I shared the attached image on Facebook the other day, following the conclusion of the election. I added “If the shoe fits…” to the post as a way of encouraging thoughtful reflection on the message being presented.
A Facebook friend objected and responded to the post by pointing out that as a candidate, the President-elect had also said divisive, offensive things, and asked, “do we sacrifice the dignity and rights of our fellow man to make a statement?”
If you’ll look at the post again carefully, the point being made isn’t necessarily about voting for Trump – in fact, his name is never mentioned. Rather, the point being made is one in which opposition to a candidate who embodied an ideology & agenda anathema to half the country was further driven in response to the derision, slander, toxic vitriol, official oppression, and dehumanizing attacks made by supporters of the candidate, the ideology and the agenda against those who stand in opposition.
The question comes back to how we evolve and change as a society – as I originally stated shortly after the election;
To all my Progressive, Liberal, Democrat friends and family:
You own this.
You helped make this happen.
You labeled half the country as bigots, racists, sexists, homophobes and worse.
You told half the country to shut up, sit down and go along with your agenda.
You pushed too far, too fast, too much.
You claimed you were morally superior.
You claimed you were on the “right side of history.”
You claimed you had the answers.
Tonight you and your agenda have been rejected.
Your arrogance, hubris and condescension blinded you to reality.
You did this to yourselves.
Those in favor of rapid, disruptive societal change seemingly refuse to see or accept not only that opposition exists, but that there are valid, good-faith based arguments to be made for slower, methodical, incremental change that allows for gradual acceptance and adaptation. In other words, there are less destructive and radical ways to bring change about than by force or intimidation.
In the face of this challenge, the attitude displayed by those in favor of rapid change and who were working to elect a candidate who publicly holds almost half the electorate in disdain was (and remains) one of arrogant dismissiveness that can only be understood as a form of hatred.
To the question, “do we sacrifice the dignity and rights of our fellow man to make a statement?” the answer is sadly, we already do so. To a significant number of people, that is exactly what has been happening during the years of the Obama regime, as the heavy hand of government forced them to buy health insurance they neither wanted nor needed, forced them to agree to participate in relationships they neither sought or desired, and which violate their conscience, and forced them to pile up debt they cannot afford and which they refuse to bequest.
To roughly half the population, the derision, the ostracization, and the delegitimization evinced by popular culture and employed as a weapon by political adherents up and down the body politic function as wounds which are continually ripped open and never allowed to heal.
Believe me, I didn’t post about something I myself have not experienced – slurs like racist, misogynist, homophobe, bigot, sexist, Islamophobe – I’ve been called every one of those names more often than I can count. I’ve been threatened, I’ve been spit upon, I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be allowed to have children, and that the children I do have should be taken from me for their own good. I’ve been told that my wife should kill me in my sleep – all because I refuse to as my friend said, sacrifice my dignity and rights.
Part of the problem stems from the way that the Left attacks those who perhaps do not even directly challenge the politically correct narrative, but rather present an obstacle by expressing preference, nuance and admiration for a belief, opinion, or position contrary to what has been determined to be socially acceptable.
Because I believe that the ideal situation for children is to be raised by two loving parents and that the love given by a mother and father are each uniquely wonderful in a child’s life – well, that just proves I’m homophobic because gays are parents too, misogynistic because there are so many single mothers, and racist because many of those single moms are black. Because I believe that we should take every means we can to address and eliminate terrorism – well, that just proves I’m an Islamophobe because I would be targeting and profiling people of Middle Eastern descent, and I’m also a bigot because I’m attacking Islam.
This is reality for a huge number of citizens. They are reasonable, rational people whose only desire is to be left alone to follow their faith, raise their families in peace, and make use of their God-given, constitutionally protected freedom. They looked up and saw someone who called them “deplorable and irredeemable,” and who thinks that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” to ensure that abortion rights are protected and enshrined in law. They hear someone who wants to be their president say that “Muslims have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” and that “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.”
This isn’t too hard to figure out, but to decide that the only possible explanation for the rejection of such a candidate must be bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., is to deny reality and to ascribe the worst of intentions to roughly half the nation. Many of the same voters who voted against Clinton voted for Barack Obama by a wide margin in 2008. Did half of America suddenly become evil over the last eight years? Clearly not. What changed? The candidate.
We voted against Clinton because we opposed her radical and dangerous agenda. Not because we are racists, misogynists, homophobes, or bigots. Our differences are largely political, not overly personal. To falsely ascribe evil motives is to engage in what can only be described as blood libel, because it dehumanizes half of America. We should be better.