Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Political Climate, Going Viral and Coming Together
In case you didn't notice, there was an election in the US last week. And all hell has broken loose. And anything I can say will barely skirt all the issues, but I feel like it is important for the piece I really DO have something to say about, as background, if you will.
The candidate who won said a number of horrible things during the election about Mexican immigrants (and even about a few US born Mexican Americans—for instance a judge he said was not trustworthy on an issue because of his heritage). He said some horrible things about Muslim Americans and Muslim immigrants. He made some aspersions about Black Americans, unable to go to any subject from bringing up black people except “inner city problems”. As if black people are not more diverse and their problems and issues more varied than that. He made a lot of derogatory remarks about women, suggesting they were worthless unless they were pretty. He said some of the women accusing him of sexual assault “were not pretty enough” to sexually assault—as if if they were pretty he would have, but less attractive women were not worth even that. He bragged about sexually assaulting women, claimed he gets away with it because he's a celebrity.
But on the other side there have been many many incidents of people emboldened by the hateful rhetoric doing hateful things. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented hundreds of cases, some of them in elementary and middle schools, causing children to fear their parents would be deported, or direct hateful acts or speech to the kids. My own story falls in this category but is just one of HUNDREDS if not thousands.
If you have an incident to report, go here.
A post about this went viral Thursday (more about that shortly) so you may have seen this previously, though I am giving a bit more detail here, as I know more than the brief text from my daughter which was the basis of my original Facebook post. Plus there has been followup.
She ran. She was worried she would be dragged into that house with the four of them so she ran back to her boyfriend's apartment and when he got home from class they went to the police station. She was warned it would be her word against the four boys, so it was likely all that would happen was a warning, but it would be on record and they would be warned.
And I shared how traumatized she was, and me, by extension, on Facebook and proceeded to have the very bizarre experience of going viral.
When I shared I had a couple friends ask if they could share, and I said they could. I felt like hearing the story of a friend would be more real to some people, so I said they could... but it ended up shared and shared and shared... Almost 700 times.
At first people were very supportive. They sent love, and were compassionate. A few people were ruffled because I did call for conservative friends to try to police their own, and they said this was not conservative behavior... I get it. It isn't. But it IS behavior directly reflective of the conservative candidate saying “I just grab em by the pussy”. I was calling on people to make it clear that this behavior is not acceptable from that side and to ask their candidate to condemn it in sharp terms.
But anyway... Overnight strangers began to show up. And BOY HOWDY, do I now know what Internet trolls are about. The most common response was “this didn't happen”, but I even got accused of trying a ploy for my 15 minutes of fame. I was lectured about not going to the police (she did), told she needed to fight back (statistics show running is safer if it is a possibility). But it was frankly exhausting. Total life of its own
We are in desperate need of some unity... of supporting each other in spite of differences. Of making a stand to stand up for people being mistreated. Of defending peaceful processes and condemning violence. I don't believe I am alone here. I think we can disagree on politics and still commit to caring for each other—for ALL others.
Here is some history on something similar done during World War II.
For the record, here is a really good link on what “doing it right” means.
By day I work in an office dedicated to inclusion, which by definition connects to “climate”. It is my goal that enough people wear these that people who fear victimization look around and feel a little safer, and that people who might victimize others look around and know they will not get away with it.
There are also unity rallies, all over.
Please commit to not letting hate stand. To defending our fellow human beings and to calming what could end up really ugly if it continues to escalate.