I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the election over the last few weeks and I’ve had a difficult time putting thoughts to text over the last month. I apologize for the lack of blog posts and promise to continue on a more consistent schedule going forward. It’s been a difficult road for a Centrist, but I do have some things I’d like to say.
Facts vs. Opinion vs. Truth
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Everyone is even entitled to limit the amount of energy they expend on researching the facts upon which they base their opinions. There are a limited number of hours in the day and there is a lot of information available. Not even experts paid to research the issues can possibly engage with all of it.
That said, you are not entitled to base your opinions on loose feelings and impulses. Have a reason, and when someone informs you of a fact do not dismiss it as an opinion. Understand the difference. How much weight to place on those facts is your prerogative. Investigating those facts is your prerogative. But it’s not an opinion that things factually happened. We learned in grade school that a fact is something that can be proven or disproven. Facts are not opinion and neither are truth.
Some people seem to believe that it’s just so mean and nasty how people are “saying mean things” about Trump supporters, and how THEY didn’t support bigotry and hate, and how Hilary’s supporters are being so hateful right now.
I heard a lot of Trump supporters saying that actions are worse than words, during the election. That what Hilary had DONE was worse than what Trump had SAID. Leaving aside the utter lack of understanding many people have of the standards necessary for indictment, leaving aside the multitude of First Amendment cases Trump lost, leaving aside discrimination cases, leaving aside all of the arguments to be made on that front (of which there are many)…
Let’s not pretend that people saying “you’re a racist!” or expressing First Amendment outrage is somehow worse than people saying “I would shoot you right now, bitch” or somehow worse than the people sitting in the hospital right now because of hate crimes.
Let’s not pretend that the “riots” happening across the country in protest are tangibly worse than what happens after a high-tension football game. Unfortunate, sure. But they are flash-in-the-pan fires, not systemic and likely-to-increase hate crimes.
On the Impact
I grew up in an environment where there were two priorities in deciding who to vote for: practical, strategic impact… and personal impact. Learning about social sciences and philosophy taught me that how things impact me is much broader than direct impact. It taught me to look beyond the immediate and think of the ramifications.
But right now, the ramifications are hard to see. Trump didn’t have much of an actual platform: much of what he’s suggested he would like to do is logistically impossible. A great deal of his plans are internally inconsistent.
I do know that reproductive health is going to take a big hit. Pence is the Vice President and the Republican platform is pretty clear about their goals regarding things like birth control coverage, late-term abortions, and
I’m grateful that I already have an IUD. It took me years and a lot of fighting to get it (because I wasn’t married, because I hadn’t already had children, because of the infinitesimal risk that it might interfere with my ability to give birth), but it’s better than being actively suicidal as a result of easier-to-obtain birth control medications.
I’m grateful that my next job has a pretty good healthcare package and that I will no longer need Medicaid on January 13.
Chances are good I’ll be able to ride out the Trump/Pence Presidency during the years I’m actively trying to have children… but what if they outlaw late term abortions and when I get pregnant, there are complications? It just became a lot more dangerous for me to be a woman… and I have it relatively good compared to other women.
I’m horrified that what I have to be grateful about is that I got lucky on the diceroll of timing, and know that millions of women are not in my position of privilege.
But right now, the only way for me to process this is to focus on what positives I can find, and look for best-case scenarios, because despair and rage gets us nowhere.
A Learning Opportunity
I hope Obama and Hilary’s supporters to look back at the last four years and learn something.
If you live in a liberal bubble and can’t understand how this happened, I urge you to look beyond your echo chambers and look at history — at the kinds of presidents we had after the Progressive era, and the kinds of social changes that came in the wake of that time — and look at the pace of your demands and how they are impacting everyone, not just the people you care about.
Similarly, I hope everyone who voted for Trump pays very careful attention to the next four years and learns a very valuable lesson about what they have accomplished.
Not because consequences are bad, on either side, but because it’s important to understand the ramifications of our actions. It’s important to understand how the world works.
We’re going to see a shift in what the “core issues” of the Republican Party are. When was the last time Republican voters really seemed to really care about fiscal conservatism? It’s hard to have small government when you’re drastically expanding DHS every time you get the chance.
Choices for the Future
I want it to be very clear that I have no interest in changing people’s minds. I want them to have minds to change. Educate yourselves! Practice critical thinking! Learn how to draw inferences from primary sources! Think!
Don’t be a hypocrite. If you’re not a bigot or a sexist or a racist or all the things you’re so upset you’re being called, prove it.
You’re the ones who voted this Congress into office. This President into office. Our representatives won’t listen to your liberal friends; they will listen to you, because you voted for them.
It is now your obligation to prove to everyone that you cared about not being forgotten, that you cared about the economy, that you cared about strong foreign policy, that you cared about getting rid of common core. Write your congressmen and tell them WHY you voted. Tell them what YOU care about. Tell them you don’t like the inefficiencies of the ACA but you WON’T stand for women’s rights being taken away. That you don’t want late-term abortions but you DO know that access to birth control reduces the abortion rate.
This election has proved that Republicans no longer live in the Party of Reagan. This is not just your chance to take back your party.
It’s your obligation.