Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lost faith in humanity

Back in August, I wrote a blog called I shall not live in fear. It was a reaction the anger and fear of Trump supporters of and regarding immigrants, Muslims, non-White people, crime, loss of the English language, a Black Lives Matter member marrying their daughter, Satanists praying at their next city council meeting, and on and on and on. The level of fear, anger and righteousness was absurd to me then.

It's not only absurd to me now. It's terrifying.

Facts mean nothing to these people. They spew the most vile racist and sexist things while denying whole-heartedly that they are racist or sexist. They are not nearly as economically disadvantaged as they claim, and they've regained economic ground lost under the Bush administration (thanks, Obama, for real!), but their perception is otherwise. They feel under siege, even though they aren't. They feel they are having their quality of life taken away, even though they aren't. They see greater opportunity for people not like them as meaning they themselves are losing out.

How to reach them? Pardon me if I am not feeling a desire to "reach out" or "meet them half way." I hereby confess that I think the term deplorables as quite apt, and I don't like deplorables.

I'm a reason-based gal. I like in-depth statistics and facts and data, even when what such reveals is an inconvenient, even painful truth, even when I have to change my mind as a result. Righteousness repulses me. I, therefore, have a great deal of trouble relating to people who don't do this, who will seek out data from a not-at-all credible source just so they can double down on their beliefs.

How to show empathy for the un-empathetic? How to reason with unreasonable people? How to show kindness to unkind, even hateful people?

And how to restore my long-held faith in humanity, a belief in the idea that, ultimately, after a lot of mess and failure, we are capable of getting it right and living together and embracing the idea that all humans have the right to equal opportunity?

Even being a humanist requires faith. Humanism stresses the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasizes common human needs, and seeks rational ways of solving human problems. I'm just not so sure about that whole potential value and goodness part anymore.

What now? I will continue to learn Spanish, have coffee with Muslim friends, dance at gay weddings, watch science shows, read books, visit Mexico, sing Louvin Brothers songs ironically, say and believe #BlackLivesMatter, call myself a feminist, listen to international news radio stations, not say the "Pledge of Allegiance", applaud smart, intellectual, professional women, delight in diversity, have the utmost respect for public servants and do lots of other things that, apparently, are woefully un-American in the new USA. I will continue to travel - and hope I'm safe doing so, that Trump hasn't created a far more dangerous world for me and put a target on my back, as someone from the USA.

And in doing all that, even if my faith and hope aren't restored, I'll be having a nice time.

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