Monday, January 30, 2017

My Outrage

This time last year as the Presidential Primary process was just beginning in all of my imagination I could never believe that today we would be where we are right now.  Seriously, of all the outcomes - this was dead last on my list.  Now, on this side of history I understand it and hate it all in one breathe.  The electoral process as designed I have deep respect for.  Politics and the nuisanced dances it takes to make a country and the world work have long captured my attention.  But this - this bastardized process, the permanent case of amnesia that seems to plague both sides of the electorate, and the persistent intolerance of exercised freedoms that are so sacrificially fought for is at the core of my outrage.

As snow fell last Winter, rumors fell like snowflakes that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was repeatedly interfering with both the caucus system and debate scheduling.  Despite the inability to substantiate these claims - the conservative media ran with the story calling Hillary Clintons ascension a coronation.  It would become clear in the heat of Summer, as the DNC Convention was about to begin, that these claims had legs and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, would soon find those legs cut off.  But it was too late.  Bernie Sanders was forced to get in line and his supporters were bullied into doing likewise. And yet after all that, there was an air of arrogance, a sort of counting your chickens before they hatch, that allowed the campaign of Hillary Clinton to overlook and under-address real voter concerns.

Meanwhile over on the RNC side a more complexing story was unfolding.  As the snow melted away and the Republican candidates withdrew one by one. It became very clear that both the party and the media were out of touch with deep issues that were plaguing the very constituents they were trying to woo. They (Republicans) were loyal through 8 years of George W Bush and still ended up with nothing to show for it. Then after eight years of President Obama, a man who they villianized and refused to legitimize, they were ready for a real Maverick.  Before we knew it, all the other candidates were gone and Donald Trump remained victorious.

In years past, the religious right would played the role of Scrutinizer In Chief. Mitt Romney's failure to secure the GOP's full support rested solely in his Mormon faith.  Despite the alignment in values - the division that doctrine created made Mitt Romney the wrong man for the job. But this time around - the church was done with loosing. They were willing to look past Donald Trumps failed marriages, rumored romps, foul language, massive ego, and policies that fail to align to Christian values in order to secure the White House. The end goal is the overturn of Roe V. Wade at all cost. And if you ask some, this will cost the church current members and the ability to reach future members. 

 Now in this bleak mid-winter we are buried in a blizzard of hypocrisy.  At times it feels like we the citizens are stuck between two first graders that are screaming  - He Did It  - No She Did It.  The GOP wants everyone to move on when their current Commander in Chief didn't move on until about a year ago.  The Dems are outraged at being lied to out-rightly. Lest they forget how the media was misled about a certain videotape and country called Libya.  The party that elected a Commander in Chief who at the onset of his campaign was so fouled mouthed is now feigning offense at a foul mouthed Pop Star for protesting doesn't reconcile.  What neither side is willing to admit is that they both use the same methods and they both characterize those methods as audacious.  

As this process has moved along, it has become increasingly clear to me that we don't understand how freedom works.  We have soldiers dying for our freedom to practice or not practice a religion, to speak or not to speak, to protest or abstain, to vote or not to vote, etc.  Yet, when anyone exercises a freedom that offends us, or ones expression doesn't match our own we call them unpatriotic.  And realize that if you loose an opportunity because of a freedom you participated in - understand they are free to do so.  This is freedom, plain and simple.

So currently I sit here outraged. As some would describe it, I live in an urban liberal bubble, Yet most of my huge (not bigly) extended family are proud passengers on the Trump train.  I know, that my family has been devastatingly impacted by trade decisions and I also know that they are lawful highly responsible gun owners.

My family has a long long and respected tradition of military service- my Grandfather fought in WW I, 4 uncles fought in WW 2, 2 Uncles fought in the Korean Conflict, 1 Uncle was in the service in Germany during Vietnam, and a wide variety of cousins have served and still serve.  I may not always meet them eye to eye ideologically, but understand their concerns and respect them dearly.

All the while I live in a city surrounded by people that are being dramatically affected by the new Presidents policies. Issues that if you don't live it, you may not fully appreciate it.  The older I get, and the more I learn, the more I understand that there is no black and white.  There are varying shades of grey that require contemplation.  So, here I sit outraged.  

The only way forward I see is to let the process as laid out by our forefathers play out. We must exercise the freedoms we have with the wit and wisdom that keeps us civilized.  We must remain diligent; reading always, deciphering always, empathizing always, and dissenting as required. And most of all, let's restore our respect for each other.  Because when all the dust settles, and this presidency has run its course, we have to move forward with each other.