CTA: Renegade Mind
The recent election has brought out the best and worst of us. We are a nation of passionate people with different ideas; especially about constructing the kind of world we want to live in: very American. Unfortunately, we are also a nation divided by our ideals and beliefs and we have lost the ability to respect the "others" that hold counter-opinions: not a very American. The election has erupted sentiments of ridicule, contempt and violence among Americans on opposing political sides.
Some Democrats have painted an adversarial picture of the "Trump Supporter": He is a white male, probably with affiliations with the KKK, who hates gays, sexually disrespects women and wants to deport Muslims and Mexicans. Really?! Are all Trump Voters racist, xenophobic, pussy-grabbing conservatives? To accuse more than 60 million of our fellow Americans as adopting this ugly persona is not only inaccurate, but fosters a dangerous in-group/ out-group mentality.
Have we ever been so divided as a country? I could make a strong argument that Patrick Henry would be disappointed in our countries current state of affairs. I'm going to modernize and spin his famous phrase: "I may not agree with who you vote for, but I will defend to the death your right to vote!"
WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Women and Minorities have the right to vote for any candidate they choose! Voting is a right for everone to have a voice. It is a right that has been hard fought to win. It is a right that in 2016, not all people in the world have the privilege to exercise. There are very vocal statements by some Liberal Democrats about who Trump Supporters are and aren’t. If you are interested in traveling down a rabbit hole I dare you to: "Go ahead and Google it". Better yet, here's a couple of links to articles such as: "The quiet racism behind the female Trump voter"or "Why the Latino Vote Didn’t Save America". These articles suggest that a personal identity should also have an assigned political identity.
In the fervor of the election and the sting of defeat some members of the Liberal party have become what they fear and denounce: sexist and racist. Yep, I said it. As a woman and Latina, I find articles and statements about how I’m supposed to vote offensive. These statements try to define how women and minorities are supposed to think and act or else they are seen as traitors to their people. Really?! I mean, Really?! (This repeated statement is not a typo, It is meant to be read aloud with passion)This is tantamount to silencing all voices that don’t conform to the in-group set of ideals. My feminism and racial identity is self-defined. Your version works for you, mine works for me. No one is better than the other, and to think so is arrogant and ignorant. My self-identity is called into question if I don’t think or vote the way you say I should. This is free-thinking?! This is freedom?
But don’t worry about me. I can be offended without needing a "safe place". You see, I understand that this country is great because we can have different opinions and the freedom to express these ideas. At least that is a concept that I hope holds its ground and is not sacrificed by apologists scared of offending others in fear that they are labeled racist/bigot/sexist/xenophobe/hater/asshole and cast into the out-group.
I know what you’re going to ask, "What about the crazy fuckers that are using this election as a way to spread hate?" Those people, unfortunately, exist throughout history and in every political climate. Like any extreme zealot, they try to use scare and shock tactics to compensate for their lack of true influence and power. They do not represent the majority and we will deal with them together. They too have a right to free speech, but that is where it ends and their hateful behavior will not be tolerated in our communities. Remove the fear, remove their power.
Remember we all belong to the same in-group: Americans. If you didn’t vote for Trump, guess what? He’s still your president come January 20th because this is America and this is how we have agreed to govern ourselves for more than 200 years. What’s the good news? You have every right to express your discontent with his policies and express your disagreement and continue to vote to change what doesn’t work. That is what makes this country great. You can speak out without fear of incarceration or death. But to shun others for having opinions different from yours is petty and unproductive.
Let’s promote healthy discourse where we attempt to understand each other’s point of view. We may find that our differences make us stronger when we figure out how to live together despite them.
I guess in summary, I refuse to have a group of people tell me what my identity is, what my voice should say and what my vote should be! In case you were curious, I voted for Hillary. Not Trump. But I couldn’t handle people being attacked simply because they exercised their American given right to vote. We are going to need to work together in the next four years and that starts with love and respect for one another, no matter who is in the White House. For Our House is what matters!