Normally, I try to avoid talking about politics, but this year, it's been a very difficult topic to escape. People have lost friends or dropped family due to the results of the election, which I think is incredibly sad, and I had hoped I wouldn't encounter that myself...but oh, how wrong I was.
It all started the day after the results were announced, I came home from work and logged onto AIM as usual...and found that someone I had once perhaps considered a friend had decided to leave me a scathing private message blaming me for how our country was doomed, all because those of us who voted third-party basically handed our votes to the candidate she didn't like. (That's not quite how things work, we voted for someone who we could tolerate because by that point, we didn't much trust the big two, but hey, not like she cared about that.)
Of course, she apparently got her ranting out and then blocked me so by the time I did see that message, I had no chance to even begin to defend myself. Perhaps it wouldn't have worked anyway.
So then came the fact that another friend was in panic mode, thinking we really were all doomed...and I understand why she was afraid, to a point, but I could only manage to do so much before we basically put all political talk on the "firmly off-limits" list. Much safer that way, and things worked very well. We had no shortage of other topics, we could discuss plenty of better things. Shows we were watching, movies she had seen, ranting about retail work and such. Even talking about the weather...
...but then the weather, somehow, connected to politics one night. I still remember the date: 29 August. I know I had been talking to her, all seemed well, and then I brought up the recent hurricane events (at that time, I believe we were talking about Harvey making a big soggy mess of things) thinking that hey, she's been through hurricanes before, at least this one isn't over her area. Weather is usually a safe topic.
Somehow, I was wrong. Somehow, she managed to bring up politics, mostly with a comment about not minding if the current president had something tragic happen to him...I believe she mentioned a plane crash due to the weather, as he was going there to visit people. I was stunned, I never expected that from her. I understand she doesn't like him, sure, but that just...wow.
So I told her I thought that wasn't cool to say, the storm actually did kill people (luckily not the president, but still, wow) and thought that might be the end of it. No such luck. There were other issues in the news at this time as well, and those were brought up. I didn't call names, I didn't even want to discuss things like this, so I tried to keep my replies simple. Apparently this meant I was sticking up for the president, who again, I understand she doesn't like.
(Did we catch earlier where I said I didn't vote for him either? Just in case.)
Things were getting heated, so I said to her, as I did on the night after the results were announced, that I am still not her enemy. I'm not the one to get angry at, I am not the enemy.
I understand she's afraid, that she feels unsafe, that she doesn't trust this guy. I get it, I do. Perhaps I don't understand all of it, as there are some fears I may never have to face, but I understand that she doesn't like our current president. Remember, I didn't vote for him either.
I am, however, willing to give him a chance. I may not agree with all he does, says, or tweets, but I hear more and more about good things he's done, and perhaps it won't be so bad.
All but calling me a stupid white girl who doesn't understand, however, is not fair.
Exactly why should people like me have to sit down and shut up when others are free to speak their minds, even if it's just to repeat that they hate who got elected? Don't we get to have our say as well?
Apparently not, according to some people. It just makes things worse.
It's been four months now, and I still think back to that night at times, wondering what went so wrong. Did I try to sound caring and it came out wrong? Did I sound like I was flippant, like I was brushing off her concerns?
Was it really me, or did she just want to be rid of me after all this time? I have no idea. I may never know, as she blocked me shortly after that last discussion. Apparently all the things I did for her meant nothing.
All because of politics, especially this year.
On the one hand, this year is almost over, and a new one can begin. On the other, a lot of things will be dragged over the line into the new year, things we may never escape. I'd like to hope that a lot of people will be granted clarity in the new year, so they can perhaps see just what they've thrown away.
I can only hope for peace in 2018. Peace and clarity.
Now that I've been able to get this out, maybe I can get some peace myself. I'm not angry with these people--mostly just sad. Disappointed, even, that I meant that little to them. I thought I had been a little more valuable, but in the end, apparently not.
I have a family that loves me, that explains things to me, and supports me through rough times. They're all dealing with being dumped by 'friends' for political differences, so I'm not alone. I'm sure there are others out there also dealing with this problem, maybe they're looking for a support group.
Maybe that's what this entry is meant to do, help with support.
To anyone who might comment in here, consider this a safe space. Play nice, or don't bother coming into the sandbox at all.
Peace and clarity in 2018. I want to believe.
(The fun stuff will return in the new year, don't worry. This was just a long time coming, and now that it's done, I can relax again. It'll be tough, but I just have to keep moving forward.)