I have been a life long soldier in the fight to find common ground, subconsciously trudging in other’s boots, or attempting to drive through the bends and breaks in the road that led them where they are today before I make judgement. But I am struggling ya’ll. My heart feels flipped inside out over what has occurred in our country over the past week.
By Wednesday afternoon I was such a mess I decided I had to just give in to what ever this was that had a hold on me. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…anger? confusion? sadness? Because of my extensive experience with loss, I eventually recognized the feeling to be grief. I actually laughed at the thought that what I was feeling was grief. I mean how dramatic. But after awhile, I couldn’t deny that familiar sadness in my gut I know to exist when I have lost someone or something I love. I gave myself a pass to just feel whatever the fuck I was feeling on Wednesday, and knew that the following day I’d pull myself up by the bootstraps and carry on.
That plan didn’t play out the way I had imagined. I sit here almost a week later, heart still hurting, fear still lingering.
I heard a radio dj say the morning after the election that because he is not a female, and because he is not a minority, and because he is not a member of the LGBT community he is ok with the decision. He feels ok about it because it doesn’t directly effect him. He said this while sitting next to his partner of the morning radio show who is female and gay. They have worked together on this show for years and often talk about how much they value each other. I felt such a pain in my heart when I heard him say that.
He was sitting right next to a person that he claims to love and said what happens to her has no bearing on his life. If she has to live in a world where she doesn’t have control of her body, if it is ok for it to be used as an object only for the pleasure of another person, even without her consent, that’s ok with him because, hey, it’s not me. If her life is uprooted because her marriage, the family she has built with her wife and son is ripped out from underneath her then that’s just fine, because it isn’t his wife and kid.
When did we become such a calloused culture?
If I heard about a car salesman who will get me the best deal I could imagine, who orchestrated a financial success story with his bare hands, but was a man that bragged about sexually assaulting women and openly expressed racist, homophobic, xenophobic views, I would not go to that man to buy a new car. I don’t care how much money he could save me. I would not say yeah he’s a horrible human being but I mean, he’s a great business man so I choose him. I can’t sacrifice my values for a dollar.
It comes down to being honest.
Trump has claimed he wants to “fix” the broken mental health system. He preaches that in his first 100 days, he will create a plan to put more services in place to treat those with severe mental illness. He scapegoats a population of people to ignore the real issues behind gun violence in this country. He promises he’ll create programs to address the cracks in the system, but he refuses to admit that the Obama administration has already made significant strides in this area. Systems that help identify higher risk individuals and connect them to services like care management (what I do!), so they have someone to reach out to for help when issues like housing, connecting to doctors and therapists, or barriers in the way of accomplishing their goals arise.
If Trump repeals what has now become known as Obamacare, he is cutting the kind of services he is promising to create. Trump’s stance on government’s role is loud and clear…the smaller the better. So if government is to no longer have the funding necessary to create programs to help our most vulnerable populations, who will? The private sector? I don’t think so. There isn’t much profit in giving of oneself. The agencies that do the best work are non-for-profit for a reason. Money cannot be a motivator. Because the cash flows heaviest when playing off of people’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, not in the effort to help repair them. This election has re-taught us that lesson.
Trump preaches about using his financial genius to change governmental practices that he himself took full advantage of. What in the hell makes someone think that his priority is going to be closing those loop holes that have allowed him to support the kind of life he has grown accustomed to living. I hear people ask well who wouldn’t take advantage? A lot of people. A lot of hard working, compassionate people with a conscious, that’s who.
It comes down to character.
I have worked in the mental health field for the last decade. I have helped a lot of people go through the motions of applying for and being awarded social security disability benefits. “These people” are often referred to as leeches sucking on the tit of society with their free money and all. Through the process of helping those that geniuenly need it, I know that a person can create a paper trail and manipulate the system. It happens. So then am I entitled to use that knowledge to get a check in my hand every month? No. Why? Because it’s dishonest. Because it’s bad character. Because it would take away from someone else that really could use a break. The only different between taking advantage of the loop holes in the government welfare systems and taking advantage of the loop holes in the government tax systems is one is justified as smart and the other as fraud, manipulation, wrong doing, even criminal – as both really are.
As overcome as I am about the election results, I am just as much or more saddened by the assumption that I am accusing all Trump supporters of being racist or vile individuals. Those people do exist, and some have even just recently been revealed to me, but that doesn’t mean I am slapping a label on every person I know that voted for him. Part of my confusion and unrest is due to knowing the hearts of people that support him — tender, caring, intelligent hearts that have never consciously hurt another person. Hearts that go out of their way to defend others and help build people up.
I’m confused and fearful that these same people are now defending principles that go against their own actions, but rationalizing it because it’s the kind of “change” we need to make America great again. Women that would never tolerate their children talking the way Trump does, that lead by example when teaching lessons of love, acceptance and equality are rationalizing his message based on saving a dollar. I don’t assume these people’s hearts are now jaded and ruthless. It’s because I know this about them that I am still walking around stunned that they would choose to put a man of Trumps character in a position of power, and continue to defend him until red in the face.
It’s about the message we are sending.
My daughter was particularly interested in this election because she heard so many adults talking about it. She is an inquisitive child and asked many questions, including who are you voting for Mommy and why. I was gentle with my convictions and only spoke of reasons I chose not to vote for Trump based on ideas that I could back up. I didn’t tell my daughter that I think Trump is a self absorbed pig, instead I revealed to her his stated beliefs that women should not be in control of their own bodies, that he believes that because of money and power, he has the right to take advantage of women. That he makes broad, dangerous assumptions that certain groups of people are dangerous because of their skin color or where they come from. That he believes he can “fix” this country because he is a business man despite his numerous failures to run a business successfully, and manipulated many people on his rise to the top.
My daughter is an old, quite reasonable soul. So when she woke up on Wednesday morning and asked me who won, and I had to look her in the eyes and say Trump, I could see the confusion fall over her. I could sense the message sent to her that she was trying to process. She was bummed that she didn’t get to celebrate the first woman elected president but more so, she was confused that people would choose a man that went against the values that her mother has instilled in her since they day the chord was cut.
It comes down to personal responsibility.
I don’t believe that it was Trump’s intention to open Pandora’s box and permit citizens of this country to draw lines in their dorm rooms separating space based soley on the color of their roommates skin. I don’t believe he asked that guy driving his truck down Broadway in Saratoga Springs to attach a large Nazi flag to his truck and wave it proudly, nor did he ask people to intimidate others to the point that a woman would shy away from holding her girlfriend’s hand in public for fear of the reaction of others. But that is exactly what has happened.
Personal responsibility is something I preach on the daily and I don’t fault Trump for these and many other people’s disgusting reactions; however, he chose to send a message of entitlement through out his campaign that initiated this. He is responsible for opening the lid and permitting people to feel justified in spilling their hateful speech whenever and where ever they choose, because that is the example he set.
And this is the part where my bleeding heart explodes…
You can go ahead and call me a delusional bleeding heart, illogical elitist, libtard or any other derogatory language you choose to describe someone with conviction for the better of we, not just I. In fact, please do. I have zero fucks to give if I am viewed as a woman who doesn’t understand the reality of ‘everyone for himself.’ It is 20-fricken-16…don’t bring blatant hate to my front door and tell me you’re just calling it like you see it. No, sir. Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow.
I was born a fighter. I had to come out swingin’ to survive the shit shows I’ve lived through. I know the only way to get through a storm is to stand right in the middle of it. So I will plant my feet, and hold the fuck on with the rest of my army. And I will continue to reach out my hand to any one that is feeling like they have no fight left in them right now. As a Woman, a Mother, an American, as a fucking Human Being I will continue working to break dysfunctional, generational cycles that use fear to fuel change. No one person holds any higher value than anyone else. Once that can be agreed upon, then maybe we can start meeting each other half way.
6 thoughts on “My bleeding heart finally exploded.”
Grief is so much the right word. I have not quit sobbing. I know that I will make it out, but right now I am pulling back into myself. Shutting down, cut my hair, bought a different bra, baggy clothes. I will stay here until I feel safe enough to come back out. For the first time in my life, I feel sorry that I had girls.. I know I will not stay here because I know this journey from making it more than once. For right now, this is where I need to be. Thank you for your posts.
Do whatcha have to do Momma. I just keep reminding myself that I am raising my kids, not anyone else. Intolerance is not an option in my home, or within ear shot. That lesson has always and will continue to be in the top three…right along with be a kind person and always trust your gut. We’ll get through this!
I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and I understand your fears. I voted for Hillary but I came very, very, very close to voting for Trump. I woke up the day after I mailed in my ballot and regretted my choice, then flip flopped again and again. Trump didn’t win this election because of voters on the far right. He won because of all of us in the middle. I hope it’s ok to share my thoughts with you to give you a different perspective because I respect you and respect what you’ve written.
During the whole election process, I listened to people on both sides of every issue. I wrestled with how my vote could affect my family in law enforcement and the military, my Hispanic family members, my black friends, my gay friends and (selfishly, perhaps) how it would affect my small business and my ability to sustain it. I worried about healthcare and thought of my friends who were fortunate enough to have abortions in medical facilities instead of back alleys. I thought about my late sister who suffered from schizophrenia and how my vote could affect people with illnesses like hers. I weighed thoughts about our economy, our relationship with the world and climate change.
I listened to immigrants and people of color who said they were going to vote for Trump so that I could try to understand why because it sounded so crazy. Sometimes I understood and sometimes I didn’t but I heard them. I listened to my friends’ concerns about Trump and tried to understand why they felt Hillary was the obvious choice. Sometimes I understood and sometimes I didn’t but I heard them.
Me and an lot of people in the middle felt like neither candidate spoke for us. I may have voted for Clinton but I stand behind Trump as our president. It wasn’t easy to explain to my children why I voted for Clinton even though I disagreed with so many of her policies and the type of government she stands for. My friends on the far left think it’s a given that she stands for everything good and any opinion that differs means that you’re going against human rights and decency and support hate. That confuses me as much as Trump confuses you.
This isn’t about rationalizing anything. I can think Trump is an asshole and hate Clinton’s policies at the same time. I can be highly critical of some of his policies and support others. This is not as black and white as people are making it and as long as people stand firmly on one side or the other, those of us in the middle will continue to be unheard. That’s a shame because we stand in the middle ground and this is the only place where we will be brought together as a country.
Karen, you are always welcomed to share your thoughts with me. I wish you and I could have this conversation over coffee, because I feel like you are someone that I WANT to talk to about all this. I feel like you can help me relate to “the other side,” for a lack of better terms. I realize that part of the problem is people are choosing to pick a side, and refusing to look in any other direction. I’m trying to resist that but it is hard for me. At his core, Trump is a person that disgusts me. I feel like he and the people that he is choosing to help him run and represent this country scare the shit out of me. They have dangerous agendas. They ignore science. They see no divide in church and state. They think social issue rights are nothing but political correctness getting in the way of “calling it like they see it” when people like you and I know no one knows anything about a another person just by looking at them. I’m not a “He’s not my president” kind of person but I see nothing good coming in the next four yrs, in any direction…the economy, healthcare, education, women’s rights, social welfare. I only see us going backwards. Like waaaaay the fuck back. lol No matter who has been president in my adult life, I have worked in the trenches for social justice and change. I’ll just keep hanging out here, doin’ what I do…maybe up my kindness level so I don’t miss the added layer of intolerance in the air. ❤
My vote for Hillary was an emotional one, not as much a policy one and I think that’s ok. I think we should get emotional over this, we should hash it out, we should take stands and bend a little when we need to. My little brother, who in my judgement, doesn’t usually bend very much said something really inspiring. He said, “Somebody smarter than me pointed out Trump probably is the worst person ever elected but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the worst president. I hold onto the belief that our country has historically been more defined by our people than our leaders. I hope that proves to be true.” I hope it proves to be true too because we have the tendency in this country to put our leaders on a pedestal and give them too much power. We forget that our cities and states have tremendous power and that we can get involved on the local level (doing the kind of work you and others do!). I’m glad to know you and I’m glad to know that there are people like you in the trenches. Thank you for hearing me and I’d love to have that cup of coffee with you too someday! ❤
I think the entire world is inside this Pandora’s box. There’s got to be a reason for what’s going on. I think it’s a shift. A shift in humanity… like we have to hit rock bottom and completely burned before we can rise from the ashes