Posted by: 2thdocbob | 11 November 2016

Timely Advice from a Liberal: To Conservatives and Liberals

One more political post that resonated with me. Actually two.

Heather Rose Walters wrote an open letter to conservatives, then for the sake of equal time, also wrote one to liberals. I am sharing because I appreciate her sentiments, and her rational message. We are all in this together: whether we agree with each others’ viewpoints or not, we can and should get along as fellow Americans. I want to believe that we all love this great country we live in. With such a significant common ground, we need to be friends.

While I do not agree completely with everything in these letters, I agree with the intent, and with her desire for unity.

I have combined both letters into a single post. Please read both, and take Heather’s words to heart. She speaks common sense to all of us.

An Open Letter to My Conservative Family (Esp. Christians)

November 9, 2016

Hi, guys. If you know me, you know it’s no surprise that I’m not super happy about the election results. But I recognize that you have just as much right to exercise your voice as I do, and you did just that. I’m not here to sling extreme rhetoric at you. I know that’s a problem on both sides of the aisle and I don’t want to add to it (although I did write about it in another letter).

I have close friends and family members who voted for our President Elect, and if that’s you, I want you to know: I LOVE YOU. So, so much. I trust you, and because I trust you I trust that you voted your conscience, and that I will never begrudge you.

There are a lot of reasons you voted for Trump. Many of you were voting platform, or because you did not want Hillary, or because you believe he’s a good businessman, or any number of reasons. I understand, and I’m not here to attack those.

But even as you’re excited and celebrating this morning, I want you to know: You have a Responsibility. There are a lot of problems with Trump — I’m sure most of you will agree to that. There are problems with every candidate. But you did decide that those problems were worth risking when you cast your vote for him (the same way I decided Hillary’s were worth risking when I cast my vote for her). And so you do have a Responsibility to own and address those risks. 

Many Muslim American citizens are afraid for their safety. This is largely thanks to the anti-Islam sentiment of many of Trump’s supporters. If you do not agree with those sentiments, say so. Speak out, and speak peace. Assure your fellow citizens that they are safe. That you will stand with them if they are in danger. I know not all Trump supporters are racist. Speak out and prove me right.

Many women are afraid for their safety. Trump is on record saying that grabbing a woman forcefully by her genitals is just ‘locker room talk.’ There are a LOT of accusations from women saying he has actually done things like that. I can only assume that you voted for him because you believe he has changed, or believe that this doesn’t matter as much as the other issues at stake. Either way, the fact that he has been elected means there is more room for this behavior in our culture. That is part of the platform you elected, and so you have a profound responsibility to help stop it. Step up, speak out, and help put a stop to sexual assault. I know not all Trump supporters are sexist. Please speak out and prove me right.

Many Mexican immigrants are afraid for their safety. Many children are afraid for the safety of their parents. No matter what you believe about immigration, the reality is these are real people with real lives and real hearts and real families. There are many Trump supporters who call names, use racial slurs, intimidation, and threats to bully those of Mexican descent. That is not okay, regardless of whether an immigrant is legal or not. Can we at least agree on that? That as Christians, we are called to treat fellow humans with love and respect, whether or not we believe they should be in our country? I know not all Trump supporters are racist. Now is the time to step up, speak out, and prove it.

Many members of the LGBTQ community are afraid for their safety. No matter where you stand on any issue, again — it is our duty to treat fellow humans with respect and dignity. Many Trump supporters are sending words of hate to this community. If that is not you, you have an obligation to do more than sit back and not say anything. I know that not all Trump supporters are homophobic. Now step up, speak out, and prove it.

I could go on — those who are disabled, African American citizens, our very children — many, many people are frightened right now. And your vote elected the man who frightens them. I know you — I know that you are not racist, sexist, or hateful. I know you are loving people. But the truth is many Trump supporters aren’t like you. If you are silent, your vote for him will be a vote for them, because they are not silent. So speak out against hate. Show grace and support to those who are afraid. You can, I know you can, because I know you are wonderful people. I know you, and I love you, but this cannot be the end of your political action. This is not a vote you can cast and forget. You have a responsibility to follow through and take ownership for this administration. 

Trump said in his acceptance speech that it is time for us to come together, and I agree. Show us who the real Trump voters are — be noisier than those who are hurtful. Help us build a culture of peaceful diversity. Speak out in love towards those you disagree with. Do not add to the rhetoric of gloating, do not allow the rhetoric of meanness. That’s not who you are, and that’s not who we are.

If you simply sit back quietly, now that your vote has elected this man, you are allowing the noisiest of his supporters to create His America. Don’t allow that. You elected Trump, and good things can come from that — but bad things can come, too. So step up, speak out, and stop them. 

You have a Responsibility.

An Open Letter to My Liberal Friends (Esp. in Media)

November 9, 2016

Hey guys. If you know me, you know I’m just as disappointed as you today. I waited five hours to vote for Hillary on Sunday. I feel despondent, shocked, and honestly, a little afraid. I know many of you do as well. But there is a glaring problem in our country that this election has revealed — and it’s not with our conservative friends (although I wrote a letter to them, too). It’s with us. 

It says something — something big — that virtually every major publication and media source backed Hillary Clinton to no avail. Many celebrities, late night hosts, news anchors, writers — the voices of our media — publicly and loudly supported her — to no avail. 

This is a warning: we do not need to speak more loudly, as is so tempting when we are upset. We need to speak differently.

While we thought a win was all but guaranteed, quite nearly half the country spoke out with their vote otherwise. This does not mean they are out of touch. It means that we are.

Most, if not all, of those who voted for the President Elect do not trust the media. They don’t read the things you’re reading, they do not watch or enjoy John Oliver, they don’t believe the news is truly accurate. And honestly — can you blame them? Most media outlets do have a very liberal slant. If your views were not just contested, but openly mocked, by the media, would you be inspired to listen or engage? Probably not. And yet that’s what so often happens. We assume that because all the articles we’re reading are leftist, most people must be leftist as well. We assumed that anyone who isn’t leftist must be a weird uneducated minority, which clearly isn’t true. Because we assumed, we became complacent, and we stopped listening to the half of the country that disagreed with us.

Instead of listening, we posted funny memes. I mean, I know I did.

And now, instead of listening, we’re posting rage, rants, and extreme rhetoric. I do not include posts expressing fear in this — many people are afraid and definitely have a right to be. Nor am I suggesting that we should just roll over and be ‘nice.’

But the reality is that half the country disagrees with you. What’s more, your meme, your joke, your rage, your tweet — it isn’t reaching them. The only way to reach them is with true diplomacy. This means listening. It does not mean conceding. As so many wonderful folks have pointed out today — this is not the end. This is the beginning, and we have a lot of work to do. But that work will only go so far if we consistently refuse to be diplomatic with those who disagree with us.

No, not every Trump supporter is a misogynist or racist. Some are, but very, very few people who voted for Trump did so because they are pro-hate. They’re not. And if you cannot at least give individuals the benefit of the doubt, you will never be able to truly connect, converse, and convince them on some very important issues.

Whether or not you like it, this group has voting power. You will not be able to influence that power by yelling louder. You might, however, be able to influence it through building honest relationships, maintaining respect, and working on your discourse skills.

Perhaps this seems overly optimistic of me. I believe it’s more of a realist view. It would be very easy, and comforting, to post a raging rant about this on Facebook. My leftist friends might like and comment, we could commiserate together, and it might make us feel a little better. But, pragmatically, I know that wouldn’t really do anything besides alienate further the very people we need to connect to. The truth is, there is no other way to affect peaceful change than to realize our media, social and otherwise, has been misused and mishandled and as a result we are completely disconnected from half of our country’s population.

I’m not saying this is easy. Sometimes issues are so personal, so important, that it is extraordinarily difficult to discuss them with any level of calm and I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. We want to be loud and angry and snarky. But that doesn’t work.

However, if we can muster fortitude, calm, patience, and true grace — if we can really make an effort to actually connect with the other half — there still might be hope for change.

As President Obama said today, this is an intramural scrimmage game. We are on the same team.

United We Stand. 

We are on the same team. We all proudly wear the red, white, and blue. Don’t permit the United States of America to become the Untied States of America. Let us all act in way that brings honor and respect to our country, and to our various parties. May God bless America, and may America bless God.

Read the original conservative post here.

Read the original liberal post here.

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