There's a word.
Another good one.
Should be in everyone's vocabulary.
The past 24 hours have found over 200,000 pairs of eyes reading a single entry here at Don't Get Me Started. Traffic driven here by the sharing of a link over and over and over, like a literary Faberge shampoo commercial. "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on..."
Watching the numbers climb an average of 10,000 per hour, I have been humbled, appreciative, and left mouthing the word "Wow" over and over.
To that end, I would like to first thank all of you who have come, read, read more, commented, and then shared the link to "What Will It Take?" with your friends. Welcome to DGMS. I hope you come back often. (I promise things are not always this heavy around here.)
Reading your comments, I have been reminded of something I have always believed when I sit down to write - words have power. The power to influence emotions, to broaden a scope, to move people to action. And yes, to validate. It's that last one that has been found in so many of the comments left on that particular piece.
And while echo chambers often get a deservedly bad rap - dissenting voices are important to a dialogue - sometimes, like the days we are living through, people need to be reminded that they are not alone, they are not crazy, and that what they feel is not unique.
In this case, be reminded that 65 million other people are out here stupefied, horrified by what is happening in this country.
Being able to put words to what people are thinking but cannot quite express, are afraid to express, is humbling. I never lose sight of that.
I do want to try to respond to some of the comments, clarify where I am coming from in some of the words I wrote.
First and foremost, NO, I do not want innocent people to be hurt by this administration coming to power. But in terms of those who voted for Trump, there is not any innocence to the act. I have seen many of his voters try to hide behind "policy differences" and "conservatism" as their reasons. NO. In terms of policies? He had none. Not a one. He had word salad, red meat, and dog whistles, but no real, actionable policies. As for conservatism? To use that word in relation to Donald Trump is laughable. A man who splashes his cash on a gilded tower and a laundry list of failed enterprises is no conservative.
Supporting Trump meant that a person marinated in a cesspool of hate, ignorance, misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, phobias of all ilk for nearly 2 years, yet were willing to hold their nose, look the other way at the glaring inhumanity of his powerful words and his other followers, and still vote for him. They do not now get to declare themselves clean. There is great truth to the words, "You are the company you keep." And their company believes they are better than someone whose skin is darker than theirs, whose religion is different than theirs, whose attractions are not like theirs.
This is not a matter of political difference, this is a matter of humanity. And as long as the orange finger was not pointing at them, they were totally cool with it being pointed at everyone else.
Next, in terms of those who are of the "reach out and embrace the opposition" mindset, I used to think that way, too. The sad reality is that the majority on that other side would sooner cut your outstretched arms off than enter your embrace. They have long scoffed at liberals, jeering at our empathy, open hearts, desire to help others. They see our willingness to compromise as weakness. Our compassion makes them sick. They laugh at the fact we feel.
That's fine. I will take being laughed at, jeered at, made fun of. Our compassion is the source for why we can actually SEE other people as PEOPLE, not monsters or threats. Our empathy leads us to learn about others. Our willingness to replace what we think we know with actual fact is why we are less afraid. Fear cannot exist without a steady diet of ignorance.
I am completely aware of what a dangerous world we have. I know there are real threats. But I also know that more of my fellow citizens are a greater daily threat to me than is ISIS. I know that no transgender person has ever attacked someone in a bathroom. I know that my marriage is not compromised or weakened by a same sex marriage. That people who follow Islam are no different than people who follow Christianity. It's the extremists in both that are the danger.
And I know that civility has its place. Many have stated I am "an angry person." In general, no. In the acute? YES. Any rational, thinking, truly patriotic person would be angry about what has/is taking place. The hypocrisy alone is staggering. Reverse any of this - any one piece of it. Replace the word Trump with Hillary - his supporters would be screaming for her head. That is the mindset we are up against. Sadly, we are going to have to come to terms with the fact that our overtures, our attempts at entreaties don't just fall on deaf ears - they fall on willfully deaf ears. The adult equivalent of toddlers with their fingers in their head holes chanting "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah." The other side must be met on their playing field where they need to finally feel that we are not weak. They need to be shocked by our strength, our passion, our willingness to fight for this country they only profess to love.
As I told someone earlier today, these people have always been there. They were just hiding in the shadows, knowing that their beliefs, their venality was not acceptable. But Trump came along and not only emboldened them to step out of those shadows, those sewers, but he validated their heinous thoughts, actions. Now, like any schoolyard bully, they will only shrink when stood up to. They need knocked HARD onto their metaphorical asses. They, and their vile behaviors, must be shoved back into those sewers, made to realize that this country is better than what they, and their chosen leader, are portraying to the world.
I have always held fast to the belief that people are nuanced, so much more than one thing. But this election has highlighted that one thing can be a definer. One thing can obscure the others. I know that in that 62 million who voted for him are people who volunteer, who take care of their granny, who donate to food banks, who smile at their neighbor, who laugh at funny videos, who extend a helping hand. But those same people denied the humanity of millions of others when they elevated Donald Trump to POTUS.
And in that one act, they obscured everything else and defined themselves one by thing: their own stunning lack of humanity.
That is what they must be made to see, to own. Every tear that falls, every family torn apart, every drop of blood that is shed as a result of the actions of this administration - they must not be allowed to feign innocence. They must be held accountable. And yes, when they find themselves hurting, scared, shocked at the tables turning on them, I know we bleeding hearts will do what we always do - we will reach out a hand. I have complete faith in the better angels of our nature - even if those angels have to now stand back and watch cold, hard reality smack people in the face.
We will help two people, and perhaps they'll help two people, and so on and so on. A girl can dream, can't she?
Again, thank you to everyone who has come in to DGMS and granted me a portion of your time. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the dialogue, to share my words with you, and in turn to read the ones you have shared with me.
Words have power. And I have read every single one you have left here.