A few weeks ago our president reversed the bill President Jonson passed in the sixties that would allow for the government and church to be separate. This means that big Christian churches can start donating to political candidates and still not have to pay any taxes. This is outrageous, this is not what Christianity is about but it is what these big churches and evangelical leaders are trying to make it about and this needs to stop. Christianity is about helping your brother out and bringing people to Christ individually or through the church. If you look back at history when the church gets involved in politics sure it goes great for a little while but then there is this downward spiral of corruption. Also, all those evangelical leaders that are in politics don't speak for me or speak for my faith. This is going to divide our country even more because we are not creating a fair system for everyone. We are creating a system that only benefits some people of our country. I promote helping others by promoting principles that stand for everyone without bias and look at it from the standpoint what if this was me. I don't support shoving Christianity down peoples' throats with this mass evangelism: it's this idea of easy and deceptive Christianity. This type of Christianity might look good on paper but in reality, it isn't what Christ calls us to do. My ideals are to promote loving one another and letting your good works and deeds show, so that people may think "Hey I want what he got, he seems like a loving and nice guy." Not by flaunting my faith in their face but by showing them love and grace.
As I pushed the button to speed up the stairmaster at the gym, I stared absentmindedly at the TV screens across all of the walls in the cardio section. I breathed heavily as I pressed on and didn't think about what I was watching and seeing. Our joke of a president, wildfires, and babies at the border that broke my heart seemed to fly by as I climbed on and on.
But they were there, in my mind. Like everything else that is wrong. Spinning. I think I've landed myself in the most unfortunate mental space during these Trump years. And here is why.
When Trump was elected, I was a first semester college student, experiencing a whirlwind of my own and then heartbroken to see Hillary nearly fade from view. It was the nightmare I feared for so many months but what was more sickening was the fact that I knew, as a young white woman, it would not hit me as hard as others.
And being in a stressful time, being so young, and seeing something so heart-wrenching, so incredibly cruel, and so concerning happen to the country left me hopeless at first.
If you've read any other pieces I've written, you might have sensed that. You also may have sensed my drive to veer away from that sense of hopelessness and I hope, maybe you felt motivated to step up.
But as I climbed on and on during this stairmaster workout, I felt like I was at the bottom of a very large hole and as I screamed for help, no one could hear me and trying to climb out myself would be useless.
In the Trump era, a girl who was once so enthusiastic and active and empowered, now found herself hopeless and living with a mindset that actions don't actually make a difference. I'd probably tell you otherwise, but this is an honest account of how I feel, and yes, that girl is me.
I'm not a politician, I'm not in a place where I have ample time to give up my job to be an advocate, and I'm finding that as life speeds by, other interests fall in the way of my path. A few years ago, I was that annoying teacher's pet type kid who ran for every student-body election, was in a million clubs, and wrote for the school paper. Back then, I was immersed in my little bubble of high school and felt that my words and my actions could make a difference. Often, they did. Even on the outside, being a leader in my community paid off. But in the adult world, life got overwhelming. And then we were thrown this asshole of a president and suddenly, the news and every part of the world became a battleground – what would he say next, who would he threaten, what would he shock us with, and mostly, what would he reveal about our country through his actions?
Trump supporters have not gone away quietly. They are alive and well in their masses. And the most important thing we can take away from Donald Trump is that, the worst and most nightmarish thing CAN happen in what's supposed to be the greatest nation on Earth (I'd beg to differ but we'll save that for another article) and when it does, we'll be able to see with the utmost clarity who the people of our country are and how deeply-rooted racism, xenophobia, hate, and bigotry really are. And it's a crumbling, sinking, devastating feeling we get from seeing this reality.
I'm not going to lie to you, every time I know of someone in my life or my circle that is a Trump supporter, I'm stuck wondering if they're incredibly, incredibly stupid or if they managed to hide a disgusting truth so well. Don't EVEN get me started on the people who go on and on and on about how they have friends who voted for Trump and friends who voted for Hillary and no matter what they're still friends.
That mentality is weak, that mentality is being a bystander, and that mentality condones evil. I HAD friends who voted for Trump. Note the past tense. They're not a part of my circle now. I prefer to keep the accepting, loving, equality-supporting, and DECENT human beings close. I know I know, how dare I label someone a racist or evil or horrible for a VOTE? Sue me.
Let me remind you, the votes we cast in any election are valuable. Have been fought for. Are still fought for. They are the center, the core, of our democracy. If you valued that so little as to vote for an ORANGE who is applauded for his racism, his hate, and who vows to tear our nation apart, you're not someone I want to associate with.
Something that people take so much pride in through their support for this man is how he "really speaks his mind and says what he thinks,".
When I hear this kind of language, I recall a teammate I used to have. In every bit of honesty, she was one of the most mean and disrespectful people I've met. But she was fast in the boat and did very well. One of the best people on our team. And whenever she said something mean, everyone would make the excuse… "Oh, that's just Sarah,"* or, "She's just like that,". They excuse poor behavior and being a bad person because of a status on a team, just like people excuse Trump's cruelty for him simply "speaking his mind,". And he's not even a star athlete – he a failed businessman and annoying reality TV star who might have some ounce of charisma if you're into that orange, nasty kind of charisma.
These people, who follow him and who believe he's simply speaking a truth that we need to hear, are the biggest problem. They're bystanders to the truth that needs to be heard, that he is a monster. But just like they are bystanders to the problem that sits in the oval office, I feel as though I am a bystander in a different way.
I'm not like them, but as I watch it all unfold and go about my life, I feel that I need to do more. But I also find that I am stifled by the news, the disaster that is unfolding before my eyes, and without much power in being an ordinary citizen that I can see and believe in during these dark times, I say with the saddest honesty that I feel like a bystander too. I'm turning a blind eye, in some ways. And I am part of the problem. We all are. But to what end can we continue under this disgraceful, discouraging, conditions?
By realizing that he's on a path of destruction like a hurricane. And his that truthfully, things may get worse before they get better. And most importantly, the ones we love that are bound to fall victim to his evil policies are going to get hurt. We're coming up on a crucial time where we must have a societal reckoning – how can we be a voice for the voiceless, how can we amplify the oppressed and oppress the hateful voices from the other side? How can we be of action when action seems impossible?
I've chosen to write. And to write until I feel the hope again. But we all can realize that this is the greatest test we've come across, and we're going to fail if we don't come to terms with one thing: This IS wrong. We might not come out in good shape. The people who struggle the most in this country will continue to hurt. And how we think, how we act consequently, how we raise our children, and how we choose to live our lives will determine if we give them a fighting chance.
It's time for a mental overhaul: Turn the volume up on the news, read into the issues, recognize what is wrong.
I'm begging, for every person on the streets tonight, for every toddler stuck at the border, for every family wondering about their fate as a minority in this country. For all of us.
This is not normal, and never will be. America deserves better. Press on.