Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Opinion: When Politics Becomes Personal

This political season has been like a testosterone-filled hockey game during The Stanley Cup Playoffs. The masses are losing their shit. The vitriol that Trump spews from his pulpit emboldens his followers to become more aggressive and vile. Families are being ruined. Life long friendships are unsalvageable. Trump has drawn a deep line in the sand, and you must choose which side of history you want to be on.

Trump has brought back the days where it's acceptable to sit on the front porch with the good ol' boys while enjoying a glass of sweet tea and talking about the "coloreds" down the street. The days where it's okay for teachers, in a public school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the U.S., to make fun of culturally influenced names and their spellings. Or for said teacher to post that "Michelle Obama is a monkey," and that she can't wait to get the monkeys out of the White House so that "Trump can make America white again." It's terrifying that these people are teaching our children.

North Carolina isn't the only school coming under fire. You can research many schools across the country and find disturbing incidents of hate crimes. And these incidents will only increase exponentially the longer Trump is given a public forum to voice his hate. Children as young as 6 are being suspended  from school for racism, Islamophobia, SEXISM (already?!) and fighting over "their candidate." When will we refuse to let Trump influence our most precious gifts - our children?  It's not too late for them.

Sadly, it is too late for many friendships. I've had to let go of friendships, even a few 30+ year ones. Not just unfollow them on social media, but unfriend and block them for good measure. As the election draws closer, I have gained insight into these friendships. It all began when a jerk we went to high school with posted anti-Hillary propaganda, so, of course, I had to factcheck him. He went on a tirade about "how many minority penises I have in my mouth" and so on.  My two best male friends said NOTHING - not a word - except to agree with him on a second comment about Trump. At that point, I knew that our friendships were over. Regardless of your party line when one of your best friends is personally attacked, you defend them.

There is a bright side to being so blindsided by such close relationships. You realize very quickly who is down for the cause and who isn't. I want people in my life who believe in human rights for everyone, who believe that a liberal Supreme Court Judge HAS to be appointed to ensure equal rights for the LGBTQ community, who believe in a woman's choice with what happens to her body, and who fight everyday to stop systemic racism in their lives. And, finally, I want people in my life that aren't going to "grab me or my daughter by the pussy" and who don't think sexual assault is "locker room talk." I would hope that anyone with a daughter, niece, mother, grandmother, aunt, or wife would not vote for Trump.

As much as I miss my old friends, I know that reconnecting with them would be nothing short of a disappointment. How can you move forward with someone who you have nothing socially, emotionally, or politically in common with? It's time to end those friendships and move forward. It's time to unite with like-minded women so that we can find strength in each other and begin making a difference. And isn't that what it's all about?

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