I did not vote for Donald Trump. But I am far from innocent.

August 18, 2017

Dear ones,

I’ve started this post five or six times, each time I am at a loss for words.  My heart and my soul grieve.

How is this happening again? What have we done?

When ‘45’ publicly sympathized with Neo Nazi’s I was stunned. Stunned, but not surprised. I’m not proud of this, but my first reaction was one of superiority- “See?! We told you this guy was terrible! I bet they really feel like shit for voting for him.” I practiced what I would say the next time I saw a Republican family member or friend, the snide comments I would make. I took great pleasure in imagining exactly how I wanted to make them to feel- ashamed, remorseful, embarrassed.

 

It has taken me a few days to calm down. I’m still learning how to love properly. I’m sorry.

 

The thing is, I did not vote for Donald Trump.

But I am far from innocent.

 

I have decades of Thanksgiving dinners, family events, and Saturday morning brunches where I didn’t say something.  An off color comment here. A questionable joke there. I let “respect” or “I don’t want to make it weird” get in the way.

 

I march.

I write.

I volunteer.

How did this happen? I stayed silent when it really mattered.

 

I donate to the ACLU.

I read books by progressive authors.

I majored in Anthropology and Women’s Studies.

What have I done? I opted for a silent, thin lipped, stare.

 

Responding to hate with more hate, or with moral superiority will never fix this. But neither will pretending not to hear ignorant comments, opting instead to “keep the peace”.

 

I am sorry.

 

I am sorry for my silence when my voice may have had the most impact. I am sorry for putting the totality of the blame on “them”, and not seeing how I am complicit in allowing hate, injustice, or simple ignorance, to grow. I am sorry for focusing on how my liberal, and oh-so-progressive opinions make me a more enlightened thinker, and less on actually responding to veiled racism and fear around the dinner table.

 

I will confront.

I will confront, not with shaming, but with love.

 

Always with love,

Alyse

 


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2 Comments

  • Reply Silent September 28, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Silence, there is nothing wrong with silence my whole life I have lived in silence but that doesn’t mean I don’t stand up for what I believe is right nor does it make me feel bad about myself I think that actions speak louder than words therefore I preform action rather than just talk about something. You do all these other things that mean way more than any word could describe and you reach out to people in ways that speak louder than words.

    • Reply alyseelin October 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      I love this. I absolutely love this. And I think you are so right, actions speak volumes over words. For me, what I have found is that I am silent out of nicety or a desire not to make someone else angry. But I cannot let that fear get in the way of saying what I believe, or to you point, taking action for my beliefs. Thank you for your comment- I so hope you are well.

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