It’s filling our mouths—far past what we can take. We are choking up reactions, and carefully constructed bias, and scratching at each other, when we should be scratching for the too-elusive truths. It’s an election year.
With social media, comment-warring, adrenaline wasting, and clenched jaws, we take it too far. They, with their manipulative, divisive campaigns, take it too far. It’s fabricated, and we eat it.
This year, there is one abysmal difference. It’s the man behind the curtain, marauding as a truth-barfing vigilante. It’s the trumpeting bigotry and hurrah behind him, but also the mouths hanging in shock and naiveté. It’s the incessant pleading, and even demanding, “How is this happening!”
It has taken a man of disgust to court and woo and unveil our societal sickness…how apropos! He is, while laying waste to the softest parts of our hearts, and igniting us against one another, merely the agitator of a pile that’s long been smoldering.
He’s illuminating ageless problems, that are somehow even more invisible today, despite the fact that they are more talked about than ever before. The gloves are off, and he’s stoked the voiceless, who are just as astounded that NOBODY HAS BEEN PAYING ATTENTION before now.
If you read that last paragraph, and you have felt suffocated, or simply ignored, dismissed, or irrelevant until this chaos, you know what I am talking about. But the profound truth? That single paragraph will resonate for both the trumpeters AND those being violated by his campaign.
How has he done this? I believe his method is simple, and effective. He speaks the language of those who live in the shadow—the people who sometimes hold nasty secrets in their hearts, and who may or may not say nasty things with their mouths. He has stirred the deepest pools of the socially and politically incorrect, and lured them out of their hiding places.
In the wake of this, I am sick, but I am nodding, and I am squaring up, because thank you, finally, someone has gotten to the bottom for all of us. None of this is new; but it’s been too slippery to tackle. Our policies, our beliefs, and our fears have divided us. While some of us became comfortable, others have been irretrievably lost.
We turned away from each other, and built little camps where we do not mingle. The comfortable have led in concept, but not in action. The marginalized have noticed, and their soulfulness has starved, subsisting on crumbs of castigation.
This man has ahold of the part of all of us, that we can’t even begin to embrace or understand. With all the weapons we have, it is daunting that judgment is proving to be our most treacherous, on both sides. We sent the disillusioned away, and they went further than we’d intended. They turned their hardened backs to the sky, and then we have continued to belittle and blame them.
Now, they have a mascot. They are here, with cheers and cavalier bravado, smirking and assaulting people, and hoping to make a mess of the pretension. They want to see it break, and they want to scream into the sky, and they want to give back what we left them to carry long ago, and they don’t care because they have not been cared for.
All the fluffy insulation has been ripped away. The comfortable, the sheltered, and the blissfully unaware—not any more. While that, I believe, is overdue, I cannot find a word that encapsulates how bad it has been to see all the people of rich color, and diversity across all the planes of diversity, who are being slapped right across the face to deliver the message.
My broadly diverse loved ones have taught me about hiding in “normalized” suits, because that is safer, even if it makes them sick, or angry, or invisible, and about how there is nothing more terrifying than stepping into your truth here, in our country’s pretense of equality. No one deserves to live inside the looking glass, and I’m happy to see people free of that, but seeing our people, sitting in the midst of a mess of vigilante-hammered shards—that is making me want to rip out of my own skin. My comfortable, protective, white, heterosexual, boring, educated, middle class American skin.
“What would happen if he is elected?” I submit it would be ugly. I also submit that it would be amazing, because there is not much that shakes, or shames, this ambivalent, hopeless little country into activism. This man, already, has angered, and inspired the good-hearted like nothing I’ve witnessed. The rising tide of love is smashing right into the swarming hatred. Epic, and amazing things will be happening right alongside the devastation.
But first, we must stop arguing, and pointing our camera phones, and laughing at the disillusioned, the uneducated, the lost, the hateful, the hurting, and the mentally ill. We who have been marginalized must stop judging the educated, the kind, the well-resourced, and the comfortable. We must help those in the shards, to stand up, and protect a space that lets them stand tall, very tall, in their truths.
We must be willing to try to understand that which makes us feel uncomfortable; not agree with it—understand it—and respond properly, without trying to eradicate all that differs from us. We must keep our eyes on the shadows, fearlessly, and stroll in there to stir them vigorously, and often. We must keep our faces turned to the sky.
We must teach our children to be unafraid, and that there is true power in tolerance, and weak power in bigotry. We must model loving kindness, for it is gentle, and fierce—all at the same time! We must show up, and link arms, even when we want to run far, far away.
We must not, however, allow ourselves to foolishly tolerate people like Trump, who intend to acquire power, and lead us all into the ground. His hands are in our guts, and he is squeezing them. We won’t heal any time soon, but this is our world, and we need to know how to stand in it together. Nobody needs this man like we need each other.