We are officially past the Political version of MLB’s All Star Break this week after the finish of both the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democrat National Convention (DNC). What that means is just a little over a 100 days until we find out who will be leading this country for the next 4 years.
I’ve stated before that I don’t vote, I haven’t in almost 8 years now, and I am still not sure if I will this time out. There are cracks in that thinking, but nothing has fully pulled me back into the fray yet. That is not the reason for this opinion piece today, but more of just a setup into what I want to talk about.
I’ve been watching, and reading, seeing a lot of people who are absolutely puzzled on why a guy like Donald Trump could be not only getting stronger, but in some aspects (as of this moment anyway) be leading when it comes to polls on who will take the White House. Most love to just dismiss it as “Old, scared, white closeted racist, misogynists are coming out to grasp the last straw before they are wiped off the face of the earth.” I think that is over generalizing things, and not really looking into what is really going on, and looking back to where we have been.
I tried to remember when I first heard the term “Trigger Warning”. I can’t place it exactly, but I know it has been at least within the last 6 years. It has come with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, with the issues of knowing everyone’s business, and not wanting to accept it, or wanting to change it. There is a generation of people who either were never born when 9/11 happened, or were toddlers, and have grown up with very safe spaces built around them. Some of those are now old enough to be adults. We have also had several years now where “safe spaces” have been adopted, and pushed at many college campuses.
So what does that mean? It means that while there is a younger generation who believes that there is no difference between someone’s opinion, and a personal attack. It means we have a society where context is shit, that for most, you can only look at words in a literal manner. It means we have a large group of everyone else who has nurtured and cultivated this younger group, and either falls in line with the feelings, or hides to avoid being outed incorrectly as one of the following: (Racist, Misogynist, Sexist, etc) Eggshells. We literally are walking on eggshells every single day. Because of Facebook and Twitter, if you were to post a small rant, or a joke, and someone (who at times you really don’t know) thinks it is disparaging, you now run the risk of instant activism, having your job blasted, and now you run the risk of no longer working in an already rough economy. All because of words. Eggshells is not a way to be living.
What does this have to do with Donald Trump and his stupid wall Sean? Well here is the metaphor. We all, myself included, have built up walls around us. If we disagree with someone, we block, or if being really shitty, report and block. We unfollow. We instantly remove the unwanted situation out of our life. While that is good, especially to avoid actual harassment, in a way it is bad for society. A true rainbow of acceptance is not where we all stand around and hold hands singing and loving. That would be great but it is about as real as a cartoon. True acceptance is dealing with, and putting up with the guy who thinks the only thing that matters is what he hears from the preacher on Sunday. It is that same guy who also accepts (even if he doesn’t agree) that you are a person who loves Death Metal, doesn’t have a faith in a higher power, and loves watching obscure Anime on your days off.
We already have put a wall up, so Trump putting and actual one up is a perfect definition of today’s America.
I think that is why Trump is getting popular with Americans. Not because of hatred, or bigotry. It is because he is tuning into a population of people who WANT to say the things they want without worry of losing it all. He represents freedom of speech in its purest form. Because he doesn’t have to answer to a lobby, and won’t lock step with a platform because he can pay for his own campaign, he can say what he wants. Some people don’t like it, but he doesn’t care, and he doesn’t have to back down. That resonates with a group of Americans. Not the ability to say racist things. The ability to tell a friend to not act like a bitch and have someone come up and say “That’s offensive to women, you should apologize.” Trump, as offensive as he can be, is fighting a cultural war against the safe bubble, whether he knows it or not.
We need to be more accepting. True acceptance. Let someone say what they want, and as long as it isn’t an actual threat of violence, let them say it anyway. Don’t go after their job. Don’t “Make this person Facebook Famous” because of a difference of opinion. Leave them alone to exist, as they should you. Yes, stop out actual violent acts, actual threats of abuse. Words are just that. Words. The person who says them have no power, unless you have given it to them. Right now we are letting language control us in a way I never thought possible.
I might do more on this, maybe not. Until then, just try to be nice to one another, I’ll respect your opinion, you respect mine and we will keep trudging through this thing called life.