I had said that my recent change in employment was to enable me more bandwidth for creative endeavors. I can't say that I've written a ton of words since the change began – or painted, or anything else of that nature. I can absolutely attribute most of that to the transition period. However, there is something else, that has been inhibiting my creativity: politics. I don't generally pay much attention to politics because it seems to be outside of my realm of understanding and/or control anyway. But, this year was different. This year (2016, that is) was hateful. This year I paid attention.
A lot came to the surface in the US. I think America's addiction to reality television became painfully apparent, for one thing. I've been alive for 4 decades and I haven't seen a more ridiculous election year in my life. Everybody seemed to have lost their minds. And, I have noticed resentments being displayed in and out of social media – not just bickering, but problems that have been buried in relationships for years.
I absolutely don't want to rant about who won or who didn't. I care about America; I care about Texas and I care about my family. Kristen Lamb has warned us, as writers, to steer clear of politics in social media, unless our goal is to be political writers. But, this last year hurt my heart, and I can't help but write about that, at least. I have to write about it to get it out of my system, so that I can write about other things, like people interacting with each other... things that I enjoy writing about.
I have friends who have written on Facebook, "If you voted for Trump, please unfriend me." Now, I'm not telling anybody who they can be friends with, but I think that might not be in the best interest of their ultimate goal. It's not that I don't understand their feelings; I feel – and have felt – that way for a long time. A long, long time.
I'm going to make up a friend; we'll call him George – after the nickname that the Abominable Snowman gave to Sylvester the cat. Let's say that George is a gay man who has finally been able to marry the man he's been with for over a decade. (This really does include a lot of people I know.) George feels that, after having made all of this progress, the world is going to turn back to a time when homosexual activity was against the law and legal same-sex marriage was a fantasy. After the election, George feels so abandoned by the world that he writes on his Facebook timeline, "If you voted for Trump, please unfriend me now."
One thing I'd like to point out to my friend, George, is that for the most part, prejudice is a result of people coming into contact with something they are not familiar with. So, by distancing yourself from people who you feel abandoned you, and who you feel voted to have you thrown in jail, you are doing the worst thing possible. You are distancing yourself from people when you should be showing them that you're really an alright guy who happens to be married to a man, that being married to a man really isn't all that outrageous. And, if your rights do begin to be taken away, you should be the loving person in their lives who is hurt, so that they can witness first-hand what a terrible thing it is.
Let me try from a different perspective. Let's assume for a moment that Trump is Satan. (I do not believe that Trump is Satan, nor do I believe that he is the anti-Christ.) By saying, "If you voted for Trump, then unfriend me," you are furthering his agenda of dividing us Americans. You are letting Satan win. Do not let Satan win!
It seems counter-intuitive, but we could compare this to Jesus meeting the woman at the well. I understand that this is a Christian story and many people feel that extremist Christians are behind a lot of this, but let's just turn their story around. Jesus met a woman at a well – a woman who had been married multiple times and was currently living with a man outside of wedlock. What's more, this woman was a Samaritan – totally beneath Jesus' station. But, he didn't chastise the woman or talk down to her; he just talked with her and then said, "Go and sin no more." Maybe, if we see somebody behaving in a way that we feel is bad, maybe compassion is more effective than hate.
I have one last thing to mention. There are a lot of members of both houses of Congress who changed their 'opinion' of Trump after he won. Not coincidentally, there is going to be another election in 2018. I think it's time that we followed the example of Hillary Clinton. I believe that it is time to work with all of our elected Senators and Representatives, regardless if they are affiliated with the same party that we are. I understand that some of them are voting to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act without having anything to replace it. I still believe that showing up to the table for the conversation is the best approach. If people feel that Trump is a loose cannon who is about to have the codes for nuclear weapons, then it would behoove them to work together with Congress – both houses – against a common enemy. Our Constitution was based on a balance of power.
It hurts my heart that two of my brothers are at each other's throats on social media. It hurts my heart to see so much hate every day. It hurts my heart that one man could successfully instill such an 'Us-Against-Them' mentality in our country. Our Constitution is 230 years old. That is a brief moment in time compared to European nations. There is no guarantee that The United States of America will continue to be. We are not the United Republicans of America, nor the United Democrats of America – we have to work together. We have to. I don't want to live through the history of a second U.S. Civil War. Please, let's all be rational people.