Today has been difficult for me.
Last night as I watched the midterm election results pour in, the hope and joy I felt of the possible restoration of America as I once knew it was quickly replaced by a deep sadness. I, like many people last night, expected a “blue wave” or the overwhelming election of Democratic candidates. When I realized that the “blue wave” wasn’t coming, I was overcome with a heavy sense of gloom and helplessness.
When I woke this morning, the feeling was still there and I had to wrestle with the fact that last night’s midterm election results weren’t a dream. As much as I’d have loved to spend the day under my covers to cope with a loss I couldn’t thoroughly explain, I had to go to work. As I drove to work and listened to the radio station’s review of last night and watched Trump’s press conference during my lunch break, I couldn’t help but wonder… how did we get here?
What was once seen as a joke is now our reality.
Today’s America is polarized. Either it’s Black or it’s White. Either it’s Blue or it’s Red. Either you are on the side of good or you’re on the bad side. How did we get here?
When Trump said he would run for president, I laughed it off like many others and that was our first mistake. While we took his words with a grain of salt, he was using that same language to divide a country. Make America Great Again suddenly became a mantra for his supporters who wanted America to be like the old days. But how can you make something great, that was never that to begin with?
America coined itself “the land of the free” but was built on the backs of slaves who fought for generations to be “free” and was taken from Native Americans who roamed the land long before Christopher Columbus. America said she was a melting pot for people of different races and cultures but still uses those things that make us different and unique as a method of divisiveness. America said we had the right to “free speech” but only when the speech is what we want to hear.
What I’ve had to realize is that this isn’t entirely Trump’s fault. Was he a catalyst to get to the tense stage that we are at now? Yes. But this has been here all along. Hate, racism, and the intolerance of people who are different than you was stitched into the very fabric of this country. With former President Barack Obama, we felt that we’d finally reached a point of cohesiveness and love but we were looking at the country through rose colored lenses.
So the question isn’t, “how did we get here?”
We’ve always been here. The only difference is that now, we’re more aware of what we’re facing. But what do we do now?
For that, I wish I knew the answer.
From Me to You, Peace & Love.