Open thread—Sharing our pain
When President Obama was in office, it was easy for the people on this blog to get along. We had a leader to whom we could look up. We were defending his policies against all comers. We set aside our differences for the greater good. We thought we were building a world which had never existed.
2016 put paid to that. It was a slap in the face to African Americans, to Latinos, to most women, to gays, to Asians, to Native Americans, to white people who believed in liberal democracy. It was an irruption of the worst of us, even though Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes. We can say that Hillary was robbed. We can say that Russia probably engaged in more than just propaganda, and actually altered the vote tallies in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The fact is that 62 million of our fellow citizens voted for policies which sought to eradicate us. That is not an easy pill to take. It’s one I have yet to swallow.
The problem with 2016, aside from the obvious, is that we cast around for blame. White women voted for Trump! Black men didn’t come out for Hillary! When faced with a cataclysm, we naturally search for who is to blame for the situation in which, through no fault of our own, we find ourselves.
It’s a pattern I’ve been noticing on this blog, and it’s become distinctly racial. Many of our African American members think our white members don’t get it. And many of our white members are tired of being lumped in with the white people who support Trump and delight in thinking that the darkies are going to get it in the neck.
I get where everyone is coming from. And forgive me, but I’m going to do something which I rarely do, which is cite blog members.
I get where djchefron is coming from. 2016 was a slap in the face of African Americans, as they relied on the country which voted for Barack Obama to continue the work he began. Instead, it elected the man who had burst onto the political scene as the chief of the Birthers.
And I get where BB and Rustbelt are coming from. They’re mortified that their states, which had both gone twice for Pres. Obama, instead turned to the orange shitgibbon, either out of economic desperation, or just good old outright racism and sexism. And they’re lumped in with their less-enlightened compatriots.
The currency of the time is pain. We all suffer from it. We’ve all been rubbed raw from 2016 and its aftermath.
But we can’t inflict our pain on each other. We have to come to some modus vivendi where we listen to each other’s pain, understand it, learn from it, and accept it. We’re allies, or should be, and for allyship to work, we have to have an understanding of each other.
This whole post may be a mistake, but it’s no longer avoidable.
I invite everyone to share what pains them, so that we can all learn from it. I invite both regulars and those who lurk to do this. Somehow I’ve been tasked with keeping this community alive. I can’t do that when we’re at loggerheads. I can’t do that when threads degenerate into name-calling and bad faith. We have to unload our pain, and share it, and find some way forward. This is as true for the nation as it is for this blog. Americans have a talent for avoiding the uncomfortable conversations. We can no longer survive as a Republic this way.
A few ground rules for this experiment.
First and foremost, this is not an excuse to attack other posters. I mean it when I say that I want all of us to bare ourselves. This is a safe space for people to state what their pain is. I will delete, without any discussion, any responses I feel traverse this primary rule.
Secondly, and again, this is not just for the regulars. I know we have a lot of lurkers. This post is for them as well.
Thirdly, and I cannot stress this enough: We are all on the same side, even though we sometimes don’t think so. I believe in the good faith of everyone who posts on this blog. If I didn’t, I would have banned a lot more people before now.
So, now, my pain, and why I’ve hated Moron since the 80s.
It was the summer of 1985. I still lived in New York at that time, and I decided that it was time that I got a job.
Now, believe it or not, back in 1985, there was only one mall in Manhattan. It was Trump Plaza.
So, I put on my best clothing, and went there to see if anyone was hiring.
Now, a little description of myself at that time. I had hair. A lot. And it was basically in an Afro. I had peach fuzz on my upper lip. There was no mistaking me for what I was: a Latino.
I wandered from shop to shop, asking questions, not finding anyone hiring.
A while into my inquiries, mall security came up to me. They asked me what I was doing. When I told them, they said I had to leave. They didn’t say why, they didn’t say what I had done. They just said I had to leave.
So, yes, Trump’s goons descended on a 15 year old kid who was looking for work. They shadowed me until I was back out on the street.
I’m about to turn 50. I still remember this gross indignity. And this is why, even though I easily pass for an Average White Guy™, I say that no, I’m a Latino. Because if the Gestapo were to ever come, I’d be rolled up with people much darker than I am.
My great regret is that I didn’t tell this story in 2015 when that motherfucker came down that fucking escalator. I felt that it would have been too self-indulgent. And, certainly, Mrs. Clinton had it in the bag. He has never been anything but evil. He really never had a chance, what with the father he had. Our mistake was underestimating him, and underestimating how many of our fellow citizens had given up on a liberal republic.
So, as we start this experiment, I ask you: Look into each others’ heart. Recognize the humanity there. More unites us than divides us.
One last thing: Make your truth as raw as you feel it needs to be. Don’t censor yourself. I don’t judge language to begin with, but especially not here on this post.
After that long preamble, this is your open thread.
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