We are a nation divided.
I was on Facebook yesterday and I came across a vile and repugnant post written by —-related to his support of Trump. I must be going through the “anger” part of my grief because his words created a visceral response in me that I can not ignore. A response of pure see-red anger. My therapist told me that anger is a natural response. Okay well good, so I am entitled to my anger.
Here’s the thing, in my life’s journey empathy has played a powerful role as I navigate my life, my marriage, and addiction. The Trumpocalypse has also inspired me to think more about empathy. How do we reconcile this divide? How do we find empathy in all of this? While I will not stop trying to cultivate my most empathetic self, this post is not exactly about that.
With my husband, empathy was not a stretch because despite his many manipulative and hurtful actions while actively using, he is a kind and loving human being. Through education I learned that these actions were driven by a brain hijacked by opioids. And his actions were never rooted in bigotry. But when sober people say hateful, sinister, and repugnant things, well, finding empathy feels pretty much impossible. This is not politics. It’s not politically correct. It is not in response to a micro aggression. It’s in response to aggression. It’s personal.
I read somewhere, I don’t remember where (Southern Law Poverty Center website I think) that re-posting hate speech only serves to give it a voice, even if the commentary is not meant to propagate hate. So based on my responses, you can make educated guesses as to what the post said. Here is my RANT (aka my normal response to hate speech that offends me and most of the human race). Note, this is not me taking the “high road”. This is a response meant for one person, and those that share in his ideals of bigotry. If you do not, then you need not be offended. If you are offended, perhaps you fear you made a mistake in the way you voted.
- Speaking of elitist, Trump just appointed a whole bunch of Washington corporate insiders and special interests to his transition team. Nice work on that one.
- Oh yeah, and Trump Organization personifies the financial elite. Um, hellooooo?
- You know your daughter will grow up to be a woman one day right?
- You are a nasty man. Barely a 1.
- No I can’t give the Alt-Right a chance.
- White people are affected by climate change too you know.
- We already know white lives matter. It’s pretty obvious.
- No one ever said you couldn’t get married.
- I changed my mind, you are a 0.
- ISIS is rejoicing Trump’s victory, their recruitment numbers will go way up, great freakin work on the terrorism front.
- Your president elect’s hate mongering and election has resulted in a drastic spike in hate crimes. Nice job, you voted for terror, again.
- I was bullied in middle school. I won’t be bullied now.
- You need to read more.
- I need you to register with a straight white male database, as you are clearly a danger to the United States. Please and thank you. (My husband will need to register too, he will understand).
- You realize the constitution is more than just the 2nd amendment right?
- You are a mean person.
- You come from a family of immigrants, but they weren’t brown so I suppose you think it’s somehow different. By the way, that’s called racism.
- Native Americans were here before anybody else anyway.
- Don’t whine about being called a “basket of deplorables” and then say and do deplorable shit.
- Your dad helps pay your mortgage with his social security check, what is the problem? That’s a government program too.
- Sometimes we have to think of others, it’s not all about you.
- I don’t hate you for the color of your skin I hate you because you hate me for mine.
- You were a miserable jerk at my wedding, and everyone said so.
- You have always had health insurance, before and after Obamacare. No one forced you.
- Blame the insurance companies for high premiums. They are still making boatloads of money.
- What does “soft children” mean?
- Pro gun, pro torture, pro war, anti abortion. Very confusing.
- On abortion: you are entitled to your opinion. It’s still none of your damn business.
- Jesus: help others. Trump: hate others.
- Trump shipped jobs overseas.
- You have been gainfully employed for over ten years, why are you whining about jobs?
- You recently boasted to me that you make $250,000.00 a year, what the hell are you complaining about?
- Your climate change denying post is from one of websites on FB that was determined to be fake news. Get your facts right.
- Aren’t you Christian?
- Stop proving that I am better than you.
- How I translate your post: “Waaaahhh waaaahhhh you are trying to take away my white male privilege waaaahhh waaaahhhh.”
- My fear is valid.
- It makes me mad that I now have to be scared.
I was able to find empathy for my husband by educating myself about addiction and the effects of opioids on the brain. And because he is a kind and loving person. Perhaps I need to see —– in this way, as a person whose brain has been hijacked by propaganda and hatred. In the meantime I am watching everything unfold with anger, fear, and hope and refusing, resisting, normalization. And I am still grieving.
Yes, his words hurt me and I responded. I teach this to my patients with social skills deficits: “your words and behaviors impact the feelings of others.”
Indeed we are a nation divided.
Anyway, that is my RANT.
I will now go back to my regular posts about my attempts at compassion and empathy as I navigate this world, life, and addiction. And puppies, rainbows, and butterflies…just kidding…no, in all seriousness, from this moment in our history’s time, we will not be “going back.” There is no going back for any of us, on either side of the divide and everywhere in between.
We may be the same nation of people that voted before the election, but the government that is forming is vastly different. As I observe the powers-that-be in play, as I hear the emboldened words of the hateful, as I read the messages of budding fundamentalism (not conservatism), as I am unceasingly appalled at the blatant lies, and bear witness to the unprecedented corruption, I wonder what all of it means for a reshaping of policies and my nation. How bad can it get, I keep wondering. Fearing.
There are varying demographics that voted for Trump for different reasons. While I struggle to understand all of the reasons, I can say, with empathy, that I fear this government will be tragic for a great majority of us, on both “political” sides. In rural and urban areas. Black, brown, and white. Male and female. Straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. For children and grandchildren. Liberal and conservative. Sober, recovering, and addicted. It will certainly be worse, much worse, for some, that is already evident. I will be working on figuring out what all of this means for me, for my family, my friends, and my community. What part I will play and what life story I will write. What dialogues I will have with others. How will I support others.
I now know, really really know, where I stand with —– and many others for that matter. Perhaps deep down I always did. Yes my liberal bubble has officially burst.
Yes indeed we are a nation divided.
And a nation in trouble.
Remaining grateful my husband is in rehab, remaining vigilant with the times to come, hoping to be a positive force in my community, forgiving myself for responding in anger, forgiving myself and others for being human.
I suspect this will be a dark time for many of us, those who voted for Trump and those who did not. Please no matter your political views, hang tight to your moral ones. Keep watch, stay vigilant. As I have been saying, we must continue to treat each other with compassion and kindness. Peace.
Elizabeth Warren saying some real stuff (she is a Senator, not part of the “liberal media”):