not know what a Trump Presidency will look like. For all we know, much of his campaigning was bluster and ego, and sensationalism designed to rile people up and get votes. I am hoping that much of what he said was designed to win the election. Although I personally strongly disagree with how he did that, I do think that we need to see how this plays out before we jump to too many conclusions.

As many have shared, there is a system of checks and balances in the government, and it is not likely that he can just take office and make all of the changes he proposed he would make while running. And who knows if he even intends to. As people are quick to point out, he has changed his stance many times already 🙂

Many are appalled at any type of ‘wait and see attitude’. A friend said ‘you don’t just wait and see when an angry bear is in your face’. Well, actually, I do believe that total stillness in the presence of that bears’ anger just might be the best course of action. If I try to meet the bear with anger, I will lose, and If I were to try to run, that bear would likely catch me.

Many also believe that we are on the brink of something like Nazi Germany, and we need to stop it now. I do think that this might be a rather dramatic interpretation of events based on fear, but I really do not know.

In fact, right now, I don’t know much. I don’t know what the right thing to do is. I don’t know how to be with everything that has happened in the last week. I don’t know if I can believe any of the assumptions I have made or the preconceived notions and beliefs that I have had up until now.

What I do know is this. Feeding violence and anger into anger and hate only serves to accelerate the problem and increases it’s intensity. Acting out of triggered responses and fear, causes pain, and it polarizes people even farther. Having pre-dramas about events that might or might not occur causes unnecessary upset before we even know what is really is going to happen.

I do know that I hate not knowing. I hate sitting with fear. I hate feeling out of control. My first tendency when I experience these things is to do anything and everything to not feel these things. My first response is to react, to grab for control, to somehow try everything I can to create a sense of security so I don’t have to feel that way. And when I do react out of my avoidance of my own fear, things and events and relationships around me tend to get worse.

I am not saying ‘turn the other cheek’ or tolerate what is intolerable. I am not saying ‘let’s all simply be loving and get along’. I am not proposing that we should ever allow hate crimes to be OK. Or that we shouldn’t take a stand for what we believe in.

I am saying, if you choose to take action, check your own heart first. Be sure that your actions are based on the desire for positive change, rather than blame, hate, anger, and the persecution of others. Remember that understanding the motivation of others is vital to real change that is inclusive.

Don’t simply react out of fear and anger. If you choose to take a stand, do it with a strong commitment to change, not just an aversion to your own fear. Triggered responses often lead to anger and hurt and are not likely to get the result you wanted. Unless of course the result you are looking for is more anger & hurt, and division & polarization. Anger, fear, and hurt can drive people to act in untenable ways and say and do things that they don’t mean. We all know this. It happens in our relationships every day.

Do not have pre-drama’s about events that may or may not happen. Trump may have already changed his stance on a few key items. Please take note and do the research.

I do not know what is actually true and what is rumor, but I have read a number of articles stating that he has already said he does not plan to repeal Obamacare/ ACA, but rather make adjustments, which is what Hillary said she planned to do. A few articles state that although he still plans to deport people with criminal records, he wants to work to get undocumented workers that are making a contribution a path to remain here legitimately. I read something saying he was considering appointing Hillary to a diplomatic post, who knows? In an interview with 60 minutes, he stated that he does not intend to try to overturn Gay Marriage, he will respect the Supreme Courts’ decision. Other posts have said that he has recanted his intention to build the infamous wall. Who knows what is true at this point?

And who knows what will actually happen.

Bernie Sanders was quoted as saying that he and other progressives will work with Trump “to the degree that he is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country.” However, if Trump pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, Sanders promises, “we will vigorously oppose him.”

In summary:

  • Do not let yourself succumb to hate & fear. Remember that these qualities are what we have been voting against. I am not suggesting that you don’t let yourself be angry or afraid, or hurt or sad; I am saying do not take action based on those feelings alone.IMG_5480 blog post inside
  • Seriously consider the possibility that not everyone who voted for Trump voted for hate. Take the time to notice your own hatred, bigotry, racism, and fear. Take time to talk to people who have different values and beliefs than you and really listen to what motivated them rather than listening to your own pre-conceived notions.
  • Remember that the haters out there, the actual white supremacists, the homophobic and xenophobic people do not represent the larger population of voters, just as the people who are beating up the Trump supporters do not represent you.
  • Consider how much we have all been manipulated by the media, and really start to question what you have been led to believe.
  • Take deliberate and intentional action with positive and forward movement rather than from fear, anger, hate and blame. Apply your passion and energy for change in ways that you really can make a difference. Form groups, organize and work for the causes that you believe in.
  • Stay in present time rather than projecting all of your fears onto what might happen or what could happen.

I saw a meme that said, ‘hoping that Trump will fail is like wishing that the pilot of the plane you are on will crash the plane because the pilot is your ex’. Please consider this.

8 Comments

  1. Thank you. Thanks for helping me put similar words and emotions that I had floating around my heart, into a more organized, more calming manner. Informative and reassuring!

    • Thank you for saying this. I am gratified to know that it helps to consider my words.
      Best to you,
      ~inspired girl aka Barbara

  2. Very thoughtful, researched, evaluative, loving & articulate Barbara! What we need is more of that in this world….

    • Thank you Dean. I am glad you found it thoughtful etc! 🙂

  3. Well stated.

  4. I agree that we have to stay grounded in love and not express anger and fear with violence, name calling, and negativity. I think we should ackknowledge and express fear and anger through talking with others but consciously remaining open so it doesn’t become hate but becomes something constructive. I think we should become more aware of what decisions are being made politically in Washington and in our own state. No matter who is in office, its good to start now. So the best we can do is stay in our warrior energy and stay aware. Be ready to speak up when and if that time comes!

    • Yes, be ready if that time comes, to speak up and speak out. And get involved!
      Well said Melissa! Thank you.

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