Am I losing it you guys?
I feel like I’m losing it.
This primary cycle is starting to make me crazy. I’m doing my best to focus on things like cute little baby girl clothes (rompers with heart patterns help a little, I think), or reading books about societies far scarier than our present one (see The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe and/or 12 Years a Slave as examples of things that make me sicker to my stomach than Donald Trump and his followers), but it doesn’t seem to be working, because I just keep coming back to this loud, bigger-than-I-wish-for population of people who just hate whole segments of their fellow man.
COME ON HUMANS. We are better than that.
I keep trying to think of ways in which I’m jaded, but I’m still having a hard time. Yes, I am (so very obviously) white. I’m from Connecticut. I have a comfortable home and a good job, and I went to college. But then also:
I live in Chicago. It’s a segregated, often violent place with its share of problems. It’s also the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen, a place where every single day I see people of one million different ethnic and religious and economic groups (maybe slightly less) living and working together, because that’s the reality. It’s not perfect- it’s so entirely far from it, but it’s diverse. The violence makes me angry, yes, but it doesn’t make me want to hate people. It makes me want to figure out how we fix it.
I grew up in a time where college costs so much money, it’s ridiculous. I graduated 10 years ago, and I’ve got student loan payments for the next five years, still. And they’re a lot. And that’s a system that’s broken and needs to be fixed. But it doesn’t make me hate anyone, even when people tell me I’m an ungrateful millennial who doesn’t want to work hard (although I haven’t not had a job for one second since I walked out of college graduation).
I’m a woman (obvious, I think). There are people out there whose political message is that I should stay home with my babies (never, you guys, I’d be the worst) and that law should tell me what I can and can’t do with my uterus. That thinking birth control should be covered by insurance (which I pay for) means I’m somehow promiscuous and that it’s unthinkable that I should believe that we should have government supported maternity leave so that taking 12 weeks off to be with my babies isn’t so stressful (again, I’m lucky, I have the means to make up the difference). I think we can do better as a society. But this doesn’t make me hate people.
My point is, everyone has something to gripe about. It’s easy to focus on where you’re getting the short end of the stick.
I think it’s fair to get angry, chickadees. I get that people with high school educations haven’t had a raise in decades, and that people are trying to make ends meet and feed their families and pay their bills. It’s fair to be mad because change isn’t happening fast enough.
But it’s not fair to take that anger out on other Americans who are trying to do the same thing. People of different races, immigrants, Muslims- they’re not the enemy, you guys. They’re just another segment of Americans, trying to do the same thing all of us are.
Hatred is such a bad look on all of us.
And I’m exhausted by watching what I assume to be otherwise good, decent people fall prey to the easy way out. Let’s point fingers and blame other hardworking people. Let’s say it’s their fault. Let’s demonize religions or races or educated people. Let’s blame someone else. Let’s insist they just get out already, because then America will be great again.
When we try to just get people out, chickens, we have bad marks on our American history record. We have Japanese internment camps and segregation. We have trails of tears and Jim Crow laws. We have freaking slavery, you guys. Historically, hatred and oppression embarrass us. I cannot point to one single time that Americans have discriminated against a segment of our population only to look back and say, “Yeah you guys, we were right about that one.”
And so in the next weeks, I’m going to try and focus on the positive, because otherwise I’m going to go crazy, but I think we need to address this. I think we need to keep saying, not me, I don’t agree, because right now even though I know in my heart that the majority of Americans don’t believe this nonsensical rhetoric, I don’t think we’re getting loud enough about it. It’s not acceptable to let people think that it’s okay. That doesn’t make me radical. It makes me kind and decent.
And with that, I’m off to start my day, which includes the most powerful thing I can do about this election: vote in it. If you’re in Illinois, I hope you’ll join me at the ballots today.