Let’s Reclaim Our Humanity Through Stories

In Grasping for Humanity in Trump’s America, I wrote about the challenges faced on the right as a result of being dehumanized by the left and mainstream media. Being dehumanized is very dangerous and is something I think conservatives need to take seriously and try to counteract. As I’ve said before, I’m an artist. I’m a writer. I’m a citizen and a mother. I’m not a political pundit or even an activist. I don’t want to write about politics. Even so, I feel we writers and artists need to do something, if not to defend or humanize our president then to defend and humanize ourselves. We need to make ourselves more personal and accessible — more human — to people who see us only as the labels they assign us.

The best way to do this is through community involvement and storytelling. Anyone who has time or ability to get involved in their community should make it a priority now as much or more than ever. But anyone with artistic expression should see their talents not merely for entertainment and inspiration but also as tools to share our stories, ideas, values and dreams to help make us human again to those who wish to demonize us for our political stances.

We conservatives need to reclaim our humanity. It is being stolen from us by the biased, labeling, mainstream media who refuse to see conservatives as unique individuals with complex political interests, because insulting a group is easier than finding out the truth and it makes more money in outrage clicks from their fan base.

The only way to do this is by speaking up; telling our stories. The left is fighting daily, in coordinated attacks, to dehumanize conservatives. Labeling all conservatives Nazis, labeling Trump Hitler, calling him a monster, defining all who voted for Trump as racists, and bigots.

As I’ve said before in Why The Political Right Needs To Get Creative & Support More Artists — NOW, the right needs to increase our influence in society. We do this by connecting with others, by getting into their hearts and minds. We do this by appealing to their nobler nature through the arts, philosophy. We do this by influencing culture from the ground up. We do this by telling stories.

We don’t need to do this for political influence, or power. We need this to save ourselves from the demonizing power of the leftist narrative against us.

Suggested Art Projects

Photojournalism

I’d love to see an art project like “Humans of New York” to tell the stories of conservatives in their own words with compelling, artful pictures. Call it “Humans of Trump’s America.” For Humans of Trump’s America the premise can be the same as Humans of New York but instead of New Yorkers show Americans who voted for Trump. Use a candid photo, and their own words to tell a personal story. It could be about anything: why they voted for Trump, what they love about our country, a bit of their history, what their hobbies are, their hopes or anything personal at all. Perhaps losing a job, having a baby, volunteering, getting married. The Humans of New York page made the anonymous strangers that fill the streets of New York more personal. It shared their stories, their pains and hopes in a compassionate and intimate way that we could all relate or empathize with. The media continue to show only the worst of the worst. We need to take it upon ourselves to show our best, our average, our real and our personal so that others can find some common ground to connect with us and see us as humans again.

Personal Essays

I’d love to see more personal stories told through essays, stories and interviews. In the days following the election we saw stories of other Trump voters who shared our perspectives. After being intimidated into silence for so long it was liberating to read these stories. But the stories are getting harder to find. The press is pushing a narrative that most voters regret their votes. Not a single voter I know regrets his or her vote. Not one. In fact, most I know feel more confident that no one but Trump could sustain the kinds of attacks he’s faced and still push forward.

Creative NonFiction

A great new book called Hillbilly Elegy was recently published- it tells the story of disaffected, white, working-class Americans. It is well-written and compelling, telling the stories of people we don’t see portrayed in the mass media. We need more books like this, describing more perspectives across racial divides and class barriers.

Jack Murphy is presently working on a book that will describe another cross section of Trump’s America — Democrat to Deplorable. His book, based on surveys and personal interviews taken after the election will tell the bigger picture of why Trump won, why the silent majority spoke out through their votes and why the culture in the US is shifting. This greater story will be illustrated with personal stories of the voters he interviewed, coming from a variety of backgrounds.

Short Stories and Novels

Connect with readers by telling the stories of conservatives through fiction. Through stories the reader can identify with characters who are not the same as they are. Through this safe distance they can see the world through someone’s eyes. Toni Morrison is one of my very favorite writers. I have read every book she’s written more than once. Through her words she was able to transport me into worlds I had never experienced myself. It gave me an appreciation for how different our experiences could be while also connecting me with characters who had the same hopes, dreams, wants, fears and even humor as me. Fiction can introduce us to different worlds but it also can introduce us to different people. Like I said above, I’m interested in people. I want more stories about people. Stories about conservatives are startlingly absent in the creative sphere.

Movies, Music, Poetry, Theater, etc.

The list goes on. There are many ways we can use our voices and creativity to share who we are and what we believe in. Too many of the talking heads in conservative sphere are larger than life personalities who border on or are fully committed to obnoxious commentary. Even the women, like Tomi Lahren, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham come across as snarky and humorless. It’s hard to connect with someone who is talking down to you. It’s also hard to connect when the commentary turns into a battle over facts.

We may be using facts to support our points but the reasons we have our points is because of people. We want what is best for the people of this country. I truly believe both sides of the political coin want what they believe is best for the people of this country, but what they see as the best is vastly different, informed by different ideologies, experiences and goals. But if we can’t see each other as people, we are doomed to violence and insults. Without respect, communication will deteriorate. Without our stories, we will drift farther and farther apart.