I hadn't planned to blog again so soon, but for the past few days, I've been on Facebook more than I ever am. This is a weird, historic time that we're in and I'm valuing reading everyone's opinions. There are a lot of messages about hope, and frankly, that's incredible. Let us look forward to the future with the belief that it will be better.
I don't write today because of the hopeful ones. There's another type of post I've seen and it demands I put pen to ink in hopes that I can do something to change it. I feel as if I'm probably shouting into the void (which would arguably be the most fitting slogan for Facebook), but I don't think this is time to sit on the sidelines.
The type of post I'm seeing that makes me absolutely boil is the one that says "I'm tired of being judged for voting Republican." I saw two of them just yesterday and they weren't just Facebook statuses, but full blog posts. The premise is rather simple. The writers of these posts believe that people are silencing them from rejoicing about their Republican vote. They believe, in some way, that there is an oppression happening and that it's unfair.
They voted Republican and they demand that you know that it's not because they're racist, sexist or any other type of -ist or -phobic that's typically being associated with leaning that way right now. I think it's important that we believe them. I think, in a divided time, that we have the obligation to trust them that there was no evil in their hearts when they cast their ballot that day.
But, and yes, there is a big but, that doesn't make me any less upset about their blog posts. There's the whole "I don't agree with what you're saying, but I'll die for your right to say it" thing, but the lovely thing about freedom of speech is that it's not the same thing as freedom from consequence.
The consequence, here, is that writing about not wanting to be judged, silenced, or oppressed because you voted a certain way puts your privilege like a stamp on your forehead. I read a post, again by a probably incredibly well-meaning young woman, where she argued that both candidates struggled with character so she had to vote on the issues, however you want to define that.
This person could vote for whichever party she wanted because neither party was attacking her. Do you know who didn't get to just put character aside when they cast their ballots that day? Muslim Americans. Latino Americans. The LGBTQ+ community. Immigrants. Potentially even women.
These are not all of the people groups who struggled with this election and struggle even more with the outcome, and I wouldn't argue that everyone person defined by those characteristics even voted against Trump. Some probably voted for him and I think it'd be wonderful to hear why, exactly.
Again, this is not about who you voted for. And again, this it not an accusation that anyone who voted Republican is any of those -ists or -phobics.
What it is an accusation of, and I pray that you hear this clearly, is of privilege and lack of empathy.
The man these people voted for campaigned specifically on a platform of all of those -ists and -phobics that these people are so quick to distance themselves from. I will accept no argument on this point. There were other issues, sure, that were mentioned, but it doesn't even take a skilled hand at Googling to find examples of racism, sexism, even mocking of the disabled, from the campaign trail.
All of these things had to be ignored in order to vote Republican and that is an action for only someone in a place of privilege.
I am willing to grant you, again, that you are not racist, sexist, homophobic, or any of those other many things, but you need to own that when you cast your ballot, you didn't just not condemn those things, you didn't just say those things were okay, you agreed that those traits can be active qualities of the leader of our country.
And our leader reflects who we are, for better and for worse.
Now at this point, maybe you're feeling attacked. That was the whole point of your blog posts, right, was that you felt attacked for believing and being what you are? You felt oppressed, silenced, marginalized.
I empathize. I really do. It can't be a good feeling, believing that people don't respect who you voted for, what you voted for, who you are.
Maybe there are a few other groups of people who understand what that's like.