We Can Heal the Divide. Here’s How.

Right now, there is a lot of strife and agony among liberal Americans, ranging from a bit of sadness to full-blown hysteria, with some convinced that death camps are inevitable. There are riots in the streets of Oakland, as people react emotionally and violently to not getting their way. There are widespread protests of the election result, with it being a literal case of the losers losing but wanting to win anyway. Imagine if America played a baseball game and the National League Liberal team lost the World Series to the American League Conservative team, and then the Liberal team started rioting because they wanted to win.

Yeah. That’s what is happening right now.

I’m not happy about it.

“But you’re an anarchist! This is anarchy!”

No, it’s not. This is violence, and violence is mutually exclusive with anarchy. Scroll up and look at the tagline for the site. Peace, love, and liberty. Those word choices are not accidental; they are all tied together. I would even say that it’s as redundant as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Peace is love is liberty is peace. There is no room within the mantra of liberty for violence and destruction of property except, as I said earlier, as retaliation to clear and provable injury.

Conservatives are happy and are gloating, ringing their hands and thinking about all the wonderful things they are going to do to liberals now that they are back in power. This is the realization that motivated me to write myself the letter this morning–it’s foolish to expect that conservatives genuinely want to meet liberals in the middle. Some do, yes, and some liberals want to meet in the middle. But more fall closer to the straw man than fall away from it. However, it is also true–Trump has shown nothing but willingness to meet in the middle and, in social areas, that’s a good thing. He has explicitly extended the hand of peace to liberals, notably the LGBTQ community.

I’ve talked about this before. Things changed in Orlando. I’ve since removed my video on the subject, because it was too heartbreaking to leave up. Following Orlando, conservatives across the country–including some of the most homophobic people I’ve ever known, like my father–extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community, saying, “You’re one of us. This was an attack against us all, and we’re going to stand beside you.”

Petulantly, the LGBTQ community retorted, “No, this was an attack on only us, because we’re LGBTQ! It was homophobia! You’re just as bad!”

The chance for healing was right there, and I wept as we drove past it without even acknowledging it.

Conservatives, however, led by Trump, are, continuing to extend the hand of friendship. All liberals have to do is take it.

handshake1_3219777kWhat I’m finding most remarkable right now is that it genuinely does seem like Trump is going to try to unite the country. When Trump said that he will ensure the safety and protection of LGBTQ citizens, the crowd–conservatives, of course–cheered for him. My eyes water just thinking about it. It’s here, the moment is here. It’s right freaking in front of us. All we have to do is accept the hand of peace.

Liberals

How you feel right now? That is exactly how conservatives felt in 2008 and 2012, when you mocked them. Of course, there was no Universal Liberal Petition on the conservative secession petitions. Some liberals said what conservatives are saying now: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” Others said, “lol, you can’t survive without us.” Others said, “The union is perpetual. You can’t secede.” Regardless of what you personally thought of the secession petitions that Republicans put forward across the country, if you are a liberal you are undoubtedly in a position, right now, at this very moment, to understand how people on your side feel when they sign these petitions. You understand precisely how they feel, even if you don’t share their feelings or even if you don’t feel sorrow to that extent.

Take that emotion! Take that empathy!

Now apply it to the conservatives from 2012 who felt exactly the same way. Sympathize with how they felt. They felt in 2012 exactly what you are feeling now, for exactly the same reasons you are feeling it. I implore you: do not write off their feelings by saying, “No, theirs was just bigotry about having a black president.” Do not do that, because then conservatives will just write off your feelings by saying, “You’re just being a baby because you don’t want to have to get a job.”

And nothing will change. No bridges will be built. We’ll remain divided on our different sides, hating the other and thinking terrible things about them–things so terrible that we are unable to empathize with their emotions because we reject the validity of those emotions.

So please. I beg you: don’t write off their emotions as invalid. Accept their emotions as equally valid to your own.

Conservatives

How you felt in 2012 and 2008? That is exactly how liberals feel right now. I know it feels good that the shoe is on the other foot, and now you have the opportunity to mock them. You’re going to have to resist that. You’re going to have to be the bigger person here, not call them hypocrites, not gloat about it, not mock them, and not deny the validity of their emotions. I know they did it to you. It doesn’t matter now. We have to put the divisiveness behind us, and that now starts with you, because now you’re the winners. You have to be graceful. It’s never been more important.

Empathize with what liberals are feeling right now. Remember how much you feared Obama? Don’t give me that bullshit that you didn’t fear him. That’s not going to work on me. You did. It wasn’t because he was black, and I’m not saying it was; it was because he was unfamiliar, and we fear the unfamiliar. Sure, eventually you realized that it wasn’t that serious, the world wasn’t going to end, and the sky wasn’t going to fall, but you did think that it was going to. Remember that today, and know that it’s how liberals feel now.

Put aside your innate human nature. Don’t say, “Good! They should feel it now, like we had to feel it in 2008!” Please. You have to put that aside.

A Future of Secession Petitions

This recent round of them made me realize that it’s the new norm. Henceforth, every single time we change Presidents, we’re going to see a batch of secession petitions. I have zero doubt that we’d be seeing them right now if Hillary had won, and we’ll see them again in 2020 regardless of who wins. The idea of having the Federal Government fully controlled by people with whom you adamantly disagree is scary, and the natural response to that is “Fuck that.”

And that’s what people are faced with today. All of those liberal states and liberal cities–they are faced with the prospect that they are about to be ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagree on almost everything, just as conservatives in 2008 and 2012 were faced with the prospect of being ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagreed on almost everything. This cannot continue. Obviously it can’t. We can’t just keep going back and forth making half the nation miserable, unhappy, and afraid.

There must be a better way.

handshake1_3219777k

A Better Way

There is a better way.

That we saw secession petitions under a Democrat and now see secession petitions under a Republican is the most incontrovertible evidence that we’ve ever seen that we must severely reduce the power of the federal government. California doesn’t want to be ruled by a Republican they disagree with so completely. We can all understand that, as I spent several paragraphs above explaining. We have this common ground. Neither does Arkansas want to be ruled by a Democrat they disagree with so completely.

So what are we going to do? Throw up a new round of secession petitions every time we have a new president, because we’re so eager for revenge and the opportunity to make the other side miserable that we won’t do anything to prevent ourselves from being miserable next time we lose? Because Republicans won’t control the Federal Government forever, and neither will Democrats. Maybe in 2020 the House, Senate, and White House will change hands again, and we’ll have another round of petitions from Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, with Democrats laughing and saying, “Haha, not so funny now, is it? Have some gay marriage, bitch!”

Come on, people. This is madness.

As long as we have a Federal Government with the power to rule so completely over all fifty states, the secession petitions are here to stay. If the Federal Government abode the Constitution, the secession petitions would not be necessary. I’m no Constitutionalist, but we suddenly have Democrats who are in favor of small government, the Second Amendment to fight against the state, and other libertarian-ish positions. Great! Now accept that you don’t want to be tyrannized, so forego the opportunity to tyrannize others.

Start seeking peace. Stop seeking revenge.

Conservatives, don’t seek revenge now that you control the Federal Government. Liberals, don’t seek revenge when you take it back. Let’s attack the heart of the problem: the Federal Government shouldn’t be telling California what it can and can’t do in the first place. If the Federal Government couldn’t tell California what it could and couldn’t do, then there would be no need to secede just because we got a president that the Californians wouldn’t like; it just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

We have the opportunity now to empathize with one another and to agree. This “tyrannizing each other” thing is not working out.

Let’s change it so that politics is no longer a Hate Sale.

It’s time to live and let live.

3 thoughts on “We Can Heal the Divide. Here’s How.

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