Yeah… We get it. The fact that you voted for Trump does not mean that you are sexist… It just means that–for you–the litany of wildly offensive and overtly misogynistic statements he made were not significant enough to disqualify him. And yeah, the fact that you voted for Trump does not make you anti-Muslim… It just means that–for you–a presidential candidate suggesting a registry for an entire religion and implementing a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” was not a big enough deal for you to vote for someone else. And yeah, the fact that you voted for Trump does not mean that you hate Mexicans… It just means that–for you–characterizing Mexicans as criminals and rapists (while admitting that “some, I assume, are good people”) wasn’t really a deal breaker. And yeah, the fact that you voted for Trump does not mean that you are anti-gay… It just means that–for you–his choice of a running mate who is arguably the most anti-gay governor in the country was not that serious a character flaw. And FINE! The fact that you voted for Trump does not make you a racist… It just means that–for you–the fact that Donald Trump removed people from his rallies based on the color of their skin, encouraged violence against Black Lives Matter protesters, and suggested a Federal Judge couldn’t be fair because of his race (among other things) wasn’t a compelling enough reason him to lose your vote. Voting for Trump does not mean you’re a bigot… It just means that you are willing to support a candidate who has the endorsement of every white supremacist group in the nation.
Voting for Trump is like wearing a racist T-shirt and saying you bought it because you liked the color… The message is still the same.
And I realize every candidate is a compromise in some way. Every candidate has faults. My vote for Hillary Clinton was a compromise. She was too cozy with Wall Street. Her interest in People of Color sometimes came across as more political than sincere. She’s more hawkish than I’d like for her to be. And I was willing to compromise those things… Some for the other good things she would bring as a leader, and some because the alternative would have been so much worse. But I promise I wouldn’t have been willing to compromise on a candidate who seemed to embrace the dehumanization of so many vulnerable populations at every turn. For eight years, the republican party has been acting like “compromise” is a four letter word… But the party of “No Compromise” just compromised all over itself. The embracing of Trump just shows the right is willing to compromise on morality and human rights… Where the right refuses to compromise is on economic issues. There is that one shoestring issue of abortion that allows them to try to claim the moral high ground… But if we’re being honest, every other moral issue has been abandoned by the political right in its quest for political power.
And they have it. They have the political power. So for many of the people in the groups I mentioned above–women, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ, People of Color–this can be a scary time. And it is also a scary time for people like me–White, straight, Christian men–who know and love many of those people who are not only feeling outnumbered, but now the people who seem openly hostile to them have all the political power.
So I hope you can understand why some people might be feeling more than a little unsafe. For many, the election of Donald Trump is like confirming the suspicion that you’re living in a country where A LOT of the people are willing to tolerate discrimination, injustice, and oppression if it means them having a chance at getting their better-paying jobs back. And that is a scary message people are receiving. And I hope you can understand why some of us are grieving right now. It’s not just because “our side” lost the election… People are coming to terms with the fact that so many in this country are willing to overlook SO MUCH at the mere chance that an inexperienced, narcissistic, con man’s promises of economic gain might be true. People ARE hurting financially. But seeing so many loved ones–friends and family–willing to embrace an ideology which blames and demonizes people of color, the poor, the immigrant, the OTHER for that hurting… That is enough to shake the very foundations of my belief that we–that humans–are slowly getting better.
And now, people are grieving. Genuinely grieving. And the prevailing sentiment from our friends on the right has been this: Get over it. We are told “You lost–Get over it” by people who fly the flag of a lost Civil War from 150 years ago. A week after a candidate lost an election but won the popular vote, we are told to “accept our new president” by people who spent years spreading birther conspiracies believing President Obama was a Kenyan (one of those people being our President elect). People who swear that they are not misogynistic and sexist are telling us to “Grow a pair” and “Man up!” And we are accused of being too “politically correct” by people who talk about boycotts because their Starbucks cup is the wrong color… Or accused of being too “sensitive” by people who literally lose their shit when someone wishes them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” And in response to the protests around the country, I am hearing people say things like, “You didn’t see us throwing a fit when Obama won,” and posting memes like this:
And we have the President Elect criticizing the actions of “professional protesters” with tweets like this…
Even though, after a different open and fair election, he himself suggested marching on Washington in a tweet from four years ago…
In addition, in some recently-deleted 2012 tweets, Trump wrote “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” (even though Obama DID, in fact, end up winning both the popular vote and the electoral collage vote in the 2012 election versus Romney), as well as writing, “More votes equals a loss… revolution!”
But beyond the bewildering hypocrisy of it all, there is something more sinister to take note of… And it is this: The disturbing trend of equating compassion with weakness. It starts with casting “political correctness” as an enemy… Where a desire for people to treat others with respect turns into something that feels like a tyrannical policing of words and even thoughts. Resentment grows, as people–for so long–feel like they can’t say the things they want to say, make the jokes they want to make, or even admit the feelings they have been feeling. Resentment turns to anger as they are called names: Racist. Sexist. Bigot. And beyond that, they are dismissed as too stupid to “get it.” I am guilty of this. And when these names come out, the other side dismissed this criticisms as “Playing the race card.” If someone on the left points out a place where a person is being victimized, someone on the right accuses people of “Playing the victim.” Meanwhile, no one listens, no one learns, and no one loves. Both side drift further apart… And before long, it seems like EVERYTHING is “playing the race card,” “playing the victim,” political correctness… People start saying things like, “I don’t see color,” and “But we have a black president.” And terms like “hate speech”and “safe space” and “trigger warning” become punchlines to a joke… And I’m left wondering how we can ever get back to a place where we can talk to each other.
But here is the truth: If we get to the point where we look at something as basic and human and good as Compassion and Empathy as signs of weakness, we are in deep, deep trouble.
- Helping someone who needs help is NOT weakness.
- Asking for help is NOT weakness.
- Mourning with those who mourn is NOT weakness.
- Weeping with those who weep is NOT weakness.
- Showing emotion is NOT weakness.
- Showing concern for someone who doesn’t feel safe is NOT weakness.
- Acknowledging that words can hurt people is NOT weakness.
- Empathizing with hurting people is NOT weakness.
- Caring about vulnerable people is NOT weakness.
- Admitting you are afraid is NOT weakness.
Strength is not measured in self-reliance, lack of empathy, and being able to hide/bury emotions. The strength of humanity is not found only in stereotypically masculine traits. We are at our strongest when we are focused on WE instead of just ME, and we are at our most resilient when we are caring for those who need our help. And if you want to know why people are afraid, consider the fact that many of the people who voted for Trump (as well as Trump himself) seem to consider compassion for others as a sign of “weakness.” Talk about an “Unsafe Space.” I can imagine no more dangerous society than one which equates Compassion with “Weakness.” Our strength is not in our thirst for more… Not in our ambition… Not in our power over others. Our greatest strength is our compassion. It is what makes us beautiful, and it is the very image of God in us. So no… I won’t “Man up.” I won’t “Grow some balls.” And no… I won’t get over it.
In West Virginia, a county official named Pamela Taylor wrote a Facebook status that said, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a (sic) ape in heels.” And as a comment on this woman’s status, Beverly Whaling, the Mayor of Clay, wrote, “Just made my day Pam.” I guarantee you that both of these women voted for Trump. This doesn’t mean that everyone who voted for Trump is as racist as these two women… But if you’re NOT, it SHOULD mean that you should be standing up and saying this kind of hatred is not okay. These words are an act of violence against whole groups of people, and there are more each day. I will not be tolerant of your intolerance. And when people vandalize a sign for a Spanish Language Church Service like they did right here…
… It means that I will be standing up and calling bigotry what it is: Bigotry. I will continue to point out white supremacy when I see it. I will not be afraid of the ones who equate compassion with weakness. I will weep with those who weep, and I will mourn with those who mourn. I will do what I can to let people who are hurting and afraid know that I am on their side… Not because I am weak, but because I am strong. And I believe that as we continue to proclaim the strength of compassion, people will be reminded who they are. And what it really means to be human.
One last bit… It doesn’t take much. Yesterday at a gas station, a woman was pumping gas next to me. She had brown skin, and wore a red hijab. I looked at her standing there… A woman. A black woman. A black, Muslim woman. A triple threat. As my van filled up, I walked around to her side of the pump and said, “Hi there.” She jumped a little when I said it. I said, “Are you having a good day?” She said, “Yes… Why do you ask?” I smiled and said, “I’m just checking in. Nice to meet you.” Caring about vulnerable people is NOT weakness. Our compassion… Our empathy… Our LOVE is our strength. And it is the hope for this broken world.
If you love this blog, SUPPORT IT. Boost it on PayPal. Share it! You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. But most of all, take care of each other. Love you guys.
Thanks. A deeply conservative Christian friend shared one of your earlier post election posts, and it really helped this screaming liberal Jew. I needed to know that there are some of you who care about us, and some of you who see why Trump is such an utter betrayal to our vulnerable and to our national ethics. I’m struggling, and hearing you – from such a different place as me – express the problems so well… that helps. Thank you.
Thank you very much. You said it all! I am a Muslim hijabi woman and an immigrant. We are so happy and blessed for people like you. Spread the love. May God bless us all:)
I enjoy all of your articles but this one was especially good. I am right there with you !
You are a voice of reason with a wonderful writing style and a deep understanding of the God who loves us all. Still trying to wrap my mind around how I will react to the next four years if there is not a major “growing up” by Trump. Thank you again !!
Great post. You probably scared the shit out of that woman at the gas station, though 😛
Yup. She was like, “Uh oh…”
But you ask us to boost your blog on PayPal when the head of the company is a big Trump supporter.
Peter Thiel was a founder of PayPal. He no longer works there.
That’s not correct. He founded PayPal, but he sold it. He is no longer involved with the company. He IS still on Facebook’s board…
so boycott facebook? …not that anyone will know i’m boycotting because it won’t be on facebook…(haha) but i will happily quit facebook in solidarity.
Cautiously optimistic here. I’m hoping that all the terrible stuff is an “anchor,” a selling tactic to set the bar for Trump’s performance incredibly low. Bannon and nepotism aren’t very reassuring factors, though. As much as I dislike the Republican Party, especially lately, I think Priebus and Pence are going to be my favorite people in the executive branch for a while.
On a more cheerful note, the Democrats might get their disruption before the GOP, now. If a progressive, such as Keith Ellison (a black Muslim, for the people who measure progress that way), doesn’t get into the party chair, I hope we see a boycott of that party in two years. Change or die. I don’t like progressive policies, but I think progressives are saner people than either the establishment or the Trump people.
You so eloquently explained exactly how I feel. In my short life I am luck enough to never have been sexually assaulted, but 1 in 4 women has been sexually assaulted regardless of age, race, etc. It is now a real fear of mine that the day may come where sexual assault is my reality. At best, Trump supporters would say I’m too ugly for that. At worst, they would condone the assault.
as an empath, i am excellent at compassion and know first hand what a super power it actually is. thank you for reaching out & standing up. i am standing next to you.
They wear those T-shirts because they like the color. And I read your blog because I like the type font. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Seriously, this is an awesome piece and I applaud you for writing it. The “is NOT weakness” list is especially profound. It reminds me of the Beatitudes.
wow, this article seems to be written by a butthurt liberal who’s idea of confrontation is passive aggressive quips to show how bright they are. Do you know why Trump won? It’s because the Liberal agenda sucks. That would include our current failure in office and that trainwreck Killary. I bet you wish you hadn’t rigged the primaries, huh? morons.
Now, what you can do–Rob–is re-read your comment, imagine someone else had written it, and then ask yourself, “What kind of person do I think he is?”
If this were a movie, would the person who just spoke those words be the hero? Or the villain… You’re coming across as the villain, Rob. Is that what you’re shooting for?
Just so you know PayPal supported Trump. Might want to do something about that tiny tidbit at the end. Everything else well said.
I’ve already addressed this. The founder of PayPal endorsed Trump. He sold the company a long time ago…
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You don’t care about the safety of anyone
I discovered your blog just a few days ago–thank you.
You said it all, and so well! Thank you!
Just support his word. Chris is eloquently speaking what we can’t because we are too hurt by the outcome of this election to make sense to people that don’t understand us. I’m so grateful to be able to read some words of reason right now. Thank you!
I know plenty of Trump voters who considered one thing and one thing only: which administration would be more likely to protect those who do good and punish those who do evil. You say you voted for Hillary, so you need to own your vote as well. You voted for someone who would punish those who, because of conscience, might refuse to commercially participate in same-sex marriage. Someone who would punish a pastor/principal of a Christian school who might refuse to hire someone who embraces a perverse and un-Biblical lifestyle because they choose not to expose the children of that school to homosexuality. You voted for someone who not only condones but sanctions through government the wholesale SLAUGHTER of 3000 children Every.Single.Day. You voted for someone who has supported the slaughter of men, women and children in Libya, Syria and throughout the middle east. You voted for someone who has supported the importation of tens of thousands of people who are in no way vetted or cleared for security purposes (A PRIMARY FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT), many of whom seek to steal, kill and destroy. You voted for someone who embraces idolatry when she encourages people to decide for themselves who or what they are, contrary to God’s Word (Genesis 1:27).
See, you have presented an argument based entirely on emotions and knee-jerk reaction to words, all the while ignoring actual evil deeds perpetrated by the candidate of your choice. A candidate that took VERY lightly our national security by using an unsecured email system that was exposed to/hacked by a minimum of five foreign government intel agencies.
While Trump may have made some people feel bad (Hillary has as well, I should add), Hillary promotes policies and agendas that have killed millions.
JF, I voted for neither Trump nor Hillary. When I early-voted here in Tennesse, I wrote-in, “No candidate represents me”. Point being, I’m not at all a Hillary supporter.
However, to be fair with what I see, plenty of those who voted for Hillary likewise “considered one thing and one thing only: which administration would be more likely to protect those who do good and punish those who do evil.” Where Trump-ers and Hillary-ites disagree is on what each believes is “good” and “evil”. A large part of that disagreement roots in what you use as your basis for deciding what is evil and what is good.
You wrote, “You voted for someone who would punish those who, because of conscience, might refuse to commercially participate in same-sex marriage. Someone who would punish a pastor/principal of a Christian school who might refuse to hire someone who embraces a perverse and un-Biblical lifestyle because they choose not to expose the children of that school to homosexuality….. You voted for someone who embraces idolatry when she encourages people to decide for themselves who or what they are, contrary to God’s Word (Genesis 1:27).”
Your last two (“homosexuality” and “idolatry”) if not also the first (“same-sex-marriage”) are defined as “evil” by you because of your choice to believe that a book called the Bible contains “absolutes of good and evil”, and because of your particular interpretations of that book.
In 1860, regarding the election of Lincoln, as a Southern Bible-believer who sincerely interpreted the Bible to condone slavery and forbid miscegenation, you might have written, “You voted for someone who would punish those who, because of conscience, might refuse to commercially participate in mixed-race marriage. Someone who would punish a pastor/principal of a Christian school who might refuse to hire someone who embraces a perverse and un-Biblical lifestyle because they choose not to expose the children of that school to racial integration….. You voted for someone who resists God-ordained civil authority when she encourages people to abolish slavery, contrary to God’s Word (Rom. 13:1-5)). If you were writing about the 1860 election, you might well have defined mixed-marriage, school integration, and protest against slavery as “evil”. I doubt you share the belief that those are evils now, though, do you?
Likewise, not all share your basis for your beliefs, nor define “evil and good” as you do. In fact, to them ,YOU are the one doing evil, to homosexuals. In their conscience, treating homosexuals any differently than anyone is “evil” For them, a vote for Hillary meant a vote for protecting innocent people and for punishing those who unjustly harm them.
In your own mind, of course, “your way” is The Right-and-Truth. But, at least try to realize that those who see differently than you are also sincerely seeking to do what in their minds is “good” and “for the protection of others”
-applause- Our partisan division is deep, and many cannot understand the other side as anything but evil, to the point that some even attempt to ostracize the “enemy” and put them out of work. Whether Trump had won or not, we would still be dealing with this problem, and I think it will prove to be more troublesome and persistent than the new symptom-in-chief. I’m glad to see someone else attempting to tackle the problem directly where it’s found.
As humans, we’re not as rational as we prefer to believe we are. Even when we glibly lip-serve the cliche’, “we’re not much better than animals”, we don’t really want to admit we aren’t. We may spout ideals about compassion, equity, unselfishness, charitableness, tolerance, justice, or brotherhood, but, human survival instinct is wired such that, when it finally comes down to what’s perceived as an “it’s me-and-my-family or them”, we naturally chose me-and-my family.
Societies and individuals may have varying levels of what are perceived as threats, but, inevitably “me-and-mine” motivate: for example, for all your (sincere and commendable) criticism of your own “whilte privilege”, have you given away your home, your car, all your belongings, and all your income to those who are under-privileged and been content to live with your kids on the street? Others may feel the “threat” much more severely and react more “self-ly” — as in, “I work hard for what I have, so no damned welfare system is going to take it from me to give to some worthless, lazy bastards!” Bu ultimately, you just as they are reacting with that instinct to protect “me-and-mine”. It’s human wiring. And, our wiring is the root of the “evils”. For all our self-consciousness, ability to rationalize, choose, and, reason…our mammal instincts are stronger. Heck, we’re so majorically instinct-motivated that even use our ability to reason for justifying our instinct-led behaviors.
Humanity is not any better, no, but, neither are we any worse than we’ve ever been as a species. Human history is a pendulum-swinging, rollercoastering of compassion, equality, giving, unity, fairness, prejudice, hate, oppression, discrimination; those behaviors and attitudes ebb and flow but the same ol’ ocean remains. because, our human wiring remains the same.
So, the forest fire will always be burning. At and among places, times, conditions, more widely and furiously, while other times and places substantially lower, but, never and not able to be extinguished. Not as long as we’re humans with our wired survival instincts for “me-mine”.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep striving to temper instinctive behavior by rational choices. But, realize you can’t change humanity — you can only reduce the fire a little bit in a little place for a little time. Until we can safely and effectively literally rewire our species, the ocean of humanity driven by mammal instinct remains.
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