For the past couple days my Facebook feed has been clogged with post-election posts. Some (like mine) are coming from a place of worry/fear for the future of the country. Others are suggesting that such posts are just histrionics from sore losers.
Here’s the thing: this isn’t about sour grapes, or being upset that Hillary wasn’t elected; it’s being upset that Trump was. And it’s not unreasonable or silly or stupid to express concern based on what he’s actually said and done.
During the President-Elect’s candidacy, he repeatedly demonstrated disdain for women (especially those who aren’t sufficiently ‘hot’ in his opinion). He made disparaging comments about minorities (claiming that Mexicans are ‘rapists’ and that illegal aliens are ‘stealing jobs from real Americans’). This doesn’t bode well for the future of legislation that impacts women and minorities.
He’s claimed that avoiding paying taxes somehow suggests that he will treat taxpayers’ money responsibly. He’s promised to replace Obamacare with something better, but hasn’t given any information about what that ‘something better’ might be. And he’s been worryingly evasive regarding issues of foreign policy, military spending, and global warning.
Folks who know me, know that I if I care enough about an issue to actually post about it on social media, then odds are that I care deeply. It won’t be a lukewarm ‘meh’ thing; it’ll be full-out (say, when a spoiled rich boy is caught raping an unconscious woman, is convicted of the crime, and is back on the streets after 3 months). I cared deeply about this election, so I posted about it – as did a lot of other people who had similar concerns.
I care deeply that the thing I absolutely did not want to happen, has now come to pass. I care that this is the outcome I’d feared. And so I posted about it. I wasn’t crying that Hillary lost. I was crying that Trump won. There is a difference, and it’s a pretty crucial one.
So, to those of you who are posting those “ha ha – look at all those stupid people getting all worked up about Hillary losing” memes. The ones that make light of people’s very real concerns about what the election outcome means for the future of the country? The ones that suggest these people are stupid, or foolish, or overreacting. The ones that avoid actually addressing these concerns in a reasonable manner, but invite laughter and derision.
I have a suggestion. A significant segment of the population is clearly not happy about the results of this election. Is it helping the situation to laugh at their fears? Is it constructive to reduce everything to a clever meme instead of addressing those concerns with something other than “they’re just mad that Hillary lost”?
At this point, laughing and finger-pointing is making you look petty and vindictive. It’s making you look like you don’t think it’s worth your time or effort to help someone else understand your point of view. And it’s extending the mean-spirited tone that was established during the lead-up to the election.
This is one of the meanest elections it’s been my misfortune to witness. And people have been using social media to not only share their opinions, but also to disrespect and disregard the opinions of other people.
Can we agree to a cease-fire now? Obviously you have every right to say whatever you want. But let me ask you this: what good does it do? How does it help? If you believe that putting Trump in the Oval Office will be a good thing, that’s fine. Say that.
But don’t minimize opinions that are other than yours by suggesting they’re trivial – that just fans the flames of social unrest. I am increasingly concerned about the real-life consequences of continuing to fan those particular flames. It’s not just talk, when that talk comes from a place of mockery and disrespect.