Now that it’s over

I couldn’t wait for Tuesday to be over. I was so sick of the ads taking over the airwaves on television and radio. I was sick of every post on Facebook being about the election or the candidates. I saw a meme that said “Now we can go back to posting pictures of dinner and cat memes”. Yes. Please. Some normalcy.

But that’s not what happened. Oh yes, the ads stopped (unless like me you had 3 weeks worth of stuff on the DVR and just when you thought it safe, BAM! A political ad from 2 weeks ago. Ugh!) Instead, it seems people are at each others throats more than before last Tuesday. People are in shock and upset and frustrated. I get that. I get protesting. I don’t get violence and destruction of property. I don’t get behaving exactly as you are accusing the other side of acting like. I’m naive and foolish. Cuz I truly don’t get it.

I’m not shy of my Conservative principles. Less Federal government. More states rights. I also have some dear family and friends who are on the completely different side on the coin. More government. More taxes. More control. We fundamentally disagree. And I respect their right to feel the way they do. I would fight for their right to feel they way they do. What I won’t do is fight them or anyone else because they disagree with MY principles. I won’t be looting a building or setting a trash dumpster on fire. I won’t be pulling a Hillary supporter out of their car and beat them senseless. I won’t be beating a poor precious dog because *I think* the owner is a Hillary supporter. Nope. I won’t do that.

And all of the people who are not discouraging it, all of the silence, all of the “I need a safe space and chocolate and therapy puppy and I can’t begin to take an exam in school and I have feeeeeeelings that need to be acknowledged and here’s a safety pin to show you tolerant I am of anyone different from me unless you disagree with me” people are in fact contributing to this. Not speaking out about burning couches in the street is a form of acceptance of that behavior. The key is “speaking”. Talking. And oh, maybe listening to understand instead of listening to respond.

I have learned soooooo much from my liberal friends and family. I embrace and cherish them and what they have taught me. I’m all for gay marriage and I will gladly stand up and defend that to everyone who will listen. Sadly, I don’t think I have influenced any of them to see my way of thinking. Not that they need to agree with me, just to understand why I think the way I do about certain issues. To them, I’m just wrong and am labeled all those words Hillary ticked off her list a few weeks ago. I think that makes me the saddest of all. That deep down, that’s what people who know me really think of me when they say “Oh she’s a *whisper* Conservative”. It reminds me of that scene from St. Elmo’s Fire where Wendy’s mom always whispers the “bad words” about everything. Remember the scene when Billy is on the roof? She says, “I knew it. *whisper* drugs!”

I wanted to blog last week, but couldn’t and wouldn’t because the feelings were too fresh on both sides. Trust me when I tell you, there are PLENTY of dear friends and family I have that vote R who did NOT even come close to voting for Trump. People on both sides were shocked and dismayed. I wanted to blog over the weekend and I just couldn’t. So here we are. 7 days later and there’s still burning in the streets. Please stop. Please allow yourself to find that common ground and stand firm, together. Realize we can have differences and that is what makes us unique. The world has enough hate. Let’s spread love. And peace. And light. WE are America.

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This is not an endorsement!

I just witnessed something in my local Publix parking lot. I wish I had been quick thinking enough to take out my phone and capture it, but as usual in those circumstances, I’m so slow on the uptake. I’m that girl who thinks of the perfect comeback line 15 minutes after the conversation is over. My ex brother-in-law and I used to laugh at the funny things we wished we had said to our former mother-in-law IF ONLY we were quick enough. I’m basically George from Seinfeld excited over the “jerk store” line in “The Comeback” episode.

Anyway, back to Publix. The story I’m about to relay is true, as improbable as it may seem. That’s why I wish I had video to prove it for all to see and not call me a liar. So please, don’t call me names. Ok?

I was going through the Starbucks drive through, getting my pumpkin spice frap, no whip on this most glorious of days in Florida and decided I wanted my moonroof open and windows down. So I had to pull into the Publix parking lot and gather all the various pieces of paper, straw wrappers, dry cleaner slips, napkins, etc so I could throw them away lest they go flying out of my car. Those who know me in real life know this is a real danger because, ya know, I’m not exactly a neat freak.

As I’m pulled into a parking space, I witness the following exchange by 2 older gentlemen; one is driving a Prius with bumper stickers all over it. Bernie 2016, Coexist, War is not the Answer, Peace. The other guy was driving a Ford Focus, no bumper stickers.

Ford Focus guy looks at the Bernie guy and says, “Sucks your guy got beat by a criminal.” The Bernie guy kind of smiles and shakes his head and says “Yea, she did on real shake down on him, didn’t she?” Ford Focus guy says, “You gonna vote for her now I suppose.” And the Bernie guy let out a loud laugh and said “Hell no! As a matter of fact look what I have!” and he pulls out his Trump bumper sticker and slap it over his Bernie one . They both started laughing and at this point, I’m feeling very weird and wondering if this some episode of Candid Camera, or is John Quiñones going to come running out with a microphone and camera crew. So as I do a quick survey of the parking lot and realize that I don’t see anything out of the ordinary, I look back at the two new BFFs and they’re actually shaking hands and exchanging names.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Ford Focus guy and Bernie guy are probably heading off to some local tavern and having a tall cold one and talking about WikiLeaks and the latest James O’Keefe video. Meanwhile, I’m driving down the road with my sunroof open, windows down, drinking my cold Pumpkin Spice Frap (no whip!!), sunglasses on and I think, “Why didn’t you grab your phone and start recording that?!” So I’ll make you deal; next time I see Prius dude with Peace, Coexist, War is not the Answer and a Trump sticker on his car, I’m flagging him down. I’ll beg for an interview and pretend I’m with some highly rated and profitable blog. But in the meantime, if anyone in the area sees a Prius voting for Trump, let me know.

 

Election Sadness

This election, more than any other Presidential cycle in recent memory (although, admittedly, my memory might not be as good as it once was) is just making me sad. Sad. Hopeless. Fearful. And it has zero to do with any of the candidates running. It has everything to do with every day citizens.

We seem to be a country more divided than ever. Not just along party lines. Now there’s sub-categories and sub sub- categories. Racial. Economic. Gender. And more. I feel like I’m living in some version of the Twilight Zone where the sun rises in the west and the skies are yellow instead of blue.

I have seen friendships lost. Family turning on each other. Total strangers behaving badly towards each other. Each side digging in their heels, asserting not only how right they are, but how wrong the other side is. There is no compromise. There is no listening. There is only “I’m right and you’re so wrong that you shouldn’t be in my sight cuz you’re triggering me.”

::sidenote:: “Triggering.” Seriously? Seriously?!

Anyway, I was discussing my growing depression over seeing these displays of hatred toward each other, and I was reminded of a scenario that happened a few years ago. And I fear, I truly fear it is worse this time around.

In my small hometown, we had a school levy a few years ago. The economy was horrible. The school district was asking for more money, while cutting classes, bussing and staff to bare bones in an effort to demonstrate how dire the situation was. On one side, there were those who felt the district was not spending the money wisely. Spend with the students first and foremost. That’s what a school system is supposed to do. One the other side, they felt that cuts from state and federal funding, plus raises and healthcare concerns were the problem.

If you were not for the levy, you were labeled “anti-teacher” and you obviously hate them and the schools. If you were for the levy, you weren’t for the children or the seniors on fixed incomes who were barely holding on because they weren’t getting increases. If you were against the levy, the friends and family who worked for the district would no longer speak to you, defriend you on Facebook and/or Twitter, and suddenly wouldn’t return phone calls. If you were for the levy, you simply couldn’t wrap your head around how anyone could be against it. How? Why? It’s common decency.

As neighbor turned against neighbor, friend against friend, it escalated to threats of violence. I know, because I was on the receiving end of such a threat. Yard signs were stolen and destroyed. Police had to be called over things left on front porches and acts vandalism.

What does this sound like? It sounds like our little school district “levy war” as it was referred to has now exploded over the entire country. Yard signs are stolen. Vandalism and physical violence. Neither side listening. Or they’re listening just to retort. They aren’t hearing. But such is American politics, I suppose. We are a country made up of such vast backgrounds, each of us seeing through our own lenses. It makes it difficult if not impossible sometimes to see it through another lens.

I have my own opinions, based on my life. No one else’s. I can honestly say, I have not only evolved on some of my opinions based on level headed, non-screaming, productive dialogue, but I hope I have been able to do the same. From the displays I’ve seen, not everyone is willing to do that. That makes me sad. I hate seeing people lose friends, not talk to a relative, retreat to listening to msnbc or Alex Jones as their only source of information.

I’m open to dialogue. No name calling. No straw man argument. Just honest dialogue.