“When there is an elephant in the room…. Introduce it” – Randy Pausch
For the last few months, I have really struggled to maintain consistent blog posts, and I would say some of it is time and a lack of ideas, but as a social commentator I really do like to comment on politics as much as possible, and every time I sit down this thought is sounding so very loud in my head:
I don’t want to write about the election…
I don’t want to write about the election…
I don’t want to write about the election….
I have of course, since Trump entered the race, written articles about Trump and company, but not out of joy, but more out of necessity. The reality is though, that there is a proverbial elephant in my article that I just don’t want to deal with…. Yes, similar to Elephant in the room. Confused yet?
Just like being in a room full of people and there is an elephant in the room, it is hard to concentrate on the topic at hand until you deal with the elephant. So for me, as long as I don’t address the elephant in my article, then I struggle to write about a lot of topics, because I am kind of being a fraud. My brain will try to push me to the topic and to avoid it, I have several unfinished articles in my drafts folder! So here is my attempt to do just that (I am still not ready, so keep reading)
See I am still waiting to wake up from a dream, and we will have different candidates on both sides of the aisle, and although I won’t like them all, I will feel inspired and excited about the discourse and exchanges surrounding politics again.
I have addressed my party affiliation and race, but never directly. I generally like to get my readers to think about their stances based on my thoughts, but rarely do I go deep inwardly for myself. I am getting uncomfortable just writing these words, but several things have happened over the last few months that have brought me to this place, that I will not be able to write much, until I address my feelings.
It all started with this article on Slate, “How Trump Happened – It’s not just anger over jobs and immigration. White voters hope Trump will restore the racial hierarchy upended by Barack Obama.” – (source)
I tried really hard not to read it, and trying extra hard to not read quotes or comments surrounding it, because as a once proud Black Republican, I am questioning if I fit into the independent space (maybe?) that is a result of the party everyone has always told me about. There have been other articles written similarly, but this article seem to be everywhere for me. But it really wasn’t about this article, it was the idea behind it.
…my race and my party…
The idea of racism within the Republican Party isn’t anything new. People have asked me over and over about how am I Republican, how can I support the Republican Party? And if you’ve followed this blog, I usually try to be neutral and not pick sides very often, and only now and then I do to make a point. I find the missing perspective usually somewhere in the middle, because the people on the outskirts are often loud and clear… and that’s what I am here to discuss my unfortunate missing perspective.
So here’s my elephant in the article: facing a party, I have worked for, volunteered for, and have had unwavering support for… has quite a bit of racists, but not like a little bit, but quite a bit.
Now , Trevor Noah did a good piece on his show kind of making light of the fact Republicans don’t want to accept Trump and his supporters, but that they are a match made in Heaven; showing several clips showing GOP party loyalists saying things very similar to Trump. That as much as the GOP want to get rid of Trump, he is in fact for the most part everything that they stand for.
So back to my denial, I am not going to lie. I have more than my fair share of people question my devotion or connection to the Republican Party. That there are a party full of racists, rich selfish people, and that list of crimes goes on while in the same breath, they too can appreciate some of their fiscal policies as in a small Federal government and strong state powers, but the conservative stance on social issues takes it too far for them.
I used to make the argument that when the Tea Party was created that’s when the party started to go downhill… but did it? I guess that’s water under the bridge at this point. We are here now.
We live in a society now where our social issues bleed so heavily into law-making and policies that there is no separation, and at this point, we have to make decisions that can challenge our values to support a candidate, and even a party.
Let’s remember the old saying, “You are the company that you keep”. So when I look at people of color who support Donald Trump, to me, they are making a judgment call, that their dignity as a person of color is not as important as something else clearly, and they have every right to do so, but I can no longer take that walk with them. I am not necessarily trying to kick it with Hillary or Bernie either, but for the first time in my life I can no longer identify as a Republican, and that is crazy to me.
But let me tell you what got me here.
At first, I thought it was when a bunch of my family members were calling me a liberal and the best line still is “You ascribe to the liberal agenda”. Like ooh, those are fighting words, and some of them attribute it to me living in liberal ole Austin, Texas, but that honestly has nothing to do with it. The reality is that we have a racist man running for President in a country built on the backs of slaves, and as much as we want to deny it, and the majority of the party support him for it.
If you read the article above, it points out that:
“He (Trump) wins his strongest support in states and counties with the greatest amounts of racial polarization. Among white voters, higher levels of racial resentment have been shown to be associated with greater support for Trump.”
Now, I might not think the Republican Party is racist, but there are enough people in the party that are supporting a racist who will maybe provide economic advancement for them. Is that not the thinking that assisted in slavery? Seriously, if you really think about it, I am sure there were people who thought slavery wasn’t humane, but I think there were equally as many people who decided to not care about whether there was humanity in it. It’s the same thing for anybody who does horrible things, like steal from someone, kill someone, or tortures someone, they put their benefit above another person. And it appears that is the case now.
So I had to ask what is important to me? What kind of person I want to be? I am a black woman who can longer be the person I want to be and a support a party (for now) that does not care about people. Serving others, caring about others, and helping others, that is WHO I am.
I am going to end on this idea, from the article, about Obama as a politician wasn’t that radical, that he is mild as a politician, but Obama, as a black man, a person of color, is the only part of his election that was radical.
“But in most respects, Obama is a conventional politician—well within the center-left of the Democratic Party. Or at least, he’s governed in that mode, with an agenda that sits safely in the mainstream….. Barack Obama is many things, but conservative rhetoric aside, he’s no radical…… We can’t say the same for Obama as a political symbol, however. In a nation shaped and defined by a rigid racial hierarchy, his election was very much a radical event.”
If having a black president was really the precipice to the larger divide, then as a black woman how can I support the party that continues to make the racial divide larger.