If I can change, you can change, we all can change

Yes.  100% just quoted Rocky.

Hidy ho, it’s your friendly neighborhood Democrat coming back for more.  *waves*

Let me start by saying, humility has never been my strong suit when it comes to being intelligent or funny.  Those are two things I really value and the ugly side of me wants to be the smartest and the funniest sometimes at the expense of my better judgement and almost always at the expense of kindness.  Smug is a really good way to describe me when I think I’m right about something, and I know that.  Guys, I know me.  If you’re reading this and I’ve ever hurt your feelings by attempting to make you feel stupid in order to make a point, trust me, you aren’t alone.  I’m not at all proud of that, because unfortunately, I think I’m right a lot.

Anyway, yesterday, I read this article about the smugness of American liberalism and that thing bothered me.  Not just bothered me, but it convicted me.  Deeply.  If you’d like to read it (or skim it, it is extremely lengthy) click here.  Fellow progressives, I’m not saying I agree with the entirety of the text, but I am saying that I wholly agree with the sentiment.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I had a different family, lived somewhere else, and was not 90/10 outnumbered when it comes to my political ideology and beliefs.  However, I choose to live in eastern Kentucky.  Nobody held a gun to my head and made me buy a house in Johnson County, I wanted to.  I wanted to stay.  My life is far from an echo-chamber (I am loving that word today) of yes men and women when it comes to how I see the world.  When I was younger, I was insufferable.  I look back at my Facebook statuses and my twitter updates from elections before and wince.  I called Republicans morons and classless and other things because I thought I was smarter.  How silly that you vote this way, you just haven’t met people different from you, I would think.  How silly, indeed.  But, not them… me.

The last year and a half has been a a steady evolution for me as far as learning to speak TO people instead of AT them.  I unhid all of the conservative folks I’d hidden on my FB, to start.  I thought, you know, this is bull.  I can’t sit here and act like I’m all tolerant and just be constantly reading opinions of folks I agree with.  Next, I started commenting and conversing.  I started asking questions — and most importantly — I started listening.  People think what they think and believe what they believe for A LOT of reasons and you learn a lot when you back off from trying to get them to change their minds (they wont) and move forward with finding a place, any place at all, that you can agree.

As long as it remains respectful and never steps into racism, into misogyny, or into hatred, I’m open and willing to talk to you.  I don’t have a choice, really.  I don’t live in a blue bubble.  My bubble is red, and I am a teeny tiny blue dot, swimming against the current, and I’ll just keep swimming.  I’m stubborn like that.

Conservative friends and family, most people who identify as liberal and progressive that I know are a lot like me.  Some of the kindest, most accepting, loving people with hearts beyond anything I have ever known.  Progressive/liberal friends and family?  Most of the people I know personally and interact with on a daily basis are hardline conservatives, and they, too, are some of the kindest, most accepting, loving, big-hearted people I know.  I know we’ve got bad apples on each side, but as someone who knows a lot of both sides, I promise you, we are more alike than we are not alike.

The narratives seek to divide us, and it’s working.  The internet is a big place, full of a lot of facts, and unfortunately, a lot of lies.  If you’re just reading stuff that aligns with how you think, you aren’t challenging yourself.  Brietbart doesn’t have the answers, and neither does the Huffington Post.  I think the best thing we could all do is put down the memes and talk to one another.  I may not convince you that I am right, but I will give you something to think about and another angle to look at, and I think that’s invaluable.  But, that’s just me, you guys.  I’m not gonna like Trump, you never liked Obama, but I think we like each other, and that’s pretty cool.

 

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Negan – 1, America – 0

Well, that didn’t go as planned.

I imagined writing a much different blog today.  Not only did I imagine it, I looked forward to it immensely.  She wasn’t perfect nor a saint, but I’m proud of the vote that I cast yesterday.  In my humble opinion, she was far and away the most qualified candidate of the two, and the most capable. Much of America did not agree with me, but I stand by my choice.  A unique choice to vote for a woman not so much unlike myself; short, unconventional, a little ‘too’ everything, sharp as tack, and stronger than a pine knot.  A choice, judging by the direction seemingly emboldened by voters last night, I will likely never get again in my lifetime.

For reasons that I cannot grasp, Donald Trump won the Presidency last night.  That is a very strange sentence to type.  My feelings for Trump are no secret and at the risk of sounding close-minded, it is unlikely those feelings will ever change.  He is the personification of everything I find abhorrent and I have feared this day since I saw momentum mounting for him in 2015.  I honestly never really thought it would happen.

The hardest thing about typing this blog is finding the right words to convey my feelings without hurting anyone that I love and care about.  What I find unsavory about Trump does not necessarily equate to a rebuke of you on a personal level.  People vote certain ways for certain reasons, and though I feel great concern with your comfort level with some very obvious character flaws Trump undeniably has, it is your right to vote for whomever you choose.  In the same light, it is my right to criticize him.  For now lolz.

So, here we are, staring down the barrel of a 4 year Trump Presidency, ripe with skepticism from me and adoration from his masses, dripping with hope that this is a new day for America.  Make America Great Again, he says and y’all say.  As an Obama voter, let me tell you, it’s easy to get caught up in somebody who says exactly what you want to hear and does it in a way that appeals to you.  I get that.  Charisma, though I personally see less than zero in Trump, cannot be fabricated and y’all bought it hook, line, and sinker.  Which, honestly, is slightly gratifying considering how disgusted y’all were with Obama’s support.

A candidate I supported lost an election last night.  It’s not the first time and it wont be the last.  However, I feel like it’s much bigger than that, and that’s what’s so hard to swallow.  I am not silly, I realize a Democrat can’t (and shouldn’t) be in power 100% of the time, but in my mind, this is not a Democrat/Republican issue.  I actually do not even qualify DJT as a Republican, to be perfectly clear.  For better or worse, he is his own breed and he marches to the beat of his own drum, which a lot of people found appealing for whatever reason.

No, this was no ordinary loss.  This was more like a monumental ideological shift wherein so many people that I love and care about will not just be left behind, but be made to feel less safe in their own country.  If you think that is dramatic or too far, you have privilege that these people do not.  If you don’t think privilege is real, then congratulations, you have lived your whole live with some variant of privilege.  The problem lies in expanse of the divide between the two sides.  People of color, LGBTQ, women, and other minorities feel so excluded from the America in which Trump gives a voice.  To you, it may be as simple as wanting career politicians out, to many people, it derives a level of fear in which you will never relate.

For those people?  I am your ally.  A version of these words have played in my head since last night when I went to bed.  With this shift, I am choosing to shift as well.   Something felt different in me today.  I read every status, took in every comment, every cry of elation, every moan of defeat, and I so deeply want to be the kind of person to helps heal what this has started.  I never got angry, I never felt that tingly feeling you get when you just have to get those comments off, and maybe Effexor is to thank for that.  I realize I am just a little white girl on a MacBook deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, but I have a voice and I realize I have privilege that some folks may not. I don’t know where to start other than saying that my voice is for you and I am for you and with you.  I’ve said that to several people today, and I mean it.  I am a bleeding heart, I believe deeply in justice, in equality, and in the unmistakable art of kindness.  I will extend that kindness to you with great humility and mercy when we disagree, no matter what.  I will be gracious in defeat and vigilant in my quest to be the voice for people who may be scared to speak.

In times like these, there must be a voice of reason, a voice of kindness, and a voice of assurance that we will be okay.  The stages of grief in dealing with the magnitude of this cultural shift are numerous and great and it’s okay to go through every single one of them.  The only reason I say we will be okay is not because I don’t fear the possibilities of this administration, but because I know a lot of deeply empathetic people who will fight right beside me.

If this blog lost you, it’s okay.  I’m not going anywhere.