Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Critique For My Political Party

First, and I know this may feel like salt in the wound, but do you see now why so many of us wanted Bernie? I live in Wisconsin, a state that made a big impact on Wednesday morning's decision. I firmly believe that had we elected Bernie we would have won Wisconsin. He appealed to the so called "working class white man" that you abandoned. In return, they abandoned you. Listen to the people in your heartland. 

From the get go, I probably agreed with Clinton on more policy issues than Sanders. But I always strive to understand the American people from both sides of the political spectrum (born rural, raised liberal). Going into this election I understood two things. People were overwhelmingly skeptical of Clinton. People were overwhelmingly ready for an outsider. Supporting Sanders was an acknowledgement of those two realities. I am proud of the campaign Clinton ran. I went with her, even after it felt like the party establishment robbed me of my voice. All I ask is that you stop appointing the next party candidate before you even hear from your base. Stop pulling strings to get your person in. Listen to us. 

And if you are now listening, I want to repeat: you abandoned the working class white men in your heartland. I hear a lot of talk about getting more minorities to vote -- which is a wonderful idea. Let's do that. But you will not survive if your focus is on minorities. You lost because your once strong base of white voters in the heartland feels like you stopped focusing on their economic future. For example, in my predominately white home county you won in 2012 by 4 points and lost this year by 7. That's an 11 point difference in the seventh most populous county in the state. The county to my north, sixth most populous, had a 12 point difference in the same direction. More votes from Milwaukee will not fix this problem. You needed more voters from the two urban communities and several rural communities that surround me. I know you realized this in the final hour; Tim Kaine came to Appleton last week and Chelsea Clinton to Oshkosh a few days later. Sadly, those efforts were too little, too late.

Now, on to other what ifs. What if the people who voted for Trump aren't actually bigots and misogynists? What if they really just want term limits, an end to NATO (scary, I know), and those trade jobs back (not happening, I know). What if they simply feel squeezed by heavy taxes and still abandoned by limited (and costly) health insurance? Their vote wasn't a personal attack on you. I know it feels like it was, so go ahead and grieve. But when you are done please see hope instead of fear. Please stop name calling. Go high. 

On the flip side of that. President Elect Trump did say many, many racially charged things. He gave rise to the alt-right and was endorsed by the KKK. During his many years in the public eye we have heard him make misogynistic and sexists comments. Over and over and over. 

Entertain me on a new thought trail here. It's relevant. I'm kind of weary of the current bully discussions going on in American classrooms. When Reid calls someone a bully I remind him that one mean comment does not a bully make. I refuse to let him label his sister's playtime rejections as bullying. I remind him that a bully creates a pattern. A bully intends to intimidate and degrade. I refuse to let him label bad behavior as bullying. 

Back on point. Donald Trump is a bully. 

He is a racist. He is a misogynist. If you voted for him and you don't acknowledge these truths you have fooled yourself. I want to reiterate my earlier point, this does not mean all his supporters are racist or sexist. But he is. 

My children woke up Wednesday morning and found out a bully is their President Elect. We had a long conversation about loving everyone, even bullies. In fact, I've taught them (before this election and again Wednesday morning) that sometimes the best thing to do is reach out and be the bully's friend. When we said our family prayers that morning we prayed that Donald Trump would learn to talk nice about other people. We will continue to pray he has a change of rhetoric. Oh how I pray he will stop degrading women and alienating minorities. Our country, my children, deserve better.

And to end on a light note, yesterday Nell told me she is going to teach Satan to be nice. And she followed that with confidence, "I"m going to teach Donald Trump to be nice too." Your party still has a bright future.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...