I went to bed crying, and I woke up crying. I wasn’t crying because my candidate didn’t win. I was crying because of my abject fear of the man who did and my shock & disgust with the people who supported him to get him there. Honestly, never before in my life have I felt like this about an election. I always had my chosen candidate for whom I was rooting, but both candidates always seemed to be generally reasonable, well educated, informed citizens who would work hard for our country and represent us well in the international community. I might not agree with the other candidate on as many issues, but I had a modicum of trust in them.
Last night as the electoral votes rolled in, a very close college friend of mine who I have always considered to be a kind, reasonable man wrote on my Facebook wall, and it just crushed me. One of the (many) things he wrote was,
When it comes down to it, I have no obligation to vote for a candidate that supports those “less fortunate” then me.
I literally didn’t know how to respond at first, I was so taken aback. This comment came from a straight, married white man who was born in the US, raised in a “good” family, went to a private Christian college with me, and who is now very successful in his career. Yes, he is fortunate, but he also was given every advantage in life to get there.
I finally replied,
I didn’t say it was your responsibility to vote for those less fortunate than you. It is our responsibility to care for our neighbors and coworkers and friends and their kids. And maybe where you live you truly don’t see that, but Trump being president WILL affect my friends who are women, people of color, people of different sexual orientations, etc. Not people who are “less fortunate than you” but people who are great people who were simply born different than you. THAT is why I am sitting here crying, for our world, for our country, and for my friendships with people who can’t see that.
To be clear, I am well aware that I sometimes live in an “echo chamber.”
Over the years, I’ve slowly but surely cultivated (for lack of a better word) a circle of friends and neighbors who think quite a bit like me. We still have our differences, and we aren’t afraid of a good (friendly) debate from time to time about political issues, but overall, I trust in their hearts to choose LOVE. They aren’t racist, misogynistic, homophopic people. They are open-minded people who do their best to give more than they receive…and you know what? I’m 100% okay with living in that echo chamber. It just makes nights like last night all the more shocking. I’m seriously struggling to handle my emotions right now, so I keep watching this gif to try to calm my breathing and my heart. As my Dad texted me this morning,
When mom got cancer we all took a positive view of the future. It worked. Continue.
I’m trying, Dad, I’m trying.