A Word to Both “Sides”

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My heart is broken. My candidate didn’t win, but it is more than that.

As a child, I was abandoned by an alcoholic father who died when I was 11.

I later became an alcoholic myself, though I have been sober now for 27 years. I have survived the death of a child, a surprise divorce with all the trimmings, single motherhood, a beating by an unfair court system that doesn’t insist both parents actually support their children, rape, 9/11 and more.

Yet this is the first time in my life — and I am 54 years old — that I actually feel afraid for my future and the future of our world.

Clearly, I’ve “lost” before. But this is the first time in my life that I find it hard to choke out the words, “That’s my president.”

On the other hand, I’ve raised three white sons and I’ve been hearing about the “privilege” that my boys supposedly have. I resent being made to feel guilty for the color of my skin and theirs. It’s not my “fault” I’m white. It’s not my boys’ fault either.

I’m a liberal. I’ve always been a staunch advocate of the underdogs of the world. My heart breaks for the injustices I see. And, as an empath, I literally feel the suffering of others.

But here’s the thing: some of this we liberals have brought on ourselves. We have gone too far. “Black Lives Matter” but so do the lives of my three white boys and every other one out there.

Yes, I understand the nuances behind the name. But most people don’t. Plus there is this — You don’t get past your own disenfranchisement by disenfranchising others.

You see, at the same time I have been trying to instill in my boys a love for all people, those same people have been telling them that they should be ashamed or pay back the world because of the color of their skin.

It’s been a reverse-racism and, yes, I’m a liberal and YES that reverse racism does exist.

On the other hand, as a woman, I have been marginalized, threatened, trivialized, hurt, underpaid, discriminated against, and raped because of my gender.

I’m a woman who has lost.
Again and again and again.

Still, because I’m white and because I’m a member of the middle class there has been no safety net, no government hand-out, no quarter for me in the losses I have suffered.

Hold your baby while she dies, and then, “figure it out, girl.” Discover in the middle of the night that the marriage you thought you had wasn’t real at all and suddenly find yourself a single parent with no government to demand equity.

Just, “figure it out, girl.”

Thank god I have a family who loves me and cares for me, even as we disagree significantly on political issues.

Yet as a woman who has had to pull herself up from disaster again and again and again, I am so very tired of paying taxes that support others who refuse to do so themselves. And yes, this applies to people on both “sides” of the political aisle.

I don’t believe in welfare (except in very limited cases) or farm subsidies. I also don’t think the government should rescue you from an uncertain job just because you haven’t worked hard to get current job skills.

And don’t get me started on “no child left behind” and “standards of learning.”

What are you going to do when you graduate and we have let you be weak and the WORLD leaves you behind?

I have HATED raising my kids in a liberal culture that believes that they each deserved a “participation award” instead of letting them lose and win and get stronger for knowing the taste of each.

It hasn’t worked, people.
None of it has worked.

And, so white people are hurting.
And I am a white person. Hurting.

I’m caught between two worlds. I can’t afford my own bleeding heart. I’m a fiscal conservative trapped in a social liberal’s body. Or, maybe it’s the other way around.

Whichever.

Because of this, every election, I have “lost” one or another parts of myself. And yet, this is the worst. This is the unthinkable. This is beyond the pale.

This is reverse reverse racism at its worst. This is fear and homophobia and all other phobias combined.

This is a nightmare – of our own making.

But I know that I will find a way, because I’m a “way-finder.”

Just for today, though, I’m so very, very tired.
And afraid. So very, very afraid.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, Steven Depolo

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4 Responses to A Word to Both “Sides”

  1. That post took courage. The beginning struggle out of politically correct bias. Maybe that will be part of what Trump will force out of us. Some recovery of honesty, about that fact that marginalization has as many faces as there are people. Trump is not only America’s choice- he was the product of silence, hypocrisy, indifference and greed.

    He stands tall enough to embody them, inescapably. We won’t escape. Nor should we.

  2. Beth Avner says:

    I too feel your pain, your suffering, your exhaustion and your fear and horror. I just want to run away and pretend this all didn’t just happen. I’m still struggling as to how this moves humanity forward and so disappointed in my sister Americans. The only thing I can think of and “do” is focus on being the change I’d like to see. It’s painful, but I’m offering a smile, thoughts of compassion and love. I’m also hoping the sick and sad feeling, I wake up with everyday, goes away. Thank you for your eloquence and honesty. Maybe someday, we’ll understand.

  3. Anne says:

    Very well said. Many people won’t say what you just said but they think it.

  4. Great post, thanks.

    We have been watching with horror from across the pond. First Brexit and now this; clearly we need to sit up and pay attention, and not only to the people who think like us. To get past thinking that those who don’t are simply ‘wrong’: even if it seems to me utterly undeniable that DT is repellent, no matter what your politics, we have to understand better how for some people he seemed the best choice or even lesser of two evils.

    And incidentally, in the wake of my own traumatic divorce: I would be completely over it by now – I am over the heartbreak, loss of partner, betrayal of trust etc – BUT for the refusal to comply with a Court Order to pay maintenance for our children. If your experience provides you with any tips I’d be very grateful, because this is destroying me (as described on my recent post, Dumber than a Penguin, in which I realise that penguins make way better fathers than the dumbass I married.)

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