At the end of the day, there's just us. In November, this freak show better known as the 2016 presidential election is going to end. When it does, the circus that has taken over public discourse will mercifully, proverbially leave town, taking Trump, Cruz, Clinton, and Sanders with it. One of the four will go to the thing they want most, the other three will be busy seeking some way to save face.
None of those people will give you or me or the other thousands of faces in the crowds so much as a second thought. We were simply a means to an end. The people we cheered for, the people we volunteered for, the people we waved signs for, the people we voted for, those people are not our friends and neighbors. They're not the people we wave at over the hedge between our yards. They're not the names that make us smile when we see them as we log into social media. They're not our classmates or our co-workers or the people on the next seat on the bus or the next pew at temple or the nodding acquaintances at the track.
Yet many of those people who populate our lives have somehow become the Others. Depending on who you've been following, those Others are sexists, or ageists or ableists or racists. They're the immigrants who are here to steal jobs or the anchor babies who jack the system or Middle Easterners or Neonazis or Latinos or...or...
Do you remember when all of those people not Others? Do you remember when they were just your friends? I do. And I wonder what will happen November 9th, after so many of us have said things we wouldn't have dreamed of saying a year ago. I'm not completely innocent, either. At least a couple of candidates have pushed buttons on issues that I thought I was able to be a grownup about. Instead, I got angry and acted on my frustration that the supporters of those candidates did not get why their words were so hurtful.
Will we be able to heal from this and move forward? I hope so. After the last time a candidate made me feel so outraged that I had to rant, I thought about the fact that the candidate would never read my words and even if she did, she wouldn't care. However my friends who support her would. They, not the candidate, would be in the crosshairs of my anger. I think of that every time I start to write something, because whatever hurt I cause, I'm going to have to help heal.
So think hard before you post or tweet or talk. Remember that your candidate isn't going to be person you see the next day. The first-generation American, the woman, the Latino, the person of color, the gay man, the straight ally, the conservative Baptist guy, and more, they'll still be here. Will we be able to look those people in the eyes?
So the circus leaves town on November 9th...and then there's just us.
copyright 2016 Jas Faulkner/Zen Dixie