A good friend posted the following “rant” – a misnomer because I find his words measured, thoughtful, and wise. He describes a seldom discussed problem that is central to what’s going on in our country, our culture: For all the talk of sensitivity to others, inclusiveness, of celebrating diversity, for all the microanalysis of how this or that word might be offensive to someone and thus must be avoided at all costs, we are in fact talking to and hearing each other far less than I can recall. Here’s how my friend put it:
I voted for Hillary. I feel and understand the sadness over the loss of this opportunity to have a woman president and role model for girls, and a president that is reasonably calm, experienced, and centrist and can control her words.
But, what also concerns me is how many friends say you now hate our country and are ashamed. Ashamed of those other “idiot white racists”. Even though Hillary got an actual numerical majority of the votes, you hate our country now? You hate people in those swing states?
Well, I wish we would stop name-calling and blaming others.
I read on several outlets that the switch in voting this time (only about 3%) was partly from the white working-class, who voted for OBAMA four and eight years ago. They are the racists now? McCain, Romney, and Hillary (all white) just couldn’t reach them. Plus, the “black vote” did not come out as big for Hillary this time as for Obama four years ago.
Or maybe, it was new racists that never voted before? Why didn’t they vote against Obama before? Trump brought them out? If so, it’s only a couple percent. A couple percent changes our country from wonderful and great (for electing Obama) to horrible and racist?
What’s the solution going forward?
We are gravely mistaken if we think we can just come out of our little urban bubble once every two years to vote. Voting is NOT sufficient.
Do you interact and have conversations with people on the other side? Do you work with, or play tennis with a Republican? Do you play music or chess with a Republican? If you do, do you shy away from discussing the important issues?
You can’t change people by calling them racists or misogynists. I don’t think they will be open to your ideas, if that is how you approach them.
This great country and government is OF and BY the people. We can’t change this country top-down, or very fast. It starts and ends with WE the PEOPLE. If we don’t want to talk and interact with (and be kind to) those “others” (–in the swing states especially), and gradually change their hearts ….we get what we deserve. We can’t just hide in our bubble and laugh or jeer at those “rednecks” from afar and expect anything to change.
So let’s get out there and do the hard work. Voting is not enough. …and who knows, maybe we’ll end up with a less-divided country, and you’ll find an unexpected friend or two along the way…