I was taught, growing up, that one did not discuss religion, sex, or politics in polite company. Definition of “polite company” aside, I still ascribe to this. Unfortunately, the world does not.
Everyone has an opinion these days and is quick to share it. Vehemently. Righteously. Worse, it seems that subscribing to a differing viewpoint is, more oft’ than not, perceived as personal attack.
How dare you like the color blue? Blue is for losers! People who like blue are dangerous to those of us who love yellow! Blue lovers are immoral; it should be illegal!
Seems ridiculous, but replace the word blue, with one of the hot button issues today and all of a sudden it reads like Fox News.
Where am I going with this? (Unless you live under a rock, none of this is a revelation.)
I have a friend. We’re not close, but I’ve known him for years. He’s conservative, down to earth, a little rough around the edges. I have always considered him a kind and generous person. I have absolutely no doubt that if I showed up on his doorstep tomorrow, in trouble, he would do everything in his power to help me out. Despite that it’s been a while, regardless of the fact that he doesn’t have much to share. He wouldn’t hesitate.
What this election has taught me is that he’s also racist and sexist. Not simply because he supports an unnamed candidate, but because the campaign has given him an outlet to express those -ists publicly.
And I’m heartbroken.
A year ago if you had asked me, I would have told you without reservation that he was a good person, because he treated me well. My personal experience defined my opinion.
I can’t say that anymore; I’d be contributing to those –ists.
It’s like saying because I don’t witness racism in my very gentrified neighborhood, that it doesn’t exist anywhere. That my exposure (from a place of privilege) supersedes someone else’s reality.
This election is a nightmare. However, it’s taught me a lot. About the people around me. About myself. About how I have contributed, unwittingly, to the disenfranchised.