I’ve been thinking for a couple of weeks, what I could talk about here that is going to actually help my blog friends.
I’m deeply concerned for my friends in the US, and for my own country as I see a similar spike of hate crimes and the increased mobilization of extreme right-wing AND left-wing politics and sentiments.
We cannot stop talking to each other, folks. The second we split into “us” and “them” – right wing extremists, leftist elites, we rage against and vilify each other.
We can’t let those who will benefit from this rift in our humanity trick us into hating each other.
It’s easy to hate when you’re afraid for your future. When you’re afraid of “those people” whoever they are, you stop talking to them. You forget that their humanity is the same as your own.
I know that some of my blog readers and clients are Trump supporters. I’ve had conversations with you. I think that every one of the people I’ve talked to just don’t see the connection between their vote for Trump and being called racist. That is where they’re at. They really, honestly believe they did the best thing for their country with their vote. Most of the people I know who voted for Trump did not vote from a place of hate. Privilege – yes, but not hate.
(The privilege here, by the way, is the ability to overlook all the incendiary and hateful things Trump has said in the past two years on the campaign trail. He has never tried to hide who he is, so a vote cast for him is a vote cast in full knowledge of WHO he is, and that each individual voter doesn’t see any of his hate rhetoric directed at them, personally. That’s white privilege.)
*It is extremely difficult for me, as a woman, and a queer person, to not view a vote for trump as a vote to suppress and eliminate people like me.* And I recognize my own good fortune, having been born white, Canadian, and into a supportive family. There’s a reason my mother cried when I came out to my family. She was afraid for me. She was afraid because the hatred we’re seeing expressed right now was never that far beneath the surface, held in check.
I can only speak from my own perspective, so I’m not going to speak much about racial issues at this point. I feel unqualified. I’ve started and stopped probably a half-dozen podcast episodes and blog posts about race, and everything I’ve learned – but I will always be decades behind my friends who live it. If you guys have personal stories you’d like to share with me, I would love to hear them.
I will take this opportunity to share a few resources, which have helped me learn about racial oppression today:
This podcast about race, with the great Baratunde Thurston and his friends (his autobiography is entertaining as well as informing.) This podcast about race and culture, hosted by two hilarious and talented black women. And this podcast which has a feminist focus, hosted by two best friends, a white lady and a black lady. When they talk race, I learn things.
By the way, each person in each podcast has an incredible resume and is worth checking out, following on social media, buying their books – all the things. But their podcasts are a good way to be introduced to them.
I really try to educate myself about racial issues in Canada and the US, so I can help push the move away from institutionalized racism.
And it’s hard work for me, though I am not asking for sympathy here, because it’s harder to be a visible minority. Hell, just dating a Jewish girl for a few months in my 20s, who was also blind (making her a quadruple minority) showed me just how easy and close to mainstream my own life is! I had no idea until I dated her.
Here on the west coast, no one cares that I’m gay. They think it’s interesting that I work as a psychic. In other parts of North America, I’d be run out of town, or beaten up, or worse. It’s happened to many others.
That’s what happens when you look at someone *like* you, and you see something terrible happen to them. You think, “That could have been me, or my loved one.” That’s why my mother cried. She had good reason to be afraid for me, despite my many advantages in this country.
Dear Trump supporters, now is your time to stand up for your values, indeed. If you’ve been reading this, the blog of a psychic queer woman, I know you’re not one of the people spray-painting swastikas on cars and churches. You’re not idealizing white supremacy. So now is the time to *be vocal* about your opposition to hatred. Don’t brush off the parallel comparisons between Trump and Hitler. We are seeing the warning signs right now. Remember, Hitler was elected by a willing populace too, and he *did* improve the German economy for a time. Don’t kid yourself about the similarities here, you can’t plead ignorance later.
Steven Bannon is freaking terrifying! Just like Trump, he doesn’t attempt to hide who he is. We can’t ever be surprised if he acts on the prejudices he promotes and shares. Maybe when you voted for Trump, you didn’t realize your were voting for Bannon. Speak up and say so!
We cannot know, until our life is finished, the full impact of our actions and choices.
I wrote that many of us come in with non-specific life plans. Wingers and Rafters, who are often tapped to be angels, with boots on the ground. I think that most of us are tapped at different points in our life, to divert from our plan a bit, for a while, to help out in the big picture. These are the little secret moments in life, where a small gesture, or an act of kindness, can completely change the course of a person’s life, without us even realizing it! We don’t get to see most of that stuff until after we die.
But we have to live our lives carrying that responsibility.
We will see the impact of our actions. We’ll see missed opportunities to connect, and chance meetings creating a gorgeous web of new and hopeful outcomes. Small things add up over a lifetime.
This, I believe, is one of the fundamental truths that’s been captured in a lot of different religious expressions – that we have to take care of each other, that we have to look out for one another. When we see injustice, we have a choice to make. When we see someone drowning, we have a choice to make. Even when we see someone’s having a bad day, we have a choice. All those choices add up. Those choices become an expression of who we are. That stays with us. I believe we will experience the full impact of those choices when we die. I’ve heard a lot of stories from people on the other side!
I think what we have to fight the most in the next few years is the desire to shut down or shut out. We can’t afford to let the lines of communication between us fail. We also can’t afford to buy into a passive, “God’s got this,” frame of mind. No sir. No Ma’am. It’s on us. That’s life. That’s personal responsibility.
If you’ve had a liberal call you racist for voting Trump, don’t shut down, or shut us out. If you are a liberal and you have a friend or neighbour who voted for Trump who says the things that make you feel terrified for our future – don’t cut them out. Keep yourself safe, first of all, and then try to keep those lines open.
Have a real conversation, and then another, and then another.
When people go to the doctor, they need to hear information three times before it really sinks in. They need to hear the instructions for their medication three times. They need to hear or read the name of their diagnosis three times, just for it to sink in – and that’s information they’re going out of their way to hear, that’s information they want, that they seek out. Three times.
With advertising, people need to hear things a hundred times, before they start to come around to an idea. What dish soap they use, or which TV show they might watch. That’s a message they’re probably neutral about.
So when you’re talking to someone who is angry with you, or who you are angry with, remember that this conversation is just one in possibly a hundred or a thousand repetitions of that message. Every conversation is a small act that has an outcome we can’t understand completely, while we’re alive. What helps me, is knowing that I may not move someone with *this* conversation, but I have at least ticked off one of the hundred or thousand encounters they need, before they can hear that bit of information. You can’t hang all your energy and hopes on a single conversation. You can’t make your participation in these necessary conversations contingent upon their agreement with you.
Sometimes people *first* need to be heard before they themselves are willing to listen. So teach them how to listen, by demonstrating it. I believe this is true for all sides.
Talking is an act of hope, of optimism, and trust. So is listening, by the way.
Okay, I do want to talk about psychic protection again, especially in the context of having these tough conversations, but this post has gotten very long already, so I’ll save that for next time.
Love each other, protect each other, help each other.