We Can Do Better

We Can Do Better

With 7 days left until election 2016, I have to vent.

I keep thinking about our history.

I think of the fear and yet courage of ¬†abolitionists, of suffragists, of the black kids in the streets getting attacked by dogs and sprayed with hoses, of the Little Rock Nine or of those who marched in Birmingham. I think of the unfair literacy tests, of the poll taxes, of the propaganda against women and blacks voting,and more importantly, of those who remarkably still tried. I think of the blood shed and lives sacrificed by both those fighting in the name of liberty overseas, and those fighting for the same at home. I think of the time spent and sacrifices made by those that fought for the most basic of safety nets, so retirement wasn’t synonymous with death, and old age didn’t equate to poverty. I think of all those people, all those leaders, who said in word and action – – we can and we must do better, from Tubman and Lincoln, to Anthony and Stanton, to Teddy, Eleanor and Franklin, to King and RFK and JFK.. all the way to Obama. I think of all these things and reach one inescapable truth – – we owe it to them to do so much better than we’re doing.

Never before have facts and truth been more readily available, and yet we routinely cite fiction and conspiracy as truth; we consider our regurgitated falsehoods and opinions as equally valid opponents to statistics, studies, and undebatable facts. We post memes to prove points, while taking no time whatsoever to research whether their claims are true.

We owe them better.

We’re clueless about how government works, about how the electoral process works, we baselessly and recklessly echo claims of elections being rigged or stolen, when calling such claims implausible would be an understatement.

We owe them better.

We sensationalize stories, we build up false equivalencies, we go for clicks rather than information, and we quickly read headlines rather than carefully read stories.

We owe them better.

Yes, we owe it to all of them to stand up to bullshit, to lies, to misinformation, to propaganda. We owe it to them to not buy into fear, to not accept and legitimize hate, or xenophobia, or sexism, or racism. We owe it to them to stand up to the bully, just as they did, and say no, WE can do better, and we will.

And WE includes all of us–not just those who the bully has picked on. So yes, not just the women who have been objectified and demeaned, or the immigrants who have been equated with criminals, or the inner city blacks who have had their lives devalued and stereotyped, or the patriotic Muslims who are are pawns of fear mongering, but also the Republican leaning white, religious voters who feel “left behind”.

Because for all the groups that modern Conservativism insults, be it women, Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, union members, scientists, economists, gays, those that actually have read the New Testament, etc., there may be no group they routinely insult more than white men – – particularly uneducated white men. For decades they’ve been fed zero sum BS meant to scare and control–female empowerment makes them weaker, immigrants make their labor less valuable, unions give them less autonomy, Black lives mattering means their lives do not, etc. etc. – – and for years the anger and resentment festered, while their lives did not get better—-except under progressive economic policies. They’ve of course been told that patriotism comes in one model: white, male and armed-and armed they must be-because they are constantly told they’re unsafe, that their kids are in danger – – communism is coming, Soviets are coming, gays are coming, the Axis of Evil is coming, Mexican criminals are coming, ISIS is coming, their own Government is coming- – and they become paranoid, and stockpile not just their weapons and ammo, but their anger, their resentment, their fears, until someone makes it ok to let it all out, until someone says it for them, until someone appeals to and reinforces all their misguided, misdirected frustration – – – until Donald Trump.

Only it’s all bullshit.

We, all of us, owe our history, our present, and undoubtedly our future better than we’re doing.

Because being a good citizen isn’t about being the loudest, the richest, the flashiest, the toughest or the most armed…and it certainly isn’t about standing for a song. It’s about grabbing hands with others, with no attention paid to race or gender or sexuality or religion, and standing up to ignorance, to bullshit, to hate, and saying nope…WE can do better, WE will do better – – because we’re together – – and you’re alone.

And if we don’t do that, if don’t come together and stand up to the bully as so many have done before us, the question becomes, how will history remember us?

Vote… And vote informed.#StrongerTogether #BetterTogether #ImWithHer

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