Social Media, during political strife is never a "fun" or easy place to be. Raise your hand if you're having some trouble greeting Facebook every morning like I am. Cozying up to right wing relatives and all those friendly acquaintances you grew up with knowing full and well they stand on opposing sides of the current views of where this country should be headed. And right before the holidays to make it even trickier. Sure, it's a juvenile idea to believe anyone who differs on party ties isn't worthy of our friendship, but why then do so many of us feel that way since waking up to Tuesday's results?
Because this year is different. We keep repeating it but it doesn't seem to register where it counts. Because for God's sake it wasn't John McCain vs. Barack Obama and it was even John Kerry vs. George Bush. (During that election, for example - at least during his first term - I understood why he was attractive to his party. As a fun loving, handsome Old Texan boy who came across as someone you could toss the ball around with or hang at a barstool next to. He was funny and even, dare I say, "likable.")- Which is not to say that I don't understand the allure behind Trump. I get that the greater majority of this country is throwing darts in the face of big government intrusions as well as seeking to shake things up in electing an outside business tycoon with no previous political experience. I even get that Hilary was a cold hard pill to swallow and for many, came attached with too much baggage to ever accept or embrace.
Let me also say that we are seeing now where we slipped up and got lazy. Assuming the left would carry us home simply because we feel we're the only party marching on the "right side" of history as Bill Maher just recently proclaimed. But we weren't doing the groundwork. And we failed to see the warning signs. The Clinton campaign was chalk full or errors and the media failed to ever expose or highlight them they way they should have. But in these in reflections, confessions and mistakes, those on the left are still not quite willing to bow down to a man who leans so heavy on alienating the underdog and powering up plain hate. Who's first move (floating fresh on the waves of half a population's very vocal disgust) picks someone like Steve Bannnon as his chief strategist in an administration already plagued by racist under / overtones.
So the question now is how we move forward. In our everyday life, as women, gays and minorities feeling bruised and mentally battered on the social and political sidelines. Good thing is there is all kinds of informative and enlightened articles being birthed daily for us to make use of while feeling so scattered. Because when the anger dulls have to find effective ways to get reconnected and come together as a nation. We know it. And at the moment, understandably, we kind dread it.
So if you find things you think might help your friends out, by all means share them! I'm stuck on the notion that we wake up and stop counting on everyone else to move and shape things. My mindset is take whatever it is you are good at and have to offer and push it. Be it writing, creating, activating, organizing, speaking, informing, or supporting, get on it. And go hard.
For now, I've got this: from Lena Dunham's kick ass online magazine, Lenny - offering a few great tips on holding anger while keeping empathy, and how we begin the long road back to healing as a nation. Standing on two big plains divided.
Build your tribe.
We all have blind spots in different ways, because of our life experiences. There are moments when we're in positions of power, and moments when we're in less power and feel oppressed. It's everyone's responsibility to know their blind spots. This process begins by building a community where you can feel safe, and also challenged. This could be a group of women, a group of writers, or a group of people of all different backgrounds and ages. It's perfectly fine to have a tribe of your close friends, but especially now, it's important to open up to allies who have different opinions and backgrounds. And your tribe doesn't have to be one group. It can be many groups.
Be an ally.
If you become aware of yourself as being part of an oppressive identity group, listen before you talk. Be conscious and aware of your position of power. Be conscious of how you may steer away from these conversations because they make you feel guilty and ashamed. With honesty, bring to light your blind spots and biases. Check your privilege.
When we imagine the changes that need to happen, we may envision new laws getting passed and sweeping national movements, but the painful reality is that this is going to be so, so slow. And it starts with our daily interactions and the way we absorb and respond to intolerance in its many forms.
Remain curious about your opponent.
The aforementioned avenues of action and education make sense to me. A whole new regime of reading, gathering, and awakening is called for. I can sign petitions, I can attend protests, I can call out a male colleague for speaking over a female coworker. But what about Thanksgiving, when I see my uncles who voted for Trump? If I can bear to speak with them, should I? What good would it do?
Full article available here