I have had to sit with this for a while... almost a week, now. There are quite a few people I love who supported the election of Trump, so I am hesitant to post my view on facebook. My views, though, honestly, are not really aggressive and are constructed to be as far from judgemental as possible. But because I hate confrontation, and I hope for a peaceful future, I am going to post my views here... that way, if people want to know what I'm thinking, they can look for my perspective, rather than being blasted by it on facebook.
It has been a rough few days. I have been holding back from expressing my opinion on this election because I have had to take some time to truly consider what I needed to say. I pondered simply clicking “like” on tons of articles I can appreciate, but I feel this will not suffice. I know I did not speak out enough when I should have, and for this I am ashamed. I do not like conflict, so I kept my mouth closed. I should have expressed my fear and sadness prior to this moment, and I intend to learn from this mistake. Because I know it was wrong of me to stay silent, I am going to take a (long) moment to establish my opinion during this time of conflict.
I am incredibly disheartened right now, and I am truly scared for the future of our nation. Don’t get me wrong, I would have my qualms no matter who was elected on November 8th—both candidates had their flaws—but, in my opinion, the direction we have decided to take is far worse than the other option we were afforded.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a fallacy. Words are profoundly powerful tools. Yes, I have written a few books and am in a counseling education program, so my priorities might not align yours: words are my life… but aren’t they everyone’s? Picking the right word and the correct phrasing is critical in every facet of our existence. As employees, leaders, children, parents, partners, lovers, and friends: our words have consequences; the manner in which we speak and the words we make the decision to use, affect others.
These words can brighten and strengthen a bond, or they can tear someone apart and destroy a relationship. No one knows this better than I do. Every day I am forced to recall that one’s words can lead to the crumbling of life-long relationships… and now the man who was elected to represent my country uses hateful and shameful words with callous disregard. Of course I am going to be emotional! It is my duty to feel sadness and recognize the pain his words have caused men, women, and children alike. It is my responsibility to be offended for anyone in my American family who feels they have been assaulted by someone’s words. I have been assaulted by words, too, and I have felt abandoned when so few stood by my side to declare their disdain for them.
We have just provided a man whose language is too inappropriate for our children to use, and whose rhetoric is abhorrent, with the highest form of positive reinforcement. Tell me, if your partner called you a “nasty” man or woman, would you sleep in the same bed as them that night? Absolutely not. Then why are we okay with our future president saying it? Even altering the rhetoric, and saying that someone has done something nasty, as opposed to being nasty, is still horrendous (If I were to deconstruct every comment I find appalling I would never leave my computer, so I am going to leave it at that). By electing this man we have not only told him that it is okay to treat others in ghastly ways, we have told our children and our peers that we think it is okay to speak to someone in this manner—because they are “speaking their mind”. Much of what he has said has not been okay. It might make someone laugh in the moment, but he is not a comedian. He was not looking to win the award for “most outspoken, callous, and inappropriate American” and he was not on a reality television show hoping to rack up as many viewers as possible… this was reality… and he was asking to be our President. A position that we cannot fill with someone who will take their communicative responsibilities lightly.
Maturity, to me, means knowing when and where it is appropriate to be immature. It means filtering yourself, and not reacting or behaving impulsively. It means considering the consequences of your words before you speak, and actions before you act. The hope that adults are capable of maturity, and even some incredible teenagers, is reasonable. The expectation that my president is capable of maturity should not have to be expressed.
I am going to spend the next four years being even more conscious of my language. It is critical that no matter which side of this polarized nation you believe you are on, we need to take every care to exemplify and illustrate our love and acceptance of one another. I truly believe that this election will birth another generation of hippies, and I am so okay with this. We need to set a social precedent: we are a people that embrace difference, uniqueness, individuality, love, respect, and acceptance. We need to watch what we say and how we say it. We need to be the most PC we have ever been. We need to be kind and polite. We need to be respectful.
If you are disgruntled and disapprove of this election, please continue to speak up about it. That is the country we live in, this is a principle we were founded on: Free Speech. But even free speech has its limits: take care to recognize this. If you want to express your frustration, do so from a respectful and kind perspective. Set an example for our future generations… set an example for our future leaders. There is a way to disagree that does not involve bashing or berating – and it is, now more than ever, crucial that we exemplify a tolerant and cooperative way of communicating with our peers – those we perceive as our friends AND foes.
I do not preach a political opinion because I simply do not know enough about politics. I do know about words, though. I know feelings, and I live with empathy. I hope our future president can learn to sensor himself, can come to express his perspectives and opinions more appropriately. He is not just representing himself, and he is no longer representing a single party, he is supposed to represent all of US… in a positive light. I hope he can do that. I hope he makes an effort to communicate in a manner that I can appreciate. I dream of future elections that are not so intolerant, aggressive, and polarizing… I hope we can all learn to embrace the fact that life and society exist upon diverse spectrums. And if hateful rhetoric and behaviors continue, I hope I am strong enough to illustrate my dissatisfaction in a constructive way.
On another note... Incompatible and Ineffable will be available for free Friday November 25th-27th! Happy Thanksgiving :)
I love John Oliver...