Unbeknownst to many of us, some positive things have begun to creep out of the festering, moldy woodwork that is the sunken ship of a Trump administration. Before you close your browser, or begin googling my address to find me and punch me, let me be clear that my list has nothing to do directly with his policies. That is, unless you count that he so graciously planned to continue instituting the Obama-era equality acts for the LBTQ community, but that wasn’t about him and that is also a subject for a different time. Today we are here to talk about happy things and, if even for a moment, turn away from the incessant headlines leaving many so uncertain and unhappy.
1. These chaotic times are making us appreciate things differently
The seemingly constant threat of civil uprisings and quiet murmurs of foreign countries testing and stockpiling bombs for war puts life into a new perspective when you realize the person with his baby finger on the button is a person who would not hesitate to push it, even over a poorly photoshopped photo of his baby hands.
I do not recall a time so uncertain and unsettled since the two weeks following 9/11, when we invaded a country so quickly it was almost suspicious, as there was no real evidence that was where the trouble started. I knew this in eighth grade; you can imagine how I feel now. Despite the horror, much like it did in middle school, the uncertainty has reminded myself and many others of what is important. Yes, civil uprisings, war, the constant threat against basic human rights are hell on one’s ulcer, and so we seek out joy and contentment in things that were once so buried under the humdrum over everyday life. I find myself less stressed about work, for example, and far more excited to take a long walk with my dog. Getting the dishes done every night before bed? Why? They’ll be there later. Tonight, I’ll unwind with my love and watch Rick and Morty reruns. And my family…cherished although somewhat tarnished jewel of my life…I see them with new eyes.
2. Investigative journalism is about to make a comeback
Okay, this one may be directly related to the administration, but it’s necessary to mention. When this bloated businessman who couldn’t even succeed in reality television starts placidly saying, “You’re fired,” to the press during a conference as if it’s a cute gimmick, and refuses to answer important questions half of the time while remaining seemingly unable to the other half, it’s time for investigative reporting to come back. This is a guy who had the NPA twitter page shut down for tweeting scientific facts. If things get too out of control, these publications may be the only place we can turn to for information instead of entertainment.
3. Conversations we never thought we would have are being had
Typically I don’t like the average Trump supporter, primarily because the average trump supporter I have come across is mean, crass, and assumes because I didn’t vote for Trump I am an unemployed mother of four. Can I, for a second, ask the logic behind that?
How are these people always crowing that as a woman who didn’t vote for Trump, all I want is free birth control, while in the same breath I am accused of not caring for my four assumed children? This is part of the conversation. Why the hypocrisy, from both sides, and why the uninhibited anger at parties we do not know.
The new administration has incited a lot of fear and anger with its hate speech and clever wording placed in each new EO signed, and for some it has caused us to question why we feel the way we do. Perhaps the most conflicting conversation had, even if it is with ourselves, is when we discover somebody close to us voted for who we consider the opposition. Whether it a parent, cousin, in-law, sibling, or friend, initially it feels like a tie has been cut. Somehow, those two people are not as close because how could two people with two dramatically contrasting political ideologies share blood and family, let alone a conversation. Yet it is one that needs to be had.
Let me clarify, I am not saying this in order to unify the country or “give Trump a chance”. The conversation itself does help grant peace with one’s feelings though while still allowing for a healthy vigor toward the opposition.
Bear with me. I know racism is bad, but something positive is America, particularly white America, can no longer hide behind a veil of naivety that allows them to assume racism is dying or dead.
Prior to the last several years of extremely publicized police brutality, I thought perhaps we were on the upswing in other parts of the country concerning racism. Ferguson and the murder of Michael Brown knocked me down a few pegs as I watched a young man’s family mourn for him while the officer in question was paid for his trouble and got married on leave.
The American Dream.
White privilege began to snap back into focus for myself and many others if the growing protests from then on have said anything about this country. Still most denied it, citing the presence of a black president as the end of all racism. “I voted for a black guy so I’m not racist,” is the equivalent to, “Yeah but I have a black friend.” It stops the conversation the minority community is trying to have without hearing pain or concerns, and without properly validating it.
Today’s administration has released a plan that will allow white supremacist parties to go untracked, while Muslim extremists, political talk today for all Muslims, will be tracked without mercy. I am not a politician or a strategist when it comes to tracking terrorist groups. I do, however, live a stone’s throw from several high volume Klan gathering places in the south and this is not something anybody wants to go unnoticed; these people are insane.
Lest we forget Breitbart’s fearless, alcohol sodden leader, wife beating leader, Bannon is now not only in the white house, but also playing a key role in the NSC. More people see where we are as a country, backsliding, and are questioning which side of history they will be on right now. Racism is bad, but this is a discussion that needed to be had.
5. Involvement in politics
The adage, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” really applies here. I long for the blissful days when every time a news alert popped up on my screen my first reaction was not to wonder what stupid bullshit was happening today.
Quietly I pine for a time when politics were a spectator sport for me. I researched who I voted for literally days before the election because, like every other asshole, I didn’t think things were that bad. But they really are that bad and they’ve been on the downswing for quite some time. Many people, far younger than me, see that now and want to get involved. I don’t know if it is this administration or the calamity that was the primaries, but people seem engaged and it is pretty great.
Instead of firing off random facts about a Kardashian (no hate, just…do you need to know all their birthdays?), people rattle off stats on violence, the newest political policy and the impact it could have on people here at home or overseas, and what might have happened if somebody else had one based on reality rather than alternative facts. While all of these positive things are good, and small shining lights peeping out of the darkness, this is perhaps the most important change taking place. It is the only change that will stop whatever is about to come from happening again.