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Where Are We Going From Here?

November 17, 2016

“We’re all on this road, with miles to go
Braving new pathways into the unknown
But who do you ask, when no one really knows
Where we are going from here…” -Blackmore’s Night

The last few pieces I’ve written for this particular outlet have been markedly different in tone than the rest. I’m used to sitting down after a glass of rum, turning up the metal, and wandering the expository landscape like some drunken, slightly fatter, version of Hunter S. Thompson. My points were clear but also ridiculously sarcastic with a hint of serious anger behind them. The last few weeks, I have found myself unable to muster the anger needed to navigate said landscape. For the first time since my twelve rounder with kidney cancer, my soul is weary.

For the last 18 months I’ve watched friends and family split over an election that is without a doubt, the most incendiary I have ever seen, and this comes from a guy that covered Sarah Palin’s Funhouse of Fuckery back in ’08. I have watched people I’ve known most of my life, turn into hate filled caricatures of themselves, driven by an anger that has been stoked for the last 16 years. We find ourselves now in a post election America that doesn’t make any sense. Not because a non politician “outsider” won the election, but because of the shit that has risen to the top of the pond in the process.

Over the last week, I have watched Trump supporters relentlessly mock minority members who admit being afraid of what a Trump presidency might mean for them. As the two of you who actually read my nonsense know, I am not a fan of safe spaces. At least, not the way they are used on college campuses today. That being said, when a man who has dredged up anger as well as the white nationalists wins a Presidential election, it seems fair that certain groups would have some trepidation. This would be the time for Trump supporters to say “Hey, it’ll be okay, we’re in this together.” Instead they are taking those very real fears and amping them up to a thousand.

When I came out as bi a few days ago, it was to let some of my angry Trump supporting friends/family know that I was part of the groups they were threatening. I thought maybe it might give them pause, a chance to step back and think about the anger that’s been swirling around us for so goddamn long. Instead, it made them angrier. How dare a member of their family/inner circle disgrace them like that. I got a message the other day from someone I’ve known for years telling me that he’s going to enjoy it when “your kind no longer disgraces our republic.” I don’t have the fears many in the minority community have. If someone wants to step up and swing, I will make my ancestors proud. A lot of others don’t have that mindset though. They fear going out alone because people have become much more vocal now. This election has emboldened them and they take every opportunity to show it. What does it say about a society that mocks people who have a legit fear? What does it say about a society that shrugs off a man telling muslim children that their parents are going to be killed for being terrorists? What does it say about a society that trades compassion and empathy for anger and violence?

The hatred and violence on both sides has threatened to tear this country apart, and if we don’t check ourselves, it will do just that. I don’t expect everyone to suddenly be peace, love, and happiness, but we have to find a way to be a bit more civil. We have to find a way to take this from a full boil to a simmer. Most importantly, we have to stick up for each other. If I saw a Trump supporter being threatened, I would jump in, just the way I would for anyone else. Difference of opinion is a beautiful thing in this country. Hatred and violence on the other hand, are not. Instead of asking “What side are you on” or “How could you vote for that”, the question that needs to be answered is this: Where are we going from here? Pandora’s box has been opened. What’s been done is done. The only thing that remains is trying to move forward without normalizing the hate while at the same time not denigrating each other. I don’t know how that will be achieved, maybe it’s now considered Utopian thinking and thus impossible. All I know is that my soul is tired and my heart is heavy, but I still have enough in the tank to love, and as The Beatles said in the summer of ’67…all you need is love.


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