It’s Not About Politics Elaina Portugal 04/08/20

It’s Not About Politics

Elaina Portugal 04/08/20

Recently, I was told that people cannot talk politics with me because my reaction is so immediate, so visceral, and I cannot hear the other side. I had to stop and think about that. While I very much have my opinion about politics, I wanted to think that I could at least hear the argument of the other side, even if I didn’t agree with it. 

When Obama was president, I could hear what people had to say about the ACA. I could understand that he was wrong in much of what he thought would happen, and I was just as enraged as everyone else as I watched my insurance premiums double and triple. I understood that while the thought was to get us closer to a more universal system and have more people covered, the actuality didn’t pan out. I could hear that. I could discuss it. I could postulate claims on both sides of the argument. In all of his eight years, I never once felt that an attack on Obama was an attack on me, but with this administration, when someone touts Trump’s greatness, I experience it as a slap in the face.

Why? What’s changed? 

I realize it’s not about politics. It’s about character.

When the video of the bus interview came out, “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” I was convinced people would fly away in droves. It sickened me that I was wrong. 

“It’s locker room talk,” was the excuse. Really? We can excuse that behavior because that’s how men talk in the locker room? Maybe we should be looking at that behavior and attitude rather than dismissing it as “locker room talk.” 

Rape culture, anyone? 

Let’s not forget how he imitated Serge Koveleski. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a link to the video. He belittled a man who challenged him. He did not attack what he said. He did not attack his source, he attacked his disability. 

And still people excused this behavior–Found a way to dismiss it–Believed his lies when he said he didn’t even know the guy had a disability.

In regards to Mexicans: “They are not our friend, believe me,” he said, before disparaging Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” I had students crying the next day at school wondering why people hated them so much. Insisting that their parents were not drug dealers or rapists and feeling betrayed and angry by anyone who would vote for him. They became wary. Did others they know think like that? Who could they trust? 

The one I found most shocking was Trump’s quote: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” I was sure his supporters would walk away after that. He just told them they were stupid, morally bankrupt, or sycophants. If the guy you want to vote for can kill someone in cold blood and you’re not going to walk away, what does that say about you? I found out what it said a few months later when a customer threatened to shoot me because my store clerk couldn’t readily find the item that had been put aside for him. Yes, he said he was going to shoot me, and this was after he had a heated conversation with another customer in my store about the size of Trump’s balls and how amazing he was. 

I realize these tidbits have been discussed ad nauseum in the media. I realize they are now a few years old, but these are the items that formulated my revulsion for the man who is now our sitting president. These classless, derogatory, morally bankrupt attitudes and beliefs that at least 25% of the American populace embraced, or at least didn’t shun, are just the tip of the iceberg. Detention camps, gaslighting, outright lies and exaggerations, have only compiled my revulsion.  Here is one article about his lies about the Coronavirus. Here is another article comparing Trump’s lies to Obama’s. 

There are so many examples of these attitudes and beliefs that have occurred since he’s been elected, but I’ve come to accept that the reality of this situation is that the people I choose to have in my life are my echo chamber. They have many of the same beliefs I do about our current president, and it is hard for us to hear the politics over the debasement of human values. When I hear someone praising his accomplishments, what I hear is someone justifying an abusive person’s actions. “Yeah, he may have abused them, but he also provided them with food, clothing, and a nice house to live in. Give the guy some credit.” 

This is why I can’t talk politics with you. This is why my reaction is immediate, visceral, and intense. It’s not even so much about our president; I really don’t want to have to accept that you believe everything he’s done and said is okay, or at minimum something you’re willing to overlook because…and that’s just it. Because what? There is nothing I value more than human decency, kindness, strength, empowerment, and uplifting the human race. 

Until someone can explain to me how he represents the values I hold dear, or convinces me there is something more important than those things, I cannot speak with you about politics, because it’s not about politics. Not in this cycle. 

It’s about human decency.

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