I easily could have been in that number. My husband, especially, could have been in that number.
As the majority of Americans are breathing a sigh of relief that an administration that catastrophically failed to protect 200,000+ of our citizens is done, what I’m hearing from those that still voted for it, is astonishing.
“Good luck getting a vaccine under Biden’s administration.”
“Good luck with your stimulus check now that McConnell won’t work with those socialist Dems.”
“Good luck with rioting and looting and burning down our cities.”
Who would wish that on another person? Who would legitimately want things to not work out for our fellow citizens? Why is that sort of animosity for your neighbor acceptable? What about ‘Love thy neighbor’?
I didn’t vote for a man. I voted for an office. I voted for dignity. I voted for better. For all of us.
I voted so you could have better healthcare.
So you could have equal representation under the law.
So your relatives from Muslim countries could meet their new grandkid.
I voted so you could have better education.
So you could have better access to testing for COVID-19.
So you could return to “life as normal” sooner rather than later.
I voted so science could dictate guidelines and conspiracy theories didn’t.
I voted so we could take care of each other.
So my black and brown friends know that I believe their lives matter.
So our future doesn’t seem so grim.
Because ultimately, I want all of us to do better and be better.
I’ve learned through the last few years that facts, processes, procedures and the will of the American people are not enough for some. I’ve also learned that debating with those who want to refute the sky being blue is a pointless endeavor.
The age of disinformation persists. It’s ugly. It nearly brought the downfall of our democracy. It doesn’t deter from Biden’s win.
It will not just magically go away to some new social media channel. But, I can do my best to provide relevant, factual information to those willing to learn more or adjust the hill they are willing to die on.
Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend.
As a side note, I’m always in awe of how quickly creators can change scripts based on current events. As networks declared Joe Biden the President-elect, they had only hours to come up with new skits and scripts.
Chappelle certainly has a knack for stinging comedy that reflects the current temperature of the country and he did not disappoint with his opening monologue, something I rewatched again last night.
“Remember when I was here four years ago, how bad that felt? Remember that half the country right now still feels that way,” he said.
“Remember for the first time in the history of America, the life expectancy of white people is dropping because of heroin, suicide.”
“All these white people that feel that anguish, that pain, they’re mad because they think nobody cares. Maybe they don’t. Let me tell you something: I know how that feels, I promise you, I know how that feels. A police officer, every time you put your uniform on, you feel like you got a target on your back. You’re appalled by the ingratitude when you would risk your life to save them. Oh man, believe me. Believe me, I know how that feels. Everyone knows how that feels.”
“But here’s the difference between me and you: You guys hate each other for that. And I don’t hate anybody. I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through. You’ve got to find a way to live your life and forgive each other. You’ve got to find a way to find a way to find joy in your existence, in spite of the feeling.”
That struck me. Hard.
I will not go on a diatribe about allowing racists to get away with saying their morals and the way they view another person is just a “difference of opinion.”
But I will offer you this – in the throes of election anxiety this past summer and perhaps offering a glimpse into how nervous I was moving to an island during the middle of a pandemic, I sat in the middle of a Target parking lot talking to my therapist about how I felt over the phone.
That’s nothing revealing, Caroline. She’s your therapist. You pay her to talk about your damn feelings.
Ah, yes. But more specifically, I talked about how he makes me feel.
I admitted to her and myself that the way he speaks about minorities, the way he disregards women, the way he callously shrugs at lives lost, makes me feel something I don’t often feel.
And I hated him for it.
It drudged up feelings I, quite literally, have never felt before.
And ohhhhhh, I hated him for that.
I hated me for it.
These were emotions I didn’t know how to deal with because I hadn’t felt them before and before I could accurately express that it felt gross, my therapist reminded me why.
“Because this isn’t you. You don’t like how it feels, because it isn’t you.”
Damn, I’m glad I pay people who are smarter than me to break things down.
I didn’t like it because on a visceral level, I knew these hateful feelings would devour me whole if I continued down that powerful path. You can be fueled by justice but not by hate for another person.
So, I stopped and reminded myself of what was and wasn’t in my control. To deal with the pain his actions were causing.
As we’ve all learned, we can’t control a madman destined to prop his narcissistic self up on the back of the very country in which he calls himself the leader.
I can have some sense of control with how proactive and reactive I am to his hate.
That’s when I broke my years-long social media hiatus of talking about Trump and the election specifically.
I went back and forth about how much of it was yelling into an echo chamber and reminded myself that if even one person didn’t feel so alone in who they were voting for, then it was worth it.
And boy, was it worth it.
I caught a glimpse of democracy in action. People reaching out expressing their respectful opinions. Friends busting through comfort zones with a nod for the nudge talking about it gave them. Freedom lovers volunteering their precious time to get out the vote.
What I saw was others standing up to hate in their own ways.
Because those of us who do remember how it felt four years ago, did not want to feel that way ever again and even on the very basic of levels, we know how the other side is feeling today.
(That statement does not repudiate the hateful rhetoric that is often spewed by people who mimic their leader.)
But what I’m hoping it does, is remind us of the fear we felt that day and how much worse it could have been again after this election. Know–whether right or wrong–others are very much feeling that way today.
And I want better for them. Which is why I voted the way I did.
You will not catch me raising a Biden flag outside our household. You won’t see a “Biden 2020 – Fuck Your Feelings” bumper sticker on the back of my car. I won’t be wearing a t-shirt painting broad strokes of an entire party by using buzzwords like communist or socialist.
I will not let hate enter my bones because others are responding hatefully today. I will continue to talk out about the atrocities. Continue to speak about marginalized communities.
But the hate ends here. With me. With you. With what we continue to do, day after day.
This doesn’t mean that when they go low, we don’t fight back.
It means our mission doesn’t end here.
Let their hate and disinformation define them.
Let our response and movement define us.