I’m nothing without compassion. If you keep up with my writing on Medium, you’re one of, like, two people. But you’ll remember that I posted an article about how my formerly feminist mother chose to vote for Donald Trump.
I don’t want to get into politics on this blog. Hell, I don’t want to get into politics ever. But at this point, nearly a week after the election results, I do want to talk about compassion.
This is a busy day for me. I had some surprise expenses come up this month, so I spent the weekend driving for Uber like a crazy person to put together my bills. More than likely I’ll be driving for Uber this evening (and the next couple days, as well). I also need to film, edit, and upload today’s episode of the Single AF Podcast. Further, I need to record and upload for a collab I’m part of.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m attempting to design five t-shirts every day until the new year? I’ve failed on it terribly so far. But maybe today will be the day.
Today is also November 14, which means at some point, I’ll be calling my mom to wish her a happy birthday. I don’t know how long we’ll talk. No idea what we’ll talk about. Part of me hopes she doesn’t answer so I can leave a voicemail.
But she’s still an important person in my life. She still taught me all the things I value about myself. Including compassion. I have to call her.
We done fucked up, y’all
This election season has ripped a hole in my life in a lot of ways. It’s torn a lot of us apart. Families are dissolving, friendships are ending, and nobody really knows what to do or say. Except “fuck.”
Needless to say, the political fallout of the 2016 election season has decimated and devastated.
No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, though, we need to remember compassion. We have to value our fellow human beings. Now more than ever we have to maintain our empathy and our humanity. People have to take care of each other.
I’ve read a lot of posts this week that frankly lack compassion from both sides. Conservatives are telling the rest of us to “get over it already” and laughing at others’ pain and fear. That’s not right. Those of us who lost this election season are refusing to talk to friends and family who supported Trump. That’s not right, either.
I don’t think we did a good job of waking people up to the issues and the candidates’ stances on them. Nobody talked about Mike Pence until after he’d won. He was largely ignored because Trump was an easy target. I don’t know if my mom would have voted the same way if she’d known. She may have changed her mind if I’d told her that Pence wants to take funding away from HIV/AIDS programs to pay for conversion therapy.
But I didn’t. I failed. We all did.
I’m not going to ask her whether it would have made a difference or whether she regrets it now. All I’m concerned about is the future. I’m worried about increasing police brutality, mass deportations, gay couples being jailed for applying for marriage licenses, and the trans* community’s access to public bathrooms.
This election has opened our eyes to major issues a lot of us had turned a blind eye to. It has put privilege, racism, sexism, and power dynamics front row and center in the national conversation. There are opportunities here.
There’s a certain bitter taste in my mouth over realizing my civil liberties could be in jeopardy. I knew the fight wasn’t over. Don’t think that I took it for granted when gay marriage was legalized, even for a day. The shootings in Orlando reminded us all that the LGBTQ community is still perched precariously on the mercy of the majority.
If majority opinion shifts, so too does our ability to live our lives in the open.
This election – the events on Tuesday night – called everything we thought we knew into question. That’s the world we’ve been living in. It’s the world of 2007. We didn’t want to live in that world again. That’s why the backlash has been so intense.
Compassion: Why I’ll still call my mom today
Our community still has options. We can move forward with compassion and understanding. Each of us can take the time to drum up support for all the minorities who are under threat now.
I’m going to call my mom because I know that as soon as anybody comes for me, she’ll be beside me with her 20-gauge. And I choose to take comfort in that because the likelihood of it happening seems to increase every time I read the news.
Let’s do what we can to stop it. It’s time to make some serious progress as a society – either with the government or despite it. But I know that I want my family and my friends by my side. Even the ones who have hurt me over the last year.
Happy birthday, mom.
This post is part of a 5-week blogging challenge from the Crazy4Blogging Facebook group.