Greatness and change

Wow.  What an election season this was.  Lord help me, I tried to stay out of it.  I made my very best efforts to keep my opinions to myself on Facebook and to not be quick to jump to conclusions set before me by the media.  Lord help me, I tried.

But I’m telling you, this election stirred up some of the most hateful, ugly, embarrassing behavior I’ve seen in a while.  People are highly opinionated about the things they are passionate about, that’s for sure.  And we should be passionate about things…as long as they are the right things.  It’s when our passions get a little off center that things go to hell in a handbag.  And boy did they.

And I made a few observations.  And here they are.  And they are mine.  I don’t want you to tell me how they are wrong and I’m not looking for you to shout back a bunch of amens either.  Just a few things that I need to get off my chest.

First off, A LOT of people get their dander up over bullshit.  (Sorry.  This election has brought out the very worst in me and sadly I’ve tended to cuss a lot this past month.)  My Facebook feed was full to overflowing with posts about this thing Hillary did or that thing Donald said and you know what?  Half of it was either soundbites that were only meant to stir the pot or either they were bait and click posts.  Now listen, I know they both said and did some awful things.  Both of them.  I won’t deny that.  But I also am smart enough to know sensationalism when I see it.  Friends, please stop posting things that are nothing but sensationalist bullshit, so we can all focus on the real issues here.

Second, BE NICE.  Calling people “snowflake” or “crybaby” really isn’t nice.  And posting “love wins” with a snark in your keystroke really isn’t nice.  Do I think people were over the top ridiculous about Hillary’s loss?  You bet.  BUT are there people out there with reason to be uncomfortable, concerned or frightened even?  You bet.  And the sad thing is, all the ones wallowing around gnashing their teeth are overshadowing the people who might have some legitimate fears and concerns.  And where are those people?  Keeping their mouth shut, laying low.  Because scared people don’t mouth off publicly or make a show.  They hide and keep quiet.  THOSE are the people we need to be seeking out to comfort and put their fears to rest.  But calling them all snowflakes isn’t helping at all.  And for all the “love still wins,” or “love Trumps hate” posts.  Please just stop.  It’s just a passive aggressive way of saying screw you and you know it.

Third, STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS.  I heard somebody once say that basically to assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”  And we have all been behaving like a bunch of asses. All of us.  Lumping everybody into one category based on how they voted is unfair.  Not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist homophobe who wants to send all the Mexicans home.  AND not all Democrats are baby hating terror mongers who want Sharia law.  Just stop.  Seriously.  It’s an asinine way to think.  This whole election was hard on all sides.  And while there are surely those out there that were hardcore for one side or the other, I would present to you that most people voted more against one side than they did for the other.  If they even voted at all.  And for those who did the no namer vote (and I say that because I honestly cannot remember the guy’s name right now who ran Libertarian), please just stop with the “hashtag never” posts.  Many people truly did see that as a throw away vote, so while you may have been convicted to vote that way, it tends to make people feel less than when you’re reminding them of that with your posts.  I mean, it’s honorable that you took a stand for what you believed in, but not everybody was there.  I know, I know.  You’re not judging, but people feel judged just the same.

And fourth?  We are ALL a bunch of HYPOCRITES.  This whole entire nation.  We complain about the things Donald said about women.  He’s degrading to women.  Yet, I look on my TV and here’s a shampoo commercial using what sounds like a woman having an orgasm to advertise their product.  I go shopping and see clothes in the little girl section that no 10 year old girl ought to even consider having on her body.  I look in a magazine and there’s a scantily clad Miley Cyrus with her tongue wrapped around her face holding a blowup penis on stage, Arianna Grande in clothes so tight she looks poured into them, and Beyonce in photoshoots and on TV showing so much skin she’s a breath away from being naked.  TV shows that seem to have a rape scene in every fourth episode.  Music that calls women bitches and all sorts of other things….and I’m talking to you now Hillary standing up there on stage with Jay-Z.  Have you read any of his lyrics?  But holdup…before you jump on that train, it’s not just hip-hop either, although hip-hop is awful for sure.  Look at the top 40 chart and you’ll find song after song about sex.  Since when did it become okay to sing a song about having sex with your woman?  Would you invite me into your bedroom to watch?  Because if not, then why are you inviting me in with your song?  That’s private for crying out loud and yet there you are with your songs on the radio describing all the details for everybody in the world…and here we all are just listening away.

We complain about racism and how the church needs to put its glorious foot down.  We are hypocrites!  Churches are the most segregated places in America.  Think about your church, if you go.  Look around at who is sitting beside you.  I’m betting for the most part, they all look a lot like you.  My church has gotten a lot more diverse than it used to be, but it’s still pretty white.  And black churches are no different.  We like to tell everybody else what’s wrong with them, but when it comes time to get the log out of our own eyes, well…

And racism.  Ah, racism.  It’s the same as the fear issue.  There are so many real true incidents of racism that are hidden underneath the pile of cries of wolf.  Racism is very real ya’ll.  There are black people everyday that are looked at sideways in a store because of the color of their skin.  There are Hispanics (from lots of other places besides Mexico) that are here quite legally, but people make assumptions about their status because they speak Spanish.  Racism is a real true awful hurtful thing.  But what’s sad is that it’s become such a buzzword, a common and sometimes false accusation, that people don’t want to hear it anymore.  In fact, you can add some words to that list…homophobe, islamaphobe, bigot…just check your newspaper headlines or Facebook feed.  All those words have been so overused that nobody is listening anymore.  You want to end a conversation real quick?  Say homophobic to somebody who believes homosexuality is a sin.  You want to shut somebody down in a heartbeat?  Say islamaphobic to somebody who truly fears terrorism.  And on the other hand?  You want to cut somebody to the core?  Tell a black man racism is dead while he’s being stopped by cops in a white neighborhood.

You want change?  Me too.  So then we’ve got to get out there and have some face to face conversations that involve a lot of efforts to understand why people feel like they do.  Brow beating people with buzzwords and sound bites has made people stop listening.  I want to have a conversation with you, not the Huffington Post or Fox News.  However, ignoring strife and pretending there aren’t problems just makes people more hurt and more angry.  We need to have conversations.  We have to.  Nothing will ever change unless we do.  You won’t change people with Facebook posts.  You can’t change people by holding a sign up on a street corner.  You can’t justify your stance when you don’t really know what all you’re standing up against.  And you won’t change your own opinions until you start listening to somebody who’s different than you.

Ya’ll I’m tired.  Right down to the very depths of my soul, I am tired.  Donald Trump didn’t start any of this.  Obama didn’t either for that matter.  But it’s gone on long enough.  We have been at each other’s throats long enough.  I’ve realized some things about myself in this election.  Some things I need to change.  Some attitudes I need to rethink.  Some assumptions I need to let go of.  And I hope that will be the case for a lot of folks.  Lord knows we can’t keep on like we are.

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