1. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice
  6. Welcome to Halforums!

    At Halforums, we value everyone's input. Please feel free to post without having to create an account. You will have to complete a few more steps than a full member and have to put up with this annoying notice on every page. If you want to join, click Register and start talking!

    Already a member? Login Now!
    Dismiss Notice

America?

Blog entry posted by Gared, Nov 9, 2016.

I've had several hours to think about this post - I stayed up to watch the race unfold and watch the acceptance speech. Make no mistake, I am severely disappointed in the results of last night's election. And not just because we've elected Donald J. Trump as President. That's just the most likely outcome of where our country is right now, and of the choice that the country, as a whole, faced. It's where our country is that sickens me the most. As much as I think that Donald J. Trump, as a person, is a buffoon, it's what his upcoming presidency represents with which I take the most issue.

For the first time in my life, at 36 years of age, I can finally see just how racist, misogynist, bigoted, anti-LGBT, and hate filled this country really is. I feel ashamed, physically ill, and a little scared - though less scared for myself and my family than I am concerned for my non-white, non-Christian, non-male friends. Let's be perfectly honest here. Aside from the fact that I'm unlikely to get any further on the job hunt than I have so far, I don't really have anything to worry about. I am not the immediate target of any of the hatred that has been simmering away for all of these years.

Looking back now, the morning after, I can easily see that Trump was destined to be elected President. This has been coming for decades. There are wounds in this country that we've been pretending didn't exist, or weren't that bad, that have never healed over - and, frankly, I don't know that they ever could be healed over. The fact of the matter is, we've been trying to heal our nation's various illnesses with legislation, and that just won't work.

It should be no surprise to anyone, really, that you can legislate away official racism, but cannot legislate away the feelings and beliefs that led to that racism becoming official in the first place. Members of our nation have fought tooth and nail, frequently to the death, to see official racism ended in this country. To see people of all races treated equally. And where have we ended up? It's illegal to discriminate against someone based on the color of their skin, or their ethnicity or ethnic background. But that hasn't stopped it from happening. Look at what happened the instant the Voting Rights Act expired. As soon as they could, all of those southern states that have large African American and Hispanic populations shut down as many polling places as they could in poor, racially diverse areas, making it a hassle, if not impossible, for citizens to exercise their right to vote. On purpose. We made the act of discrimination illegal, but we didn't solve the underlying problem.

The same can be said for LGBT rights. We've made gay marriage legal in all 50 states, made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexuality, but the problem didn't just magically go away. We haven't been able to stop cake decorators, wedding DJ's, event halls, and caterers from refusing to work for a couple because they're gay, or transgender. We've just smoothed everything over on the surface - made it look, from the outside, like it's all taken care of now. And sure, we go out and prosecute these companies and individuals who profess that they won't work for these couples based on their sexuality or gender-identity, but look at what happens when one of these businesses makes the news; everything from (frequently successful) fundraising, to business-killing reviews and hateful personal attacks on both sides. And then, when something else comes along in the news cycle, or people just get bored, all coverage of the event goes away, and the people involved are left to deal with the repercussions alone. We haven't solved the underlying problem.

It seems we have an inexhaustible list of problems - veteran care, religion, LGBT rights, racism, failing infrastructure, failing schools, constant arguments over what should and shouldn't be taught in our schools, health care, mental health care, gun control, land use, water rights, First Nations rights, corrupt politicians, non- or less-corrupt politicians who just can't work together, murder, rape, abuse, assault, discrimination, hate speech... I could go on, but I'm making myself queasy.

To be honest, I'm beginning to seriously consider whether or not it's actually even possible to reconcile all of our differences. We can legislate away actions (sort of), but we can't legislate away feelings and beliefs. We can't make someone stop believing a specific thing just because we say it's wrong. In fact, I'm not even sure that we have the right to do that. Freedom of opinion, and all that. What we can do, is try to sway people's opinions to align more closely with our own, by introducing them to concepts with which they may not be familiar. We can show people the inclusive side of each of the communities that they stand against, or that they're uncomfortable with, or that they're afraid of. For any of that to work, though, we have to be willing to talk to each other. And we have to be willing to listen, and show compassion, and be inclusive of each others' feelings and beliefs, especially if we don't agree with those beliefs.

There are people in my life, in my family, in my Halforums family, who hold beliefs that I disagree with, sometimes vehemently.

I believe that all humans deserve equality. Period. I believe that all humans deserve the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities as all other humans. Period.

I realize that I've been on the wrong side of a lot of issues in the past 18 years. I should work to be more inclusive, more accepting of people with beliefs and feelings that don't align with mine. I've held the gender-fluidity movement in contempt, because I don't understand it. I've been guilty of thinking that the racism problem in this country had largely gone away, when I should know better than that. Hell, I write with my right hand because my kindergarten teacher refused to let me write with my previously-dominant hand, because only racial-slurs and mental-disability-slurs write left handed. That specific day, when she told me that, and my distaste for red Kool-Aid and Saltine or graham crackers as a snack are the two things that created my most formative memories about kindergarten, but I thought racism had basically receded. We're still burning down historically black churches for fuck's sake! I've been guilty of thinking that religious differences were a small, semi-recently resurrected issue; but we're still dealing with Antisemitism. Antisemitism!

Now, I can't tell anyone else what to do. I can only change myself. So I will. From this point on, everyone, every single person, is welcome at my table (virtual or otherwise). I can offer you only sustenance, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and an agreement not to exclude you for any reason. You can't make friends or win over the hearts and minds of others by being exclusionary, and let's face it, we could all use a few more friends right now. Just call first, yes? Otherwise I may be too stoned to cook or listen.
Krisken, Cog, Null and 4 others like this.