I had a feeling this was going to happen. Because I have heard it brewing. In mutterings about “Obamacare”, about the loss of jobs, about the “changing culture”. I have people in my life — family members, friends — who voted for Donald Trump. I also have people in my life who are avid Hillary supporters. And Bernie supporters.
It used to be said that you should never talk about politics or religion, at least in mixed company. So we gathered in private Facebook groups or read blogs or specialty news sites written by people who generally share our opinions. I actually think that’s part of what got us to where we are as a nation.
Some people are saying that we need to “unify” and “heal”, and while that sounds noble, it’s not that simple either. Healing doesn’t mean the form of the “losers” sucking it up and cowering in deference to the powers that be. (Yes, I’m using a lot of air quotes, because those are words that other people have used, not me). It doesn’t take the form of people in positions of power subjugating others and then wringing their hands when the disenfranchised dare to speak up. It doesn’t take the form of gloating like a jerk and then criticizing people who un-friend you. But I also don’t think it takes the form of withdrawing and surrounding ourselves with only people who think like we do. There is no dignity in smiling politely while someone talks about ideas that are mean-spirited and self-serving. It’s not modest or polite to keep quiet about our fears, doubts, or even anger. I won’t cut off any people solely on the basis of who they voted for. But I will make boundaries around people who are abusive in expressing their opinions.
Talk. Listen. And acknowledge your privilege.
Race. Gender. Religion. Sexual orientation. Class. Culture. Nationality. Some of those things may sound redundant, but they are slightly different. All of those things affect our points of view and the opportunities that are afforded to us. All oppressions are not the same.
Clearly, this election had less to do with policy and everything to do with feelings, identity, and belonging. How do we understand each other better? I don’t know what the future holds, but I will keep talking, writing, telling my stories and those of other people…