How Now

Soapbox LogoI am the enemy. Yes, I said it. I am the enemy. I don’t live my life with this intention. I don’t wake in the morning thinking, “what can I do today that will harm another person, create chaos or stranger danger”. Nevertheless, I am the enemy.

Why do I say I am the enemy? I will answer you in as succinct a way possible. I am the enemy because many have identified me as such. Not because I have done or said anything specifically, not because of my beliefs or my political ideology, which have not changed in 40 years. I am the enemy because of my demographics.

Appearance/Race: White

Gender: Female

Age: 59.5

Orientation: Straight

Economic Status: Middle Class (not really)

Ignorant? Yes. Foolish? Yes. Nonetheless, since waking up on 9-November-2016 many of my friends, some of my neighbors and many strangers have identified me as ENEMY.

The 2015-2016 election cycle has been harsh and ugly. It has brought out the worst in the American people. It has unleashed every single thing that is ugly in our psyche and without a backwards glance said, ‘there you go, have at it’.

In 1956 W.E.B. Dubois condemned both parties and made an argument for why he would not vote in the upcoming election between incumbent Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. This eloquent and damning indictment of American politics is as relevant today as it was then, it was published in The Nation, October 1956, read it here.

For me, the most significant statement of the entire essay is this;

I believe that democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no “two evils” exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or web-duboissay.

We have drawn a line in the sand and erected walls to our absolutes. The very things we condemn in others we adopt for ourselves and call good. We do not see our own hypocrisy, we do not acknowledge our own terrible for what it is, both Terrible and Tragic.

The problem in how we are reacting to the election of Donald J. Trump? We are looking for excuses, seeking to lay blame anywhere we can, enemy and ally alike. In doing this we looked first to the easiest target, anyone ‘not exactly like us’ which included allies and with broad brush strokes, we named Enemies. We have refused to look in the mirror, at our candidates and the past eight years and accept we have significant work to do at the grassroots; if we ever wish to regain moral authority, political power or the ability to move this nation towards better days for all citizens, we must begin inside the party of supposed progressive thought and make real change.

Having the Presidency simply isn’t enough. The past eight years should have proven this, clearly though we didn’t learn a damn thing. We lost State House after State House, we lost Governorship after Governorship, we lost the House and the Senate and we lost our standing on the World Stage. We paralyzed a Democratic President through our failure to pay attention, through our focus on the specialty and special needs rather than looking at the overall needs of the nation, listening to the voice of the nation cry out. We failed the nation and the world, not just the few but the many. Donald J. Trump may be the culmination of years of GOP talking points, fear mongering and baiting of all kinds; but, we own him as much as the GOP owns him, we own him through our inattention to the bigger picture.

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There are several examples of our inattention, or better our attention to the specialty while ignoring the larger or overarching issues. We failed to look at what is critical:

  • The real economy
  • Real American jobs
  • Fear in Middle America

We failed to pay attention to word on the street about

  • Immigration, both legal and illegal and the cost of American jobs
  • Crime and Justice in America, the real cost to America
  • Rising cost of Healthcare

We failed to address the issues that mattered to Americans, such as:

  • Growing poverty across the American landscape
  • Ongoing War and our returning veterans
  • Our International reputation

We did not listen and speak to the heart of America, we did not address their fears of a failing American Dream.

When the only answer to a question that disagrees with your point of view is the following, “You are (Pick One and Insert: White, Heterosexual, Above the Poverty Line) you are not allowed an opinion regarding this subject”, you are over the line and you have turned an ally into at best a disinterested third party. At worst, you have turned an ally into the opposition. When the only answer to dissent or disagreement is name calling or labeling, you have turned a potential ally into an enemy.

When the voice of the minority becomes larger, louder and more important than the whole we lose. This is a simple fact proven with the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we demand strict adherence to ideology without question or dissent we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we name enemy those who question or speak out, where they see potential danger or unrighteousness we lose; proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

When we veer so far off course, forgetting all but those representing the special interests and demanding adherence to their interests alone we scare the rest of the nation. When we name any and all who question or disagree, “Bigots, Racists, Homophobes, Xenophobes, Sexists, Misogynists….”, we lose, proven by the election of Donald J. Trump.

So now we are two (2) days away from the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Not my choice for President of the United States of America. I am greatly afraid for this nation. I pray we will find a way to manage this man who will be POTUS, who does not seem to understand the gravity of the office he will hold. Who has nominated to his Cabinet men and women who adhere to positions that are destructive and against every tenet this imperfect nation is built upon.

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If we are to answer this Presidency with real solutions and ensure the least harm we must begin to heal ourselves, we must see beyond the ‘not like me’ to the common ground. If we are to find solutions, we must start with the open hand rather than the closed fist. It must start with the reminder, we are Americans first, we have common goals and all the other labels do nothing but set us back, play into someone else’s desired outcome to keep us separated and screaming rather together and talking.

I am not the enemy, though some have labeled me as such even those who once proclaimed to love me.

Comments

  1. I am still hearing the enemy bell. I watched long time friends, from the US and abroad, wish good tidings for all of the intervening holidays specifically on minorities by name. As a white woman, I am the majority and unworthy of such good tidings. In their eyes, this is my fault. I have been told for years I have no opinion because I am a spoiled little white girl who knows nothing of struggle because my disability is not visually obvious. They say I need to let those who are affected make the policy, pass the law, elect the official. I do not get to have a say even when the policy will destroy me, my children or my way of life.

    I am going to keep my silence. Nothing I have ever said or shared has changed the mind of a single zealot. Cogent speech and logic are lost on the drum beaters leading the marchers. The marchers hear nothing but the drums of war. To be frank, I have never met anyone who wanted anything politically other than those who dissent to be silenced.

    The United States has mastered the adversarial system. I see this election as the culmination of precisely what we as a country have said we wanted: The minority to have a voice. In the biggest election, the minority spoke and got its way.

  2. It feels like we are all living in a reality show with no off button. As I said in my last comment…I got nothing. I watched the election unfold and was lost for words….still haven’t got them back.

    • I sit each and every single day and am dumbfounded by what I see, sometimes by both sides. Loon, I still have nothing. I still haven’t gotten my words, my voice back.

  3. Words that form a perfect union are beyond me lately. They escape me. Thanks, Val, for your ability to find yours at such a difficult time.

    • Mostly Sue, they are beyond me also. Where once I could write for days, now it takes me days, sometimes weeks to write.

      It is a difficult thing.

      XX

      • We are on the dark side of the moon right now (the best and kindest way I can say it) with our backs turned to the beauty of this earth, the beauty that we are. It’s the saddest, darkest period of time in this country that I can recall (I am only a few years younger than you.). That sadness engulfs me often now. Logic reminds me the light is not far away, that it’s possible to be in the light again, to see all the beauty of the earth and ourselves again by just taking one step after another until we get there. We’ve been there before. I wonder, though, how long it will take THIS time. My instinct says this darkness will last longer than any other darkness I’ve so far known.

  4. Love the Dubois quote (one that I didn’t know) as it states a view I’ve held for a long time. Meanwhile, a mentality of us vs. them is ripping the fabric. Although it has always been there, but it’s deepening … thus one reason I was hoping for divided power – and now single-party control has me worried.

    PS: I finally got my chance to taste Blue Bell!

  5. Then as a white-looking male (though probably not white by the strictest criteria of whiteness), I’m even an even more obvious enemy.
    I remember that when the Democrats kept gloating that there are more and more minority voters – women, people of color, Muslims, LBGT – in the country, and they together added up to an overwhelming majority, I couldn’t help thinking that a person can belong to a minority in one category, and majority in the other, and since by definition a majority is bigger, almost every one of us, including those catogorized as a minority, would belong to one or many majorities. Just an example, maybe white males comprise only 30% of the population, but over 80% are white or male, or both. So a strategy of uniting the minorities against the majorities is mathematically not a winning strategy in a popular election.
    That said, I can’t say that this name-calling was the reason Clinton lost. The election was so close in the states that decided it, any one single factor could have been enough to turn the election – DNC leaks, Jill Stein, Comey’s letter, fake news, Voter ID laws, economic conditions in the Rust Belt, lack of excitement for Clinton, and so on. I can’t pick the straw that broke the donkey’s back out of a whole bale of hay.

    • Oh, I can likely do the analysis and find the bale of hay that finished her off. The reality is, the DNC finished her by overestimating her. I know people don’t like to hear it, but it is a sad truth.

      Another sad truth? Instead of truly banding together, we are ripping each other apart. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times someone has made assumptions about my politics or voting position simply based on their assumption of my racial identity. If we don’t come together, we will lose.

  6. It is a sad state of affairs but we are all in this together as Americans. Yet I see us being driven further apart every day as enemies. May Mr. Trump wake up and realize the responsibility of the office he seems to take so lightly.

    • I fear for all of us, yet hope to ring bells in dark streets to remind us all we remain allies, friends and neighbors. It is right now difficult I think, we see only the surface, we react with fury and throw away everyone but those who are just like us, specific and exact.

      I don’t believe we should look to our leaders for reconciliation. I believe we have to start within our neighborhoods, within our families, within our social circles. All of these are broken, I have never seen anything like this before.

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I am the enemy too … because of my demographics!

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