When We Fight: A Love Note to My Estranged Conservative Fellow Americans

Hi, there,

It’s been a while. We haven’t really spoken to one another in more than a year. Insults hurled in the Comments Sections don’t count. I miss you, and I wanted to reach out; to share my thoughts as one human to the other.

The Electoral College rendered its vote in favor of Trump this afternoon. I took a moment to be distressed, angry, and saddened. Consider it a necessary instant to vent poisonous thoughts. But I am determined not to let this country be sullied, dismembered, and the bleeding pieces sold to the highest bidder. I know you don’t want that either, because you’re not really a bad person. You don’t wear a sheet  and hood on the weekends, and I’m almost certain you don’t really want to return our shared republic to a former state of ignorance or inequality.

If you’re convinced that my grave concerns about the incoming administration are proof that I’m some fragile, spineless liberal phantasm–the broad brush with which I’ve already been tarred more than once, I would correct you. My trepidation is born of knowledge of our past and an understanding of human beings, not of a need for “a pacifier and a safe space.” I fear for all of us, you as much as any other. The person who has been elected is a demagogue, whose only loyalty is to himself and his painfully fragile ego. I am well acquainted with his type, staring back from the pages of a history text. He is a user, an abusive, megalomaniacal narcissist. He is a con artist, not a good businessman. And you who toss metaphorical roses at his feet are the very ones he conned.

Moreover, the people with whom he has feathered his Cabinet nest are not concerned about your interests or wellbeing. They are emblematic of a mindset neither you nor I will ever know–that of the superlatively wealthy. They do not care about your health, your consumer rights, your income inequality, your children’s education, or your poisoned drinking water. They exist only to further their own wealth and their own political agendas.

I’m not saying these things to try and score a point against you. That behavior has no meaning to me. For all of us, I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am.  What I know for certain is that the gloating and derision has to stop before the rift between us becomes a fixed reality and not an inflated perception of difference. Here’s your opportunity to be a good American and not some poor winner who believes this was a competition between us. Hold back on your insult, if you had one at the ready, and actually think about what I’ve said.

I’m not afraid for my children. I don’t have any. I’m scared for yours and the world in which they’ll grow up. My fears have a sound foundation, historical precedents enough to fill a small library. I’m not speaking without authority, or making it up as I go.

The usual losers in the type of scenario just played out on our national political stage are the uneducated, the close minded, and those afraid of forward-moving change. In this case, we all lost, even if we weren’t taken in by the cult of personality that usually accompanies political figures.  We all lost because we couldn’t talk to each other. I tried, and was largely rewarded with a tide of irrational and hyper personalized vitriol.

Let’s not be like that. I think we can both rationally accept that we won’t agree with each other on many things, but let’s try to communicate. Let’s try to talk about this, even if you’ve remained silent because you were taught not to discuss politics. Because I am not your enemy. As much as we’ve fallen into an essentialist Us vs. Them mode, we aren’t enemies.

I want you to tell me how you feel about things without bringing up Hillary or liberal media or making assertions you can’t back up with verifiable sources. I’ll do the same.
Let’s talk. Maybe we can find the common core of what’s the same. Maybe we can understand how all of this got out of hand in the first place. But we cannot leave it as it is. It weakens all of us. And while it’s not the ultimate answer, it’s a damned good place to make a start.

Love,

Your Neighbor

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4 thoughts on “When We Fight: A Love Note to My Estranged Conservative Fellow Americans

    1. Merry Christmas to you. So many see the white flag as a sign of surrender, and given an aggressive frame of mind, a reason to attack. But it has enjoyed a long history as the sign of peace under which two sides came together to parlay. Thank you for taking time to bring a perspective from beyond the close quarters of vested interests. That’s valuable.

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