Speak Up

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Generally, my blog content and the news do not cross paths. A few of my monthly wrap-ups may have included links to articles or posts related to current events, but the primary focus has never been discussing what is going on the world. And boy is there a lot going on.

I've gone back and forth many times about whether to post on here about Trump. I usually turn to Twitter for that. I like that my blog is lighthearted. I like that it's a place to escape from the dumb shit in the world. At the same time, I also feel a moral obligation to speak up. I don't want to shy away from writing about topics with more substance when they need to be written about. As somebody with an outlet not only to write but to really speak, it's important for me to do so.

I have an uncle who voted for Trump. He is the only person I know who voted for him. Usually, when something happens that sparks criticism against Trump, I think, I wonder how my uncle feels about this. In light of the events last weekend in Charlottesville, I thought, you know what? I'll just ask. I posted a link to his Facebook wall and wrote, "Would be interested in getting your thoughts on this Twitter thread, as well as about the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville and Trump's refusal to directly condemn the racism-based violence."

My uncle has been quick to defend Trump. Yet when directly and amicably asked for his thoughts, silence. Though he'd been active online, he didn't respond for three days, and even then it wasn't until after I had given him a nudge in the comments because maybe the post got buried under notifications and slipped under the radar, huh?

His reply was a quote of information from somebody else. I gave a thorough response, addressing each point, to which he simply said we'll agree to disagree. There hasn't been much said between us since, but this hasn't been sitting well with me.

Saying we will agree to disagree is a curt reply, one that immediately dismisses everything I said and shuts down the conversation. While I don't agree with Trump supporters, I'm willing to discuss. I would much rather have the feeling of I get where they're coming from but I do not agree than the absolute hopeless confusion and frustration I feel now, fueled by the fact that this very vocal man refused to acknowledge my thoughts or opinions and provided none of his own.

I didn't reach out to pick a fight or start an argument. I wasn't trying to change his mind – I know that I can't. I genuinely wanted his perspective. I wanted his reasoning, because right now it comes across as blindly following Trump, backing him up no matter what. For whatever reason, it's 2017 and we still have to explain to our own flesh and blood, to grown ass men, that racism is bad and equality is good.

I am of course not the only person to be writing about Trump. I'm also not the only person who doesn't support Trump but has relatives who do. I'm not writing to talk about a unique situation.

I'm writing to tell you, to remind you, that this is the time to speak. We cannot stand for this. Speak up for what you believe in, speak out against what you don't. Call out what's wrong, shout about what's right. It can be small, but it has to be something. Conversations can be powerful. Silence is complicity.

My mom said something recently that I think we all need to hear: "The world is not terrible. There are terrible people in it. And if good people do nothing, then the terrible ones multiply. Start there." Do good, be good. When the bad shit gets overwhelming, make the good shit louder.

If you "don't like to get in to politics," I get that. I usually don't talk much about politics either, let alone write (scattered and incoherent) blog posts about it. But this isn't about politics anymore. It's about basic human decency.

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