Monday, October 17, 2016

The Truth Is Ugly and It Hurts

Before I lose you in what I'm about to say, I want to make one thing very clear. Donald Trump should not be president. There is no way that I can support him, anything he has said, or his past behavior, and I can't imagine doing so in the future. If he fell off the face of the earth, I would heave a "yuge" sigh of relief and move along without looking back. 

The Republican party has been blamed for creating this monster. There are the jokes about the decision they have made and how they have to carry it to term. There is some irony in this situation and there is truth in the theories. Members of this party have so staunchly defended anyone in their ranks that they have backed themselves into a corner with this one. And, while a lot of this is satisfying to members of other parties, and it's somewhat fascinating to watch a faction of the political system disintegrate before our eyes, the rest of us have to admit our own culpability. 

Yep, I'm saying it. We are all responsible for this mess. We, the collective "we." We, as an American society. We have contributed to the nastiness, the name-calling, the blaming, the inappropriate language and behavior. We sensationalized the death of a tiny pageant contestant and then we mourned when a princess was killed and thought that was the pinnacle, that we would change. We urged each other to change. To stop buying the gossip rags and watching the shows that titillated us with all things that were None of Our Business. But then we watched a "celebrity" sex tape and now we greedily await the next one. And the next. We made a celebrity out of a burping, farting family whose central star was named Honey Boo Boo. We watch eligible bachelors and bachelorettes choose among multiple suitors and judge their choices like Monday morning quarterbacks. We read gossip blogs and pick apart the choices people make while hiding behind our keyboards. We feel safe being harsh and mean to those we don't even know when using the mask of anonymity. 

We may not audibly and intentionally support Donald Trump, but we have condoned his gross behavior in a hundred other separate, seemingly innocent acts. The behaviors we have rewarded with our interest have culminated into the Pile of Yuck that is Donald Trump. 

Over the weekend I attended a book festival and got to introduce a couple of the authors during one of the sessions. Both authors had written women as the heroes of their novels and, maybe because of our current political and social climate, I asked if it is necessary that there be a Bad Man in a story in order to juxtapose the woman as the Good Heroine. Both authors, both female, said no, that the impetus for the heroines in their stories were other women and that women can be just as evil. Which brings me to another point. 

So many of us, including myself, wonder how on earth a woman can support Trump. Especially after the things we've heard him say again and again. I have wondered if their self-esteem is so low that they truly believe only a man can be president. However, like my authors said, women can be just as evil and even more so towards other women. I've heard women say out of one side of their mouths how they support their sisterhood while in the next breath they spew unwarranted and unnecessary criticism. I have, in an effort to pretend that rape couldn't happen to ME, questioned what a victim wore. As long as I didn't dress a certain way, or go to certain bars, or leave my house on a Tuesday at 9:17 p.m., the same thing couldn't happen to me. None of which really matters and only serves to distance myself from a woman who really needs help. 

As moms, we constantly vilify other moms for their choices. If she works too much, who is taking care of her children? Why is she so "cold" towards them? Won't they feel abandoned and why doesn't she understand how important her Role As a Woman is?? If she chooses to stay home with her children, she is flat and one-dimensional and should have other interests because her children won't be around forever and then she won't even know who she is. Don't her daughters deserve a better role model and how will her sons learn to respect women? 

Yes, we are all guilty. We have all had the same thoughts and said the same things as Trump. But now, when the sum total of all of this ugliness is held up to us in mirror-form, we recoil, we feel disgust, we feel shame. He says not only what he thinks, but what we have thought at one time or another. Part of why we hate him is because we hate that part of ourselves. 

So maybe this is a time for self-reflection. If we don't like what we see in the proverbial mirror, then maybe we change it. Maybe we say yes, I am guilty. Yes, I have said that and done that and wanted the wrong thing. We recognize those parts of ourselves and make a conscious decision to change. Instead of giving in to the baser parts of humanity, we take out the damaged parts and rebuild ourselves as something better. We stop feeding the beast with gossip and pre-judgments and criticism and hate. When we, all of us, or at the very minimum the majority of us, act from compassion and kindness and truth and careful thought, people like Donald Trump aren't allowed to exist. He isn't nourished by fairness and knowledge but lies and marginalization. 

I think, or rather strongly hope, that most of us are aware of just how dangerous it would be to elect Trump as our president. But I think it's just as dangerous to continue on as we have. Unless we take a real inventory of ourselves as a society and as individuals, this will just be a trial run. The next time we might not be so lucky. If we are, indeed, lucky now. 


Lisa Dretchen said...

Very well written Kat. Kudos and Thank you.

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