Monday, March 06, 2017
Love trumps hate.
I think it's such a nice sentiment and something I really believe: Love [being kind and compassionate] trumps [beats or is more effective than] hate. Who could argue with that?
Literally every time I wore it (you can take me literally and seriously here) someone would tell me they didn't "get" my shirt. They would laugh and say, "Oh! You love Trump's hate?"
It confused me so much. How could anyone think anyone would wear a shirt that said "Love Trump's hate"? It was inconceivable to me. Nevertheless, every time I wore it someone would say that. Apparently it wasn't a very well-designed slogan for a t-shirt. I know that now.
At the time—before the election—these reactions to my shirt annoyed me, but only as a grammarian. The "trump" would be capitalized if I meant "Trump." And it would be possessive, like this: "Trump's." The people asking about my shirt were just being obtuse. Stinkers giving me a hard time. Haha. Because who, really, loves Trump's hate?
However, when I became aware of the alternative reading of my t-shirt it was just like the young lady/old lady illusion. Once you've found the old lady in the young lady you can't un-see her. At first all you notice is a pretty young lady looking away with a long slender neck and a feather in her hair. Then it hits you. Ew! That choker is a mouth. The dainty jawline is a big old nose. You can't un-see it. Love trumps hate becomes Love Trump's hate.
When Donald Trump was elected I realized it wasn't just that people were willfully misunderstanding the punctuation on my t-shirt. There are plenty of people who love Trump, and who love what he's about. I understand the sentiment and the dissatisfaction among Trump voters in the rust belt and elsewhere. I know conservative people (I am a pretty conservative person). I know the words to every song on Born in the USA including "My Hometown." I get the nostalgia for factories and glory days. Christian and I lost our house to a scammy mortgage company that went bankrupt in the 2007 recession and had to buy it twice. I'm not rich. I'm not coastal. I'm a mormon. I live in the red state of Utah.
But I was completely shocked when he won. I thought the way Trump demeaned a handicapped person would be enough for people not to vote for him. Yes, in the face of everything people are going through and how much they didn't like Obama or didn't want Clinton I thought that no one would vote for a man who is so ill-tempered, mean-spirited, unprincipled, and unprepared for public service. I was wrong.
A candidate who doesn't share my values or my view of America won. That doesn't, necessarily, have to mean a complete rejection of my values. There are still a lot of people (a majority if you look at the popular vote and post-election civic engagement) who are leery of Trump. We have to fight harder for certain things that we think are right and fair. That's OK. We can do that. We now know we shouldn't have taken for granted that Trump's bigotry would disqualify him as a presidential candidate. Trump as president is shocking, yes. But not debilitating. In America we've got a lot of tools to work with. Jason Chaffetz is one of them. Zing!
Conversely, I want to do my part to make it clear that the election of Donald Trump does not mean that he speaks for me. Just a day or two after the election my children began to hear things at school—mean things—about hispanic people. My daughter heard some people talking about Trump's idea for a wall and she asked me what deportation was. Then she burst into tears worrying that one of her 4th grade friends would be sent away. Are these the "liberal tears" right wingers joke about drinking out of their MAGA mugs? I don't find it funny.
Donald Trump's win seems to have given racist people license to say what they've been thinking, what they believe most people think and would express freely if unbound by "political correctness." My other daughter's friend was told by a boy at school that she would "have to get out of here on January 20th." I do not share these beliefs.
I DO NOT SHARE THESE BELIEFS.
It's not "political correctness" that keeps me from saying or thinking hateful things about other people. It's not about being politically correct. It's about being humane. Even though I've come to the realization that people see it a different way, I still believe that love trumps hate. I do not love Trump's hate. If I were making a t-shirt and I wanted to be crystal clear it might say, "I disavow Trump's hate." I will teach this to my children and make decisions that reflect it. I will spend money on and vote for people who agree. Even if it makes me a loser and Donald Trump a winner, I still believe that love trumps hate.