Previously, on memoirs of an unremarkable man:
“easy for me to say, part 1”, I wrote about why “I am about as privileged an individual can be in the United States of America.”
“easy for me to say, part 2”, I wrote about some of the ways that privilege has influenced my life.
It’s probably pretty obvious why I am bringing this up. This year’s United States of America presidential election was full of divisiveness, fear, and hatred on so many levels from so many different people and groups.
And now that the election is over, and the new President is who he is, quite a few of his supporters think this means they can do whatever they want, with zero consequences.
I have family, friends, and co-workers that are women. That are part of the LGBTQ community. That are Muslim. That are Jewish. That are African-American. That are Latino. That are Middle Eastern. That are Eastern European. That have mental illnesses. That have physical disabilities.
And many of them are afraid. They are afraid of what the next four years will be like. With everything that has been said, it is easy to think worst case scenarios are not too far away.
Some of these people may even be afraid of me. After all, as a not quite poor, straight white male, I am dead center in the main demographic that voted for our President-Elect.
And I hardly ever talk politics with anyone other than my wife. On here, I usually post about nature, or writing, or simple stuff that doesn’t really matter. I don’t share memes on Facebook that express my belief or stance or thoughts on any political, economic, or social issue. I’m a quiet person in more ways than one. Few people really know what or how I think.
It would be easy for me to say “We’ll get through this together.”
It would be easy for me to say “He deserves a chance.”
It would be easy for me to say “Let’s wait and see what happens.”
It would be easy for me to say these things, because I am white. Because I am am male. Because there is no personal risk to me, because of who I am.
But I am not saying those things. There are a lot of problems with that mentality. For one, the President-Elect has two choices. To move forward with what he talked about during his campaign. Bringing the hate, discrimination, and outright violence into the White House and giving his supporters even more reason to think they can get away with the same.
His other choice is to go in another direction. To say that he said all those things in order to get elected, but now that he is President, he will be everyone’s President, and actually use his position to enact and enforce policies that truly help heal and strengthen the entire country. Apparently, there were some hints of this in a recent speech he gave.Fingers crossed. This however, could cause a lot of those who voted for him to feel betrayed and abandoned. How could he control them, and prevent them from committing all the violence and discrimination that the campaign brought to the surface?
Either way, there is cause for many to fear. Already there have been acts of hatred and violence in the name of our President-Elect.
I am not a hero, or a savior, or saint. I am not the nicest person. Sometimes I am not nice at all. I don’t have the emotional energy to keep a lot of close relationships. Honestly, one, maybe two, really close relationships and I’m tapped out. And my wife takes precedence. I have distanced myself from some amazing people for this very reason. Some of them probably think I am an asshole. And they aren’t wrong.
But while I am a privileged asshole, I am not completely blind and deaf to the pain of others.
I spent the past two days discussing something I’ve never discussed before – my very own male white privilege – to let people know that I am at least partially aware of it. And that I am aware that not everyone has the same privileges as I do.
What I am trying to say is that I do not support, condone, or vote for hate, bigotry, misogyny, racism, sexism, violence (other than when required to defend against violence), or discrimination for any reason in any area of business or life.
If anyone feels they have the right to physically or verbally attack, harass, or abuse anyone simply because they are a little bit different than you, you are wrong. If you attack, harass, or abuse a woman, an African-American, a Latino, a Jew, a Muslim (or someone in any other religion), or someone who is homeless, who is LGBTQ, who is mentally or physically different, pretty much anyone for any reason, and I am there, I will get in your way. I will come to the aid of the one being oppressed.
You may think “That’s very easy for you to say”. It is true that this is easier said than done. It is also not very likely that something that obvious will happen right in front of me. It is not very likely that my words will be tested. (May this trend continue until there is no chance at all of these words being tested, but excuse me if I don’t hold my breath.)
However, like I said, I don’t talk politics. I don’t like politics.
It is not and will not be easy for me to say out loud where I stand and what I think.
But I feel it is time, past time, for me to let people know how I think and feel. I will not stand silently by while worst case scenarios happen and people are attacked, abused, harassed, discriminated against, and perhaps even shipped off to various “camps”, since we are talking worst case scenarios.
I might not do any good. I might not make any difference. It’s even possible that these words I am writing may very well have come across as obnoxious, condescending, and offensive to the very people I am trying not to offend. But I will do what I can to spread love, tolerance, and understanding. Because while it may not make any difference to the world, it makes a difference to me. And if there is a chance that it makes the world even slightly more positive, a little more bearable, to anyone, whether I know them or not, then saying these words will be worth it.
my words have been said
my stance has been set today
now i move forward