“Your guy won,” a friend of mine commented to me on social media yesterday meaning Donald Trump.
“My girl lost in the primaries,” I replied.
In truth, I know dozens of people who happily voted for Trump. They didn’t have to hold their noses and choose the lesser of two evils, they chose him over Mrs Clinton. People I love and respect.
You’d never know it from most of them. They’ve never said or posted it publicly it publicly that I’ve ever seen or heard. Those few who did were punished with ostracism and mocking and the rest quickly determined that it wasn’t worth it to be honest with the world about how they felt, because the world very loudly declared that it didn’t care.
This is a group of people who has spent the last eight years learning to sit down and shut up, so being silent a little longer wasn’t that hard to do. They had learned to wait, and so they continued waiting. They had seen the President of the United States of America, a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and praised for what a general good guy he is, literally use the might and power of the Federal Government through the Judiciary to punish the Little Sisters of the Poor for being Catholic.
The faithful religious people I know wept in fear in 2012 because of the persecution being done to them in the name of contraception for everyone, and none of their neighbors stood up to protect them. In fact, their liberal friends declared the court cases to be justified and the religious people to be uneducated and backwards, deserving of what they got.
And so we learned to fear. We learned to fear our government and to be afraid of what we said in front of friends and neighbors, carefully couching our opinions in ways that would at least appear to sound socially acceptable. We hid in plain sight because it was safer that way.
Four years later, and I hear the same fear being voiced from the other side of the political spectrum. People who fear a President with no boundaries will once again use the power of the Federal Government to oppress the people who oppose his ideology. Except this time its the people who are used to being in charge who are afraid, the people who haven’t learned about the blunt hammer of political correctness or how it feels to be told “Elections have consequences. I won.”
For the first time in eight years, they are learning how it feels to fear the boogeyman in the White House, and they are taking to the streets in protests and riots. The Conservatives, who have lived in that fear for years, downplay their concerns and tell them to “grow up” and “learn to accept that they lost.” They have become so numb to oppression that they have little sympathy for it in anyone else.
And the only ones who win seem to be the media who gleefully report on the fires and destruction.
Our country is split neatly into two halves who actively hate and distrust each other. Two halves who have been trained to see each other as too dumb to matter, too wrong-thinking to count. Which has me wondering where that came from before the media fanned the flames of discord, and who benefits when we all hate each other too much to help our neighbors in their distress? If we’re so busy warily watching each other, what is it we’re not seeing?
Photo credit: By murplej@ne [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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