Election Blues? Shame On Me!

Originally Posted on November 11, 2016 by BJ Howell.

This election took a toll on all of us.  Now that it is over, I sit confused at all of the words and opinions going back and forth. Why are so many people encouraging others to accept what is, and play nice when these same people spent the last 8 years spewing hate? There are certain things I can ignore, until I hit a breaking point. I’ve been in many situations growing up where people felt comfortable enough to talk openly around me, even when what they were saying was outright offensive.  I’ve always chalk it up to ignorance, but as an adult, I see that it is so much more than that. Those qualities that seem so hateful overshadow any and all of the qualities that I was drawn to. An ugly heart will always overshadow the good in a person. If your heart holds hatred, you can have all the good qualities imaginable but that hatred will ooze out at every possible opportunity.

So, as we continue to wallow in the nastiness of politics, I am reminded that when people show you who they are, believe them. You can’t be hateful Monday through Saturday and love everybody on Sunday.  Or drop little seeds of hate and negativity everywhere during the political season or when a Black man is in office (yes, I said it), then revert back to being a decent individual when its over. Life doesn’t work that way…The damage is done. 

Having opposing views shouldn’t be an issue for adults. Adults should be able to hold productive conversations about the issues without having to resort to negative, hurtful rhetoric. The unfortunate thing is that when we are dealing with hate and racism, productive conversations with all parties isn’t always possible.  Power looks to win, not resolve.  But on the flip side, that doesn’t mean we all have to resort to that same type of behavior.  And if that’s considered “adulting”, I refuse. We need to figure out how to deal with the issues while respecting everyone (even if that respect does not flow both ways, which it’s clear that sometimes it doesn’t).

Those who don’t see their behavior or way of thinking as a problem will never change. In 2016, if you don’t understand that people from a different background, upbringing or race might be offended, not because you have a different opinion, but because you spew negative systemic hate, then there is nothing left for me to say. This election brought out what has been in the undercurrent all along.  However, that is not the world I choose to live in.  Shame on me for entertaining negative, archaic, double talk.  If you use facebook (or any other social media platform) to talk or argue politics or the issues we face as Americans, I have no problem with that, as long as it is factual and productive. I might even join in… But double talk? Negative, unnecessary comments? Ignorant rhetoric that does nothing but keep the situation stagnant? No thank you. I just assume skip over your posts. 

So moving forward, I will pay closer attention to what I allow to access my inner peace. When I see negative, hateful material that is offensive, I will block you.  If you engage in double talk without actions to back up your “change of heart”, I will probably skip over your posts. And it doesn’t matter who the posts are directed toward. It’s not ok to spread hate or lay stagnant in it (content that your side won, or angry that your side lost).  Again, that is not the world I choose that live in. It also doesn’t matter who you are (family or friend) or what race you are, or if it might be awkward seeing you, knowing that I ignore your posts…or deleted you from my account. It is what it is… Hatred is learned. And ignorance is only bliss when you have no alternatives. If you are not open to understanding the views of people who are different or if you’re just comfortable with your line of thinking, it is not my job to convince you about what is right or wrong, why certain things could be considered offensive or the ins and outs of playing nice (something you should have learned in kindergarten). 

As a Christian, it doesn’t matter who is in office, I know who is in control. And I choose to not allow this election or the residue from it change who I am. I don’t agree with hatred on any level, towards anyone, and I will not allow myself to be pulled into anything that keeps us in this same spot (of division).  Let’s figure out a way to fix the problems…Not play nice because you got what you want, or wage war because you didnt. Let’s look at the true issues of racism, poverty, healthcare, education, etc. Whether we agree or not, engage in that conversation and I’m on board. But from this point forward, regardless if I love you from near or from far, I’ve done my time. And I will no longer entertainment ignorance…

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