Choice words

Voters are politically angry these days.

Some are angry because their choice for President didn’t win the primary. Others because their choice did win then, and isn’t winning now. Some are mad because the choice is “between two evils” or because the alternative choices are not being taken seriously enough. Or because the one and only choice is so abundantly clear, and the other side just doesn’t see it. Still others thought they made a good choice and regret it. Or wish the choice weren’t so damn hard.

I feel more depressed than angry.

Personally I feel that any choice I might have had was removed when Donald Trump began a campaign to regularly inject hate into our national thought. For me, nothing is as bad as hate. Not lying, not corruption, not greed, not faulty judgment, not evasiveness, not business-as-usual or politics-as-usual. These can all be damaging, but we have seen them all before, and have learned some tactics to expose them or deal with them. They are scary in their own way… but hate… This feels “new” on a pervasive national level. It’s knocking us out and we don’t know what to do. Hate is a dangerous thing. Hate causes us to stop understanding or even wanting to understand each other (and eventually ourselves). What good can we be to our friends, family, nation or ourselves if we are anchored by hate and a crippling lack of understanding — or worse — a lack of desire to understand? [Gonna pull my known world in close around like a blanket — I don’t want to see the monsters under the bed.]

Hate is not a political stance. Yet we are fed by Trump’s hateful words, actions, attitudes as if they were policy. And because we are accustomed to hearing policy from our policitians, and some or another attempt at policy seems to make some sense to many (though they are largely policies based on hate and its kindred fear) — there appears to be a political choice. But does reacting to fear and hate really constitute a choice?

With all the respect I can muster for those of my family/friends who see something hopeful in Trump, I cannot yet reconcile how you can choose hate. I think you don’t call it that. I believe that you are making a stand for something you feel is important — and you don’t see that it comes wrapped in hate. You don’t see that Trump calls for wide-ranging exclusion that doesn’t at the moment touch you. You don’t see that, because hate and fear are blinding. Or because you are not peeking out into the wider world.

I have sat and talked of books and beliefs with Mexicans in this country — documented and not. I have sat and talked of words and wishes with women from Syria. I have friends who are abused women, African Americans (not all in inner city), developmentally disabled, chubby, journalists and Muslim. With his divisive words, Trump has systematically diminished them all — and thus diminished me. I will not accept that hate.

I wish there were something to consider. Something to weigh, lists to make and debates to have, serious questioning and policies to deliberate. I wish we had two or more options that would move us forward — and it would simply (or difficultly) be a question of how, that we, as smart citizens would figure out. Instead, we have our current reality.

I wish we could all peek further out into the world…





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