|Before President-Elect Trump, her future seemed brighter.|
In the last two days, I've had several facebook conversations with Trump voters- some that I know and some I do not- because I sincerely wanted to understand what they were thinking. Maybe if I understood, I thought, my suffering would be less.
Anger is a secondary emotion. Hurt almost always lies underneath the anger. Trump insulted veterans, women, Muslims, immigrants, people of color, people of size, and disabled people. He didn't offer apologies. He instigated hate at his rallies. His call to "Make America Great Again" in and of itself insulted minorities. What time period was he referring to? American history has not been kind to anyone except white men. The "good old days" were not great for women or minorities.
Each vote for Trump FEELS like a validation of all those hateful comments. And that hurts. Big time. I'm not hurt by him, I had already written him off as a narcissist incapable of empathy. Rather, I am hurt that 50% of the people in this already great country validated the hate he peddled. The people who "held their noses" or overlooked his hate and voted for him anyway.
Today I had lunch with two sweet friends after yoga. We made small talk and one asked how I was doing. I said I wasn't doing well and that I was really hurt by this election. The talk turned to how people were rioting and wasn't that terrible? Why can't the people who voted for Hillary accept it and move on?
It is terrible. It's terrible because hate cannot be conquered by hate. It's terrible because the Trump people will now just write off all protestors as "crazy liberals" who are violent and hypocritical and sore losers. It's terrible because it's not ok to destroy property and hurt people because you are angry. But I said that I understood their anger. I don't condone it but I understand it. People are HURTING. People are scared. People feel they are not seen. People feel they do not matter.
One friend said this is why she didn't talk politics. I could tell I was making her uncomfortable. The topic of conversation was changed to her child now in middle school and yadayadayada. I couldn't hear a word. I felt unheard. I felt my hurt was being dismissed. I couldn't eat my lunch. I started to sob. I said "how are we going to heal as a country if we can't even have these discussions with friends?" I said I didn't want to have friends that only talked about things on a superficial level and who didn't try to understand why I was hurting. They said they weren't taking the elections personally.
And BING BING BING- there was the source of my pain. I was taking it personally.
I thought we were making steady progress and that my daughter would not have to endure the blatant racism my husband had endured. I am a mama bear and I am hurt beyond words that my beautiful and long-awaited child is not valued in our society as much as their white children. Literally. The fees for her adoption were less because she was part black. They are lowest for full black children. The waiting time for black children is significantly shorter. And STILL black baby boys are being shipped overseas because they aren't all being adopted here. Why are some people pro-baby when it comes to unborn children but not pro-baby for the ones that are already born? How can someone be staunchly anti-abortion but then not adopt? Where do they think those babies go? Why are the unborn babies seen and valued when babies (and people) of color aren't? What about the suffering right in front of our eyes? How can a vote for a serial cheater (of women and small businesses) and a documented liar who now says he is pro-life in order to get elected be the vote of the conservative Christians? What is Christian about his statements and his actions? Who really wants to claim his "values" as their own?
One of my lunch friends was not familiar with my husband's recent press coverage. I told her of his role in the Dallas Police shootings and his comments to the media. How he has experienced racism his whole life. How he condems violence but understands the fear of police because he experiences it. He lives it. I told her how he has had patients coming into the hospital literally dying on a stretcher who said they didn't want a black man to be their doctor. (And he was the only trauma surgeon there!) I cannot fathom having so much hate for a group of people that you are willing to DIE rather than have one SAVE YOUR LIFE. And can you imagine how that must feel to be so despised? Just because of your skin pigment? And a lot of white people that I know honestly believe that racism doesn't really exist anymore because they don't see it or experience it. I will tell you I myself was naive about a lot of it until I witnessed it. And I had a very reasonable fear that a white supremacist was going to come to our house and shoot us because my husband spoke out.
Our country has a long and complicated history with "all men were created equal." For many, many years, "all men" meant white men and not people of color or women. So, my fellow Americans, do you REALLY believe that ALL MEN (AND WOMEN) ARE CREATED EQUAL? And if we truly believe that, why do black babies cost less? They were created the same way (physically and spiritually.)
Thank you for reading along this far. I am grateful that you are trying to hear me. What I ask now, is for you to be still. Trump does not appear to be capable of empathy. Are you? Can you put yourself in the "other's" (pun intended) shoes?
How would you FEEL if your precious son was killed serving his country? Then your ultimate sacrifice was belittled by the man running for president? And that man was validated by being elected president? (Trump is now going to be commander-in-chief. How are people of color, women, other religions, etc currently serving in the military going to feel about giving their lives for the country that elected him and ignored them? Why would minorities join the military now after he (and our country) insulted them?)
How would you FEEL if your daughter was sexually assaulted? Then a man who boasts about sexual assault was validated by being elected president?
How would you FEEL if you were unseen, unheard, and unvalidated?
Tonight I told a black friend that my husband wasn't as upset by this election as I was. We realized it was because he has felt marginalized by this country his whole life. But for me, this election was a slap in the face. Because I believed things were getting better. I believed the future was brighter for my precious, priceless, miracle daughter. And I'm grieving that the America I believed in said with their votes that her future may now not be as bright as their white childrens' future. For me, it's personal. My black friend told me that she was proud to be an American but that her America wasn't proud of her. It broke my heart. Because to many Americans, that is their truth. And I don't want that to be the truth for my daughter.
As I typed this, she ran into our kitchen in her Elsa pajama top and Wonder Woman underwear full of giggles and joy and love and light. "Mama!!! Put that down and come with me! We are having a tickle fight. Do you want to tickle me?" And my heart breaks because I see her innocence and I know it will soon be shattered by the hateful messages that were just validated. I feel the injustice of this election. I am hurt. I grieve. Trump does not deserve to be her president.