Archive for the ‘soap box’ Category

Against my better judgment, I guess I’ll add my two cents (worth barely that) to the fray.

I don’t remember exactly when it ruptured. The division had always been there. But rupture seems the more appropriate term for what happened. It was definitely during the election, but more precisely, it started to take shape during the primaries. When sad politicians, with their sneers and bird-like eyes, spread their blankets of rhetoric.

It seems like a long time ago, now. A time when we had our different opinions on candidates, but could still find that humorous, middle-ground. You know the one: “He did this/she did that… Yeah, let’s just agree that they’re both kind of nuts.”

It was around that time, when a friend commented on how it seemed as if real life had transformed into a Coen Brothers film. And hey, the Coen Brothers make some pretty entertaining flicks. So it wasn’t all bad.

Sure, you had your hard liners on either end, but show me someone stepping passionately onto their soap box, and I’ll show you a really boring dinner party. One that I’m probably trying to get out of. Back then, I was dodging political conversations like a republican during the draft. And just like those fellas of yesteryear, I was getting good at hiding from ugly truths.

Little did I know that the truth was much better than me at hide and seek.

Full disclosure: I’m the son of immigrants. Actually, all of my family here in the states are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. We’re the kind of family that learned to speak Serbian before we learned to speak English. And now, most of us speak both languages (less than ideally).

This was one of the reasons I was so surprised by the fact that some in our family were thinking about supporting Trump.

Given, I’m a socially liberal fella. So I’m surprised quite often. And when you-know-who started in on his anti-immigration rants, and ugly sound bites about women, I was fairly certain a lot of our family’s Trump contingent would pull back on the throttle. That didn’t happen.

Still, that was fine. To each their own, I thought. I knew some of the reasons they supported him over Hillary. She was the same old thing. Business as usual. And there was also the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the Clinton administration and UN led bombing campaigns. This was hard to swallow, especially when some of our family members had died, and many others became refugees. Add in a host of small business interests (all of them in one blue collar trade or another) and there you had it. Even if I didn’t agree with Trump or his ridiculous campaign promises, I understood why some of our clan liked the guy.

Anthony Bourdain recently wrote a great piece about this, except from a rural, middle-American perspective. The fly over states and all that. It’s mostly about how people become resentful when it feels like they (or their problems) aren’t being taken seriously. And looking back on it, this seems like one of the major factors in getting Trump elected. It wasn’t him so much as it was a frustration, or impotent rage over a system that many felt hadn’t just failed them, but had ignored them as well.

I don’t think a lot of those Trump supporters actually believed that he was going to try and make good on some of his wackier campaign promises. Maybe he was just sticking it to the man, in their eyes. Who knows?

But with recent events, the immigration ban in-particular, this Coen Brothers flick just got a lot less humorous.

Perhaps the one good thing that has come from this administration’s heavy handed, un-American policies, is that it has brought people from different backgrounds together in protest. And perhaps groups like the ACLU doing what they can, will inspire more.

People are getting involved and doing their part as Americans. They’re putting their money where their mouth is. Donations are starting to come in to the appropriate groups, while businesses that are trying to profit from unfair policies are being boycotted.

There’s a lot to think about in the strange days ahead. For instance, I’m kind of worried that the fiscal cuts that are coming could affect the arts a great deal, and that would be a shame. But who knows, maybe a lot of us will give a piece of our tax refunds right back to the programs that are affected. And maybe, this is how the fight will play out.

Maybe it’ll be through the voice of the majority, and just as important, through our wallets. Once politicians begin to see that the majority is spending its money with a political interest, maybe they’ll start to think twice. Capitalism isn’t owned by this administration. And once our money starts working against their policies, they’ll bend.

If we’ve learned anything from recent history, politicians will follow the money. If lobbyists can get their ear by lining pockets, we sure as hell can get their attention with how we spend our money. Just look at the contributions in the last couple of weeks to the ACLU. This could very well be an indication of things to come.

This administration’s rhetoric, along with the cable news play-by-play, are divisive in the worst sort of way. They’re making out by simply pitting us against one another. And unfortunately, it’s a big reason why we’re in this spot. We let them divide us. We bickered amongst ourselves, and they fed off it. This isn’t a football game. This isn’t about winning or losing teams. This is more nuanced than that. This is about coming together and reminding these entities that they work in our interests, not the other way around.

And those Trump supporters? We need them too. There’s no use patting each other on the back and talking about how smart and enlightened we are, while simultaneously grousing about how ignorant they are. So we make our tent bigger, and we bring them in. A lot of those folks have already noticed the destabilization that these new policies have brought about. Even if they don’t want to admit it yet. And I’m willing to bet many of them didn’t sign on for all of this craziness.

There were a lot of decent folks, who were simply dismayed by an ugly political system. These are hard working people that could very well change their minds. And we can help them do it. Perhaps some of them are just proud. People in general don’t want to be belittled and/or talked down to. That’s a common trait we all share. Sure, this seems trivial, but in all seriousness, trivial shit got us to this point, maybe it can help get us out.

Some of those people are on the fence already. I’ve seen it. I’ve had more than a few conversations with Trump supporters. In fact (This is our little secret), one in-particular is coming around. She watched the Woman’s march. She saw the news stories about innocent people being detained at airports all across the country, and she knows the wall is a ridiculous waste of money. It’s only a matter of time before she abandons this administration’s outdated way of thinking. And others will as well. And we will need those people. And they will need us.

United we stand and all that groovy jazz.

Well, that’s all I got. And if you don’t agree with my ramblings, that’s fine too. I’m just another dope pecking away at a keyboard in the middle of the night. Hell, I should have renamed this blog The Soap Box. Eh, it’s probably already taken. All the good ones are.

Till next time, be kind and keep going.