Nine Days

“Obama ought to be shot.”

This statement rang out clear at the table while celebrating Christmas this year. No joking, no wavering- just pure conviction. This is one of the things that frightens me most about our incumbent president: ever since he started gaining actual traction during the primaries, the level of hatred has seemed to rise.

I was raised in a traditional right-wing, religious household. What concerns me more and more is hearing the people who I’ve known my entire life say things like a president should be shot because his idea of government and social and economical issues doesn’t coincide with their own. What worries me is seeing these same people happily vote for a man surrounded by controversy because he vows to make our country “great” again.

It’s been said again and again, but what exactly was “great” about our country before? Slavery? Taking the land away from the indigenous people who once lived all across the continent? The fact that women and minorities weren’t able to vote? Segregation? Please, enlighten me. I’d really like to hear your version of our “great” country.

This person who said Obama should be shot was the same person who inspired a short post on my instagram about feminism:

I had an incredibly difficult talk with one of the most important people in my life yesterday. That person is one I’ve always looked up to, always valued, and always appreciated. I had to explain the difference between feminism, misogyny, and misandry when they told me they weren’t a feminist. They then went on to explain that women were more fit to raise children than men were and that women just couldn’t do some of the things that men could. I can’t express just how much my heart broke in that instance. Hearing those words come from someone who I thought was one of my biggest supporters and who thought I could do anything changed my understanding of them.

And so I’m stuck in a place that I’m not quite sure how to gracefully come out of. I’m in this situation where I don’t feel valued as a woman. Where I’m concerned to express my true thoughts and views. I don’t believe the people who make hateful or derogatory statements about the current president, women, or minorities truly see them as human beings. They certainly don’t see them as equals. How can anything be communicated if the other party doesn’t acknowledge there’s even an issue?

This situation bothers me more and more. I get sick to my stomach when I think about the fact that someone in my family, someone who claims Christianity and family values, can be filled with such hateful thoughts. As inauguration day looms nearer, the sick feeling increases. The leadership that will be the symbol of America for the next four years has created a safe place for hate, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and so much more. People are becoming numb to this rhetoric and I worry that soon, statements joking about raping and murdering people who don’t fill the “good ol’ boy” requirements will become the norm in our country.

With all of this comes one of my goals for the year: I refuse to sit by without holding people accountable for their words and the actions that follow. Hatred and ignorance are not things I want to be surrounded by. I want to live a life filled with love, acceptance, and respect for humanity, and I’m having to come to terms with the fact that some people may have to be removed from my life in order to experience those things in their entirety.

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Berlin Wall- Berlin, Germany; April 2014

 

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