I have been processing the state of our country since the 2016 presidential election results through media, the press and Twitter.
I am a Twitter addict. I left Facebook over the self-aggrandizing of its users and the dangerous Groupthink that it perpetuates. I now spend a lot of time reading Tweets that send me researching, digging, and always learning.
I read stories and watched videos of people protesting (along with opportunistic rioting) in the streets after it became known that Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States.
I didn’t vote for Trump; nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton.
Trump is just so offensive on so many levels that there was no way I could vote for him even through I am a registered Republican. I am pretty sure I would not have voted Republican even if the nominee had been a harmless, homogenized GOP insider.
Why? Because I have evolved politically.
I no longer trust the system that presented us with a corrupt, dishonest Democrat and a narcissitic, lying Republican as our two major party nomineees.
Even though I believe in the sanctity of life (yes, I am pro-life, but also pro-woman and believe a woman has the right to control her own body) and tend to be fiscally conservative, I strongly believe in LGBTQ rights, equal rights for all, that scores of oppressed people live in my state and country, segregation is worse than ever, we need affordable housing and and that access to education needs to be expanded.
I voted third party. I had to.
And so we try to process the outcome. I am still processing.
I am processing the fact that the mainstream media is still clueless regarding the part it played in Trump’s election.
I am processing the fact that the two major parties are so corrupt that there is no way the people will ever choose the best leader for our country as long as they are in power (yes, this is all about power).
I am processing the fact that many Democrats are focused outward at what the evil Trump will do to our country when they need to be focused on their own party and its corruption.
I am processing the fact that the GOP needs to be accountable to the entire country for not providing a viable candidate and allowing Trump to become the nominee in the first place.
We can all agree that this is serious stuff.
But is it the end of the world as we know it? I don’t think so.
“The sky is falling,” screamed the media about Brexit.
“The sky is falling,” screamed the media about Trump (before he was elected).
“The sky is falling,” screamed the media about Trump (since his election).
The level of division I am seeing between Democrats and Republicans is historical (since I have been old enough to understand — can’t speak to before my time).
I am seeing divisions between races, ethnicities, genders and religions that give me a feeling of unrest and insecurity as never before.
Anti-feminism is running rampant. Anti-Semitism, anti-gay, anti-white, anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-nationalist, anti-Christian, anti-______.
Everyone is against someone else. Battle lines drawn. Weapons at the ready.
Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
Is your side made up of the good people? The intelligent people.
Is the other side made up of evil, malevalent people? No, they’re just stupid. Right?
Maybe the idea of a benevolent leader is a myth. Maybe there is no such thing.
The very nature of the power necessary to get elected to public office, the need for wheeling and dealing, money and influence ensures that no one we elect will be honest and dependable, immune from the intoxicating character-changing influence of victory that proves Lord Acton correct: “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
And then on a personal level, I can no longer speak to most of my friends and family about what happened (except the three sons who live with me and seem to be sane) without hurtful words being hurled.
Those who hate Trump are alienating those around them who do not think it is the end of the world.
Those who support Trump are alienating those around them who are afraid of what he can and will do with so much power.
[Anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton is in any way less dangerous or immoral than Trump is deluded. I am convinced that Clinton exploits the weak and oppressed to become rich and gain power. Or at least she did.]
The election of a U.S. president should not be treated as though we are electing the ruler of the universe. Trump will not rule the world.
Although presidential powers have been expanded to disturbing and unconstitutional levels starting with Bush and then with Obama, we still have checks and balances in our system of government.
What this election cycle should inspire in all of us is a desire to become informed, educated and involved. Too long have Americans been content to let corrupt politicians get rich and make their corporate friends even richer as long as there was minimal personal inconvenience and those politicians espoused the correct ideology.
Democrats frame their power grabs as social justice: protecting the poor, disenfranchised, and oppressed.
Republicans frame their power grabs as fiscal responsibility, individual freedom and, with righteous indignation, serving God (protecting religious freedom and the unborn).
Both present themselves as morally superior, self-righteous and dogmatic.
Those who believe evil incarnate was elected president on November 8, 2016 need to turn that focused anger on the government monster that IS destroying America and the world.
This is not about one man, but a people’s desire for a savior, a champion.
And this, in my opinion, is the most disturbing revelation of all: we Americans have abandoned our personal responsibilities as human beings, thinking that an ideology will save us.
Your ideology (and mine) won’t save America. But you might. I might.
How? By being open to talking to someone who appears to be on the other side. By being willing to admit that politics is about power, not helping people.
Helping people occurs on a local, personal level. It will never be accomplished by politicians. Deep down we all know this is true.
My advice: Be the solution to the problems you see around you.
Join the ACLU, volunteer at a local food bank, financially support a local cause that is actually accomplishing something in people’s lives (one person at a time).
Donate YOURSELF, your time and your money in a way that directly affects others in a positive way.
Adopt an elderly person who has no family left. Be a grandparent to children in a military family whose extended family are far away. Start a program at a middle school that encourages kids to grow, mature, and learn something that the school system (or their families) cannot teach them.
Stop mourning, stop alienating others (and feeling alienated) and find some way to positively impact your own space, block, neighborhood, community, town, city, county and state.
Whatever your passion, give of yourself. Be there for others. Be personal. Be real. Be supportive. Love others actively.
One person can save the world. That person is you. That person is me.