Courtesy of The Honking Goose who wrote a great post called “why Not My President is Not My Protest” Click to read the whole thing, its an encouraging bit of dialog. Included is an enlightening video called “why the poorest county in West Virgina has faith in Donald Trump.” Watch it, it’s eye-opening.
I’m a great fan of discussion, debate, talking our way through things, so it’s somewhat discouraging to be in what I now humorously call day ten of the hostage situation. People I know, friends, family, acquaintances, continue their onslaught of rhetoric on facebook, protesting the election, calling it stolen, labeling everyone in America a racist, sexist, uneducated, rape enabler, a general all-purpose hater.
People have now taken to wearing safety pins on their shirt, in protest about “no longer feeling safe,” and I’m beginning to grow annoyed, offended, angry perhaps, because for many years now I haven’t felt safe at all, I’ve felt more like an abuse victim trapped in a bad relationship. Where’s my safe place?
How can I speak about the things that matter to me, poverty, foreclosures, suicide, the meth and heroin epidemic, homelessness, unemployment, families, faith? I haven’t been able to for many years. I’ve been effectively silenced. I began this blog a few years ago, as “wailing impotently into cyberspace..” feeling completely silenced, so alone, devoid of all hope. Abused.
I live about as far away from West Virginia as it is possible to get and yet I can so relate to every one of those people. People have been suffering greatly all around me and often when trying to speak of that pain, they have been slapped down and dismissed. That’s what it’s been like here, too. I call it Gaslighting, 1944, Ingrid Bergman.
Gaslighting is when you psychologically abuse someone to the point where they doubt their own sanity. It’s simple really, you do this by repeatedly denying their reality and telling them they’re just perceiving things wrong. Soon they begin to doubt their own perceptions and to endlessly question themselves until they don’t even know who they are anymore. Now that’s abuse.
So when people are hurting, when they are growing poorer by the day, when they are losing their homes, their jobs, their communities, that is a really bad time to tell them to “watch their privilege.” It’s an extra slug in the gut to hear how you’re just ignorant because the economy is actually thriving and unemployment rates have declined. To drive the knife in a bit farther, now call them a racist. And then for the final death blow…. tell them that the Affordable Care Act is the best thing since sliced bread and it didn’t really leave them completely uninsured and now thousands of dollars in debt.
This country has a bright future, we have the ability to make some real progress, to build some peace and opportunity for the greatest number of people, but in order for that to happen people need to start listening to one another. That means some are going to have to set down their “not my president” protests and their rhetoric about hatred and start talking to those who have been watching this whole thing play out for a long time now.