The Range of Emotions Evoked by the Current Political Climate
I’ve become quite the “meme”head, “memiac,” “meme-ster,” ya know, a regular member of the “meme mafia.” As the political climate rises this election season, though, I find myself bombarded by emotions, and these memes have evoked so many different emotions that at times, I find myself more escalated and angrier than is probably healthy. And this self-analysis is coming from a special educator, someone with extensive experience and practice in deescalation techniques who teaches emotional regulation to middle school students (and their teachers!). The following range of emotions hits me, wallops me, and throws me against the wall each time I see a news clip during this unending, exceedingly long election campaign.
I am surprised.
I am surprised by the a corporate media and the minimal coverage that in the Democratic race for President and the amount of coverage that is given to a xenophobic demagogue on the Republican side. As of December 2015, Trump had dominated the mainstream media, and has garnered 23 times more time in the media than Bernie Sanders, both nominees have roughly the same amount of popular support (this based on the mainstream media’s polls).
I am appalled by the response to Trump’s campaign by my some of my friends, family and acquaintances. Trump’s negativity has infiltrated and consumed them, and they now quote him when convenient and ignore details they don’t like about Trump, whether it’s his views on allowing Muslims to live in America, “illegals” and a stupid wall that has already been tried and failed, making fun of people with disabilities, or permitting roughing up of non-violent protesters at a rally. “He speaks his mind” and “he’s not afraid to do something” are among the popular sentiments of these folks. My own father, the man who taught me right from wrong, showed me what integrity is, and cares deeply for his friends and family is a *gasp* Trump supporter. How is it that he can support a man who has disrespected so many different groups of people and continues to do so?
I am embarrassed.
I am embarrassed by my fellow countrymen and countrywomen who refuse to stand up for the person who is being discriminated against. There is a Trump vs. Bernie meme that I made myself, fashioned from one that my dad had shared supporting Trump. It was a picture of Bernie Sanders being arrested during a civil rights protest. Civil rights are rights deserved by all. Why is everyBODY in America not assured basic civil rights? How long have we been doing this?
I am embarrassed when I read what Europeans and other people all over the world are saying about the leaders of our country. Did you hear in England how their Prime Minister assured his constituents that ‘“there is no problem with the size of his hands or anything else?” No you didn’t, because world leaders don’t share that information typically on the campaign trail.
I am nervous.
I am nervous that Trump will win. Will other countries in the world bomb the shit out of us? I am nervous because of the energy that Trump is stirring up. I am nervous about the authorities ignoring Trump’s rhetoric toward minorities, and that there may be a revolt, a revolt even bigger than Fergeson Missourri. Will there be punching and kicking? How about looting? What follows next are the military tanks and the tear gas.
Minorities and others who don’t support Trump and his toxic rhetoric have been exercising their right to peaceful protest at his rallies, and the police won’t even protect them when they are sucker-punched? Or kicked? The threshold for what any person can take and remain calm is only so much, and if a person is provoked over and over (think more than 200 years of institutionalized and systematic racism), how can we expect anyone to react any differently if there is a perceived threat?
But. I am hopeful.
I am hopeful that there are enough anti-Trump people in America to prevent Trump from becoming our next president. I am hopeful when I see former students in the rural Midwest pass along meme from the Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash that I have already shared (or would have shared had I seen it first). I am hopeful when I see young people taking ownership in the political process. I am hopeful when I hear all people talking about the issues: at least the issues are being talked about and not swept under a rug. I am hopeful about racial inequality becoming a thing of the past. I will not sit idly by and let my American sisters and brothers be treated disrespectfully. I will not be quiet if I think a voice needs to be heard. It may very well be through a meme. So. Maybe I can make it through this election year.