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Getting Over It & Getting On With It

On citizenship, discipleship, & refusing to be gaslit.
Jan. 18, 2017
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"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." – Martin Luther King Jr.

I know I promised some of my family & friends that I'd stay away from political essays for a while. But since the election I've been deeply discouraged by most, if not all of what I've seen from winners and losers alike, and with Inauguration Day almost upon us, once again I need to get a few things off my chest. For what it's worth, in the end most of what follows isn't really about politics anyway--more properly, it's about humanity...

First I'd like to apologize for the fact that some of what follows may sound like a rant... which in fairness, it may well be. Like most folks I struggle with righteous indignation that isn't 1% righteousness and 99% indignation. All too frequently I set out to condemn what I believe are wrongs, only to end up condemning the human beings committing them instead--people who more often than not are doing so unconsciously, as do I far too often. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world. Suffering and injustice are all too real and righteous indignation is often called for, even from the likes of us. I value and respect every one of my friends and loved ones who voted differently than I did, and I have no desire to offend anyone. But I would be remiss if I didn't take my best shot at righteous indignation, and call it the way I see it. If/when I fall short of the righteous part of that, or leave anyone feeling like they've been personally attacked, please know that wasn't my intent. On that note I'll get on with it.

Let me begin with some thoughts for my friends and loved ones who supported Donald Trump...

As you probably know, I and a lot of other folks who didn't support him were pretty discouraged by the outcome. We're more than disappointed--we're genuinely frightened for our nation and the world. While that may seem unwarranted to many of you, and perhaps even ridiculous, to us it's very real. We're losing sleep over it, and not because we have different hopes for our nation and our children than you. Other than the Klu Klux Klan and other white supremacists, I'm not aware of anyone who sees Trump as the embodiment of their vision for America and didn't feel forced into accepting some necessary evils with their vote. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but most of us who didn't support him did the same thing. We too felt forced into accepting some necessary evils--not the least of which was signing up for yet more of a status quo we didn't want any more than you did.

But make no mistake people... like it or not, that is in fact what each of us did. We went to the polls and knowingly signed up for a set of "lesser" evils, and with them whatever collateral damage would inevitably result if our candidate won the day. Whether that happened or not we are responsible for that choice, and in our hearts we know it. So it was my hope that in the aftermath Trump supporters would be working together with the rest of us, not only to assuage our fears of losing our commonly-held hopes but to mitigate those lesser evils. Indeed, given that yours was the set that prevailed, I expected you to be leading the charge. A few of you did exactly that, and you guys are my heroes... Thank you!

But the rest of you...? Since Election Day what I've received more than anything else from your camp has been either silence, or 120 decibel gloating. I've been pelted with enough Facebook memes calling folks like me "whiners" and "poor sports" to last a lifetime. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't share links to obviously made-up anti-Hillary rumors from documented fake news websites (e.g. "InfoWars," "EndingTheFed," "100PercentFedUp," and more) including many based in Russia and Eastern Europe, and a few that even go so far as to openly advertise themselves as satire sites (Emery, 2016; Silverman and Alexander, 2016; Townsend, 2016; Zimdars, 2016; Wikipedia, 2016; 2016b; 2016c). I can count on one hand the number of these "news" stories that took more than 60 seconds to debunk from multiple independent sources, yet none of this appears to have dampened enthusiasm for them even slightly. Most had been shared thousands of times, and some even hundreds of thousands. Incredible as it may seem, I've actually seen a few folks go so far as to defiantly deny any undue Russian influence on the election, and without missing a beat turn right around and share links to Russia Today--the primary disinformation and propaganda apparatus of the Putin Government (Wikipedia, 2016c; ODNI, 2017)! [More on this in later essays.] It would seem that a great many in your camp value rage-gasms more than the knowledge that they aren't bearing false witness against their neighbor.

When I've dared to voice my concern about any of this, the response I received more than any other was... "Get over it...!"

Just to be clear, this isn't directed at all of you, and to be fair there's more than a little truth in some of those accusations. As I pointed out in my last, there's been no shortage of condescending elitism from many on my side of the fence, and don't even get me started about all the rioters and window-smashers--many of whom it turns out, didn't even bother to vote because they didn't get the nominee they wanted, as though throwing a tantrum is more justifiable than being a responsible citizen and supporting whatever one believes to be the best outcome possible.


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