Home > Communication, Love, Parenting, politics > Let it shine

Let it shine

Yesterday morning, my seven-year-old son heard my husband, Anthony, and I talking about election results.

“What happened?” asked Li’l D.

“Trump won the presidency,” we explained to him.

He looked stricken.

“Oh, sweetie,” I said. “I know you’ve heard a lot of terrible things at school. But, you know what? Lots of people you love voted for Trump.”

Anthony and I listed these people, and emphasized how much they love him and are committed to protecting him and keeping him safe.

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See? Punisher! Wait, no ...

Many people are afraid right now.

Some of that fear is very reasonable, particularly for minorities. Some Trump supporters hold bigoted beliefs, and some portion of those feel enabled by Trump’s victory.

But some of that fear was carefully cultivated by the DNC, which very intentionally elevated Trump’s candidacy–and fear about his supporters–starting early 2015 to improve Clinton’s chances of victory.

On both sides, fear has been used to divide and conquer us.

I wrote this morning about why I would have voted for Trump were there only two choices. I hope you’ll read the post and consider the possibility that some of what you’ve learned has been wrong.

(I’ve spent the last six months doing this, and it’s been painful to understand how my ignorance has helped hurt people. You’ve seen some of that in anger that’s sometimes bled through here, less at anyone else and more at myself that it took me so very, very long to see.)

Please don’t categorize people as “self” and “other” right now. Resist the urge, as I must personally be vigilant about doing right now.

Please, please listen to each other, hear each other, stand up for each other–even if your voice or knees shake–and fight against the fear machine.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.

Take that love and let it shine, because that love translated to action is quite literally what it’ll take to save this world for our children.

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  1. November 10, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Watching and waiting here.
    Sadly, on this side of the world I have already heard from one individual who felt empowered by his victory to spew offensiveness.
    Time will tell.
    And yes, I do worry that a man who I have seen with anger control issues, who seems to believe that attack is the first line of defence, will have the power that is vested in your Presidency.

    • November 10, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      After the last few years, I no longer believe the “polite” evil is the better or less destructive evil. It’s evil all the same, and its quiet stealth leads it to destroy in ways that people not impacted directly can readily dismiss.

      I tried to explain this to a liberal White man right after I restarted my Twitter account. He blocked me, because obviously the loud evil is more heinous and destructive than the quiet one.

      (No.)

  2. November 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Oh, Deb. I am so grateful you were able to put into words what’s in my heart.

    “On both sides, fear has been used to divide and conquer us.” So few people seem to realize the scale of the manipulation that is happening. This day will end better because of you. Much love.

    • November 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      I read this book The Shock Doctrine that helped me appreciate how much destruction has been wrought by the U.S. abroad, often under a genteel veneer. The book describes how disaster–often intentionally constructed–has been cultivated to create “opportunity” for a very small segment of the U.S. population.

      Watching everything unfold the last few weeks, I’ve been greatly concerned about having the same principles applied within U.S. borders. I feel that the people who fail to recognize humanity in one population in one country won’t easily recognize humanity in another, even their native one. And I now see that it’s a bipartisan thing … so that I look at what unites us and see that it’s much, much more vast than what does not, I fear the consequences of people failing to see as people the very human beings in front of them. Failure to do so is a truly bipartisan affair.

      So … I want to see love where it is, celebrate it, and recognize that it’s a nonpartisan thing. Truly.

      Love you, lady. ♥

  3. November 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Indeed, fear is going to be heightened for the next few weeks until things settle and shake themselves out. I’ve already talked with my daughter and explained that Trump won because the people made that happen. There are always going to be individuals that are offensive, feel vindicated to act inappropriately, and generally be a poor example of a fellow human being.

    I’m choosing (wrote about it today) to be positive and grant the respect and benefit of the doubt for our new President until I’m given evidence to think and treat him otherwise. Going off the deep end, like, trying to get people to endorse a seccesion from the United States, is just a waste of time. More of us just need to relax and take things one day at a time.

    • November 10, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      My hope is that people shake themselves out quickly! I can’t even begin to express how The Shock Doctrine has shaken me. The fact that people didn’t read this and go “boo, hiss, Hillary detractor!” both surprises me and fills me with hope. If we shake this off and find common ground, there’s hope for our kids yet. 🙂

      And YES for taking things one day at a time! Everyone still hyperventilating now about what happened Tuesday has missed some very positive developments today. There’s hope yet!

  4. November 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    My opinions of Trump were formed by the words that have come out of his very own mouth. Nothing has changed, and those that supported and voted for him have unleashed something we may not be able to fix. 😦

    • November 10, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      I’ve encountered this over and over again the last few months. I don’t mean this meanly, and I’m trying not to construct this in a way that will come off cruelly.

      The fact is that Reagan laid the groundwork for extraordinary destruction of non-elite citizens. Bill Clinton built upon that readily, with the assistance of his wife; the havoc they wreaked together was … breathtaking. But they did so under a veneer of respectability that fooled those who, per Christopher Hitchens, wanted to be lied to.

      The horrors that Hillary Clinton have wreaked are unquantifiable. Truly. But my friends are, far and wide, unable to see them because she worked them while smiling. She took millions of dollars from gay- and woman-crushing tyrannies because it benefited her corporation. She and Bill honored repressive dictators. Hillary straight up precipitated the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, at the very, very least … but because she did so while smiling, and using polite language, it’s excusable.

      So now I tell people that I am PISSED OFF by Hillary Clinton and her subversive reign of terror, and they gasp, “I don’t like your tone!” Turns out I don’t like genocide, and one of these things is far, far worse than the other.

      But then, if you read the post I linked, all of this would be made abundantly clear.

      Again, my goal in expressing these horrid things is not to hurt anyone’s heart, though I accept that as an inevitable consequence. My goal is to ensure THAT GENOCIDE STOPS and, per my post on my other blog today, the only way for that to occur is if genteel White people in the U.S. realize that their insistence on their comfort murders hundreds–on a good day–of people worldwide every. day. That is the legacy of the Clintons, and one that would’ve almost certainly been expanded greatly under Hillary Let’s-Bomb-For-More-Oil Clinton.

      Trump is just a symptom of what Clintonism has wrought. Folks who go, “But Trump is so outright BAD!” are losing their minds over vandalism while the real villains perpetrate genocide. And that’s exactly why I would’ve voted for Trump: because people won’t allow themselves to recognize evil that comes to them with a smile.

      The horror that my husband and other Black men have had to face for decades is now one that White people with the privilege of having turned away before are starting to see vague glimmerings of. So when other White people talk about “something we may not be able to fix,” I understand them to be saying, “I’m horrified by this truth that I didn’t realize has existed forever!”

      My hope is that people will not be horrified by the darkness they now might suspect existed all along, but instead be galvanized to ensure it. does. not. spread.

      Right now, I thank all that’s holy in all the universes that might exist that the Clintons have been–despite a billion dollars spent and virtually every breakable law broken–denied the White House. The additional horror they would have wrought while White people looked on going, “They’re so nice!” would almost certainly have pushed us right over the precipice, with countless people very intentionally none the wiser.

      I want better for my children, for all children, and the ONLY way that will happen is that we recognize evils that come under both heinous and genteel visage.

      My husband, to whom I read this aloud, suggests I end this on a gentler note. “We will protect you,” he says, and that’s true. We will protect all whom we love, and those whom we don’t love, because our window in which to fix our erroneous, hurtful ways is diminishing rapidly. That’s why I’m thankful for Trump’s election (though Anthony points out HE, who wanted Bernie, is not): Trump has granted us an opportunity to band together quickly to repair ourselves and the world that would have been lost–catastrophically–had genteel evil instead “graced” the White House.

      • November 10, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        You don’t have to sell me on Hillary’s evils. Like your husband I was a very strong Bernie supporter and still feel he is our only hope, if we can even survive 4 years until then. I hope my friends and loved ones will protect me, I will certainly do everything I can to protect them. You could be right that electing an outwardly bigoted person could force everything to a head. I have never been in denial about the racism in this world. I have always been appalled by it. I have been disowned and written out of the will by my grandmother for dating and loving people of color. I don’t care. I don’t want anything she has to offer if it comes with those kind of strings. I have nothing to do with her. Trump being elected has only fueled that hatred and sanctioned it. Those that have been sort of keeping it under wraps feel totally vindicated in letting their racism and bigotry out of the closet. Civil unrest is already happening, and I fear no matter our vigilance we won’t be able to protect everyone. People are going to get hurt. The problem that I think you are having trouble seeing is that there is quite the large number of people who don’t want to fix it the way we do. They would be happy to be rid of us and have it their way. 😦

        • November 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm

          I see that not everyone has that hope or wish. I definitely do. But I also see great good in many, many people’s hearts that I believe deserves calling out to, and that that goodness will shine if/when given the chance, such as by presentation of very, very clear malice. My childhood, after all, informed me that people will go to great lengths to not see anything short of the clearest, plainest evil.

          For me, the fault of Trump’s ascendancy will always lie with the DNC, which worked to elevate Trump beginning early 2015. Their elevation–and accentuation of everything horrific he did for their own intended benefit–fanned the flames in ways they ought have reasonably expected. Alas, they failed to anticipate any conclusion other than Hillary’s election–really, to consider any alternative conclusions. This is similar to U.S. (=Hillary’s) actions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, where we devastated entire countries and peoples with hopes for glorious conclusion … but without any adequate planning whatsoever for alternative outcomes. We planned the destruction, but not the reconstruction. (“What happens if they don’t greet us as liberators?! What happens if they don’t want our culture? Naaah–we don’t need to worry about it, because the depth of our wishing for their resources will make our wishes come true!” Gah.)

  5. mgbmdri
    November 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I can’t compose the right kind of comment I want but I wanted to say I appreciate that you can write a civil and intelligent post on this subject. Lots of people are emotionally volatile right now so to have someone calm in the midst is refreshing. I’m Canadian and not as informed on US politics, though I try. Trump terrifies me but I see your point of view. Rather the evil that’s in your face than the one that’s sugar coated. I just hope too much damage isn’t done to the US and the world with him in office. There’s a lot of terrifying things happening to people already. There are some that are smugly sitting and turning their back on the US. “You made your bed, you have to lie in it.” “Series finale of America.” I personally am sick of that sort of view. It doesn’t mean you just give up on a country. You stand by people and help them. Boost them up and do what you can to bring positive action. I don’t know, I’m rambling now, forgive me. I’m just glad there are people like you out there speaking out on it.

    • November 11, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      I have my moments of volatility, certainly, though they’re becoming fewer and further between. In one moment, I actually called several of my friends monsters after they celebrated their votes for Hillary; I knew they weren’t rejecting everything I’d spoken of after my copious research, but it still felt like they were celebrating the enormously sorrowful acts she’s worked. Of course, the moment passed about four minutes later, but it didn’t pass without tumult. I’m glad to have quickly gained my senses and realized that all those people, my friends, were doing what they could with what they had. In my case, I grew up in such terrible dysfunction that I have a higher tolerance for certain pains than do my friends. That’s not anything bad about them, but a reflection of what I had to endure.

      So, the lashing out was illuminating, and a reminder that I want to try to not lash out as often as possible. Oh, sure, I’ll be angry, because my country’s actions have wrought such horror that I still can barely fathom it, but that doesn’t mean I ought attack any particular person … particularly when I want people to open up and to start talking about these difficult, complex matters, finding their own vocabularies and discovering that dissent on opinions is not the same as faulting an entire human!

      Wow, did I digress. 🙂

      I’m glad for your comment, which wasn’t rambly at all. I appreciate your weighing in and trying to figure it out in community, because we were indeed built to be communal creatures. We’ll always suffer when we try to deny that, or place limitations on it.

      Many thanks. ♥

  6. November 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    So well said…

  7. Angie
    November 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I have to have faith that he will change things for the good. It’s the unknown that’s scary. The day after the election, our kindergarten students (I work in Santa Ana) all came in very scared. Same were saying,”My mom and dad have to go back to Mexico.” It is a terrible thing! It’s a scary thing of what can happen. Right now, I pray that the Lord guides him and our nation can work together. It’s scary. I can’t believe how so many people have pure hated for other people. Its not about Hilary anymore. It’s how this man will run our country. My mother and husband were illegal immigrants, I can’t imagine thinking they can be gone one day. The unknown is scary. In the 90’s, he was more liberal. I pray some of that is still in his heart. I love that you did research and found out more but really Trump basically wants to do the same. I pray I am wrong.

    • November 12, 2016 at 1:04 am

      I have two very different responses to your comment, which I’m grateful you left.

      One part bears opening and closing the comment with, so I’ll start there: I am so saddened and horrified by what your students and their families are going through. I’m saddened by the plight of many who currently have no idea what the future holds. I’m hopeful that people who have become complacent–with governmental nudging, as we now know from WikiLeaks–will rise up to support their brothers and sisters, rejecting neoliberal me-me-meism to protect all for global better.

      I’ve actually begun volunteering with immigrants recently, and have considered toying with taking the Bar specifically to act in a representative capacity someday. Though the horrors I faced in youth were a different set of horrors, that I experienced them informs the fact I want more people more safe, right now and always.

      Apart from all of this, you know I (we!) love you and yours to pieces.

      Which is all preface to: I meant what I said about the sleight of hand performed by President Obama. Virtually everything we fear from Trump, President Obama is already doing. He smiles and says one thing while deporting record numbers of immigrants from the country. As the wives of pedophiles I had the misfortune of meeting in youth demonstrated, people are often emotionally invested in seeing the kindness and protecting themselves from the implications their whole worldview is skewed and potentially built upon lies of kindness. What I experience in youth, I have been shocked and horrified to see exploited by politicians–equally Republican and Democrat!–today.

      This is the subject of a post I’ve half written for tomorrow. I’m doing a daily post challenge on my other blog, where I’ve dedicated a huge amount of time to explaining what I’ve witnessed the last few months. Treatment of immigrants is literally the first point I address, because it’s so horrific.

      Obama has literally deported more immigrants than any other president in history. We’re talking more than GWB here, by a significant margin. Detention conditions have been atrocious.

      We haven’t noticed this as ordinary citizens because media is no longer independent from government, which is (1) quite intentional and (2) reaches back in ways that truly make my skin crawl.

      One of the people who had a most devastating impact on immigration? Appalling Bill Clinton, who is, was, and has always been part of a two-man team involving his appalling wife. There’s no way to address the extent of this in one comment, but I touched upon it in a post on my other blog:

      George H.W. Bush refused to let Haitian refugees go through standard asylum process. While Cubans were routinely granted asylum, only 11 of 25,000 Haitians were allowed into the country. The remaining Haitians were returned home or held at Guantanamo. Writes Nathan J. Robinson in Superpredator: Bill Clinton’s Use & Abuse of Black America, “Because Guantanamo was not U.S. soil, detaining people was thought to avoid the triggering of legal procedural protections that may have been granted to those who were actually being held in the country.”

      Bill Clinton promised to take a kinder approach to Haitian refugees. Instead, before inauguration, he announced his intention to continue Bush’s approach. He made some critical changes, though: he began testing them for AIDS, and then segregated those who tested positive from those who tested negative. The conditions in the HIV detention camp were appalling, with prisoners in tiny cells being fed maggot-laden food and deprived of critical medicine.

      When asked why the administration withheld medicine, an INS spokesman said, “They’re going to die anyway, aren’t they?”

      The camps were finally after two years when human rights lawyers intervened.

      There’s more to the post in which I wrote this, which you can find here: https://learningtospeakpolitics.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/the-source-of-true-power/

      (The book Superpredator gives a much more comprehensive overview of all this, and the myriad ways Team Clinton grossly subverted human rights while smiling wide and capturing everyone with those smiles.)

      Even when Hillary revealed her dream of “hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders” to bankers, the words sound much, much kinder than anyone who hasn’t read The Shock Doctrine might realize them to mean. The “open borders” the Clintons have favored are ones with breathtakingly destructive impact. Honduras, in which Clinton had a particularly informative, catastrophic role, is a perfect reflection of this: You open the borders to corporations to diminish their labor costs, and c’est la vie to the devastation rained on workers as a result. Literally, Team Clinton could equally be described as co-captains of Team Neoliberal, which is a fancy way of saying “those with wealth and power who worship ‘free markets’ as gorgeous because they can earn so much money for them, as poor people subsequently, literally starve and die.”

      There’s a lot more to it, but the gist is this: I have spent the last couple months in a state of shock–only now subsiding–over the evils very intentionally worked by both Clintons. Many people don’t see it because, (1) (thanks to Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act) media consolidation means we now get mostly propaganda, not news and (2) we have physiological bases for trying to protect ourselves from such chilling things, even when the consequences of doing so can be catastrophic. We’re reaching a point right now where the literal world we live on may no longer be sustainable, so we–as adults–must face both the ugliness that is evident and that which is concealed beneath a veneer of kindness. This, too, is an evil of neoliberalism, which subverts the will of both people and environment to suit the benefits of a small, wealthy handful.

      (Like I said, what I read was so shocking it’s taken me months to finally refind equilibrium.)

      Again, there’s so, so much more to it than I can capture here, but it’s literally people’s inability to recognize the evils behind smiles and soft voices that pushed me toward voting for Trump. He only appears the greater evil because he lacks the genteel veneer of powerful neoliberals–who say one thing and do quite another–and is forthright about his positions.

      On the very short timelines which we now have to save the world for our children, we don’t have four years to turn our eyes away anymore. This is exactly what would have happened under a Clinton presidency: “Phew! Disaster averted! We’re good!” while new wars and new “business opportunities” were created.

      Trump represents evil so plain people can and will mobilize to mitigate.

      (One not-evil about him is his position–to date–on free trade. This is so destructive to earth and human rights! I hope to God he maintains this position as he works with the very same assholes who guided the latter Bush and then Obama.)

      That’s about as much as I can say in one comment. Already, I’ve said both too much and not enough. This is why I started my other blog: to improve my ability to articulate these things, not for abstract purposes but to inform, inspire, and motivate people to participate beyond voting. That’s the only way we’ll have anything good left to pass our children.

      I love you, I miss you, and I’m committed to working to address the evils I’ve seen unveiled the last few months. I’m horrified and saddened that I didn’t see them before … that I helped contribute to them, by allowing myself to see Obama’s smile while pointedly ignoring evidence he was simultaneously doing evil things with his magical hands.

      “Evil” isn’t a word I’ve used liberally until, oh, the last week or two … but it absolutely applies.

      Fortunately, there’s great good in hearts that don’t break the world down into neoliberal categories of “worthy” and “unworthy.” There’s hope in that, and I’m hopeful I can be part of translating that love in people’s hearts to goodness worked by people’s hands.

      Let’s change all this horror, please! Know that there are ways we can, and that, too, is subject of a half written post for my other blog.

      • November 12, 2016 at 1:14 am

        Oops! The sleight-of-hand stuff was actually from another recent post. Here’s what I wrote there:

        Affable, eloquent President Obama has expanded the campaign of terror built by George W. Bush. He’s done it with the consent of the people he leads, who–so far–have not bothered calling on him for change.

        Like the predators who once preyed upon me and my siblings, those around me go, “He can’t be a bad guy! He’s so nice!”

        Nice is tactical, y’all. Nice is meant to win you.

        It’s the magician making you look into his eyes while his hands do crafty things.

  1. November 12, 2016 at 1:42 am
  2. November 18, 2016 at 11:46 am

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