Electing to Speak Out

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Four thoughts on the 2016 election:

1. The Silent Majority

The outcome of this presidential election was a huge shock to most of America, largely because everyone talking about the election seemed to be a Hillary supporter. Between the ever-present liberal media coverage and the most vocal of our friends and colleagues, everyone seemed to be voting blue, leading the nation to assume Trump had basically no shot at winning. The key mistake, I believe, was that we as a nation only listened to those who were talking. But so much more was going on in the undercurrents of our country’s populace.

Trump supporters made up a SILENT majority. Most people who voted for Trump did so half-heartedly. Few people think he is a moral, upstanding man worthy of our respect as a person. But many voters would rather have Trump in office than Hillary; even so, they felt shamed into silence. The first person who admitted to me that they voted for Trump did so by saying reluctantly, “I’m guilty. I’m one of the deplorables.” The general consensus among this group seems to be: “I’m disappointed Trump won, but I’m glad Hillary didn’t.”

Throughout the entire process, Trump voters remained a Silent Majority. Before the election, the American media led us all to believe Trump had no chance of victory. The night of the election, my social media feeds were full of Hillary supporters asking in shock, “Is this really happening?” And post-election, everyone around me keeps talking about how angry and upset they are that such a “racist, bullying bigot” is our President Elect. Every conversation around me seems to include the words: hurt, confused and scared. It’s still Hillary supporters doing most of the talking. Trump voters remain a Silent Majority. But the Silent Majority has spoken.

2. The Swing of the Pendulum 

All of the polls and logical rationale pointed to Hillary being named the first female president, but if we throw away all the analysis and use intuition instead, it’s actually not so surprising that Trump won.

After Bill Clinton’s escapades with Monica, the nation wanted the squeaky-clean and morally upright George W. Bush for president. After good ol’ boy “W”, the nation voted in the intellectual and well-spoken Barack Obama. We as a nation repeatedly seek out change, and the pendulum ever swings to the opposite extreme (many of us do this with significant others as well).

Trump is the antithesis of Obama and therefore – from this purely intuitive, psychological perspective – he fit the pattern and was the obvious choice of American voters as a whole.

3. Third Party Voters

I have been amazed by how many of my friends have admitted in the past 24 hours that they voted Third Party. When I’ve asked them if they believed Gary Johnson (or other third parties, for that matter) had any chance of winning, they all said “No.” When I asked if they had a preference between Trump and Clinton, most of them said “Yes.” None of them are indifferent to the outcome; they are all either outraged or relieved.

I understand from an ideological perspective why someone would vote Third Party. My inner child and idealist would have loved to vote for a Third Party rather than the two primary options afforded to us. But no one was under the illusion that a Third Party candidate had a chance at the win, so practicality insisted that a decision be made.

Every time I find out that yet another friend voted Third Party, I feel hurt, frustrated and (honestly) used. Again, I understand the decision, but it makes feel like – whether my friend’s preference was Trump over Hillary or vice versa – they opted to take the “moral high ground” and keep their own hands and consciences “clean”, all the while hoping the rest of us would dirty our hands and sell our souls to get the “win” for them. I wish they would have helped to share the burden.

4. Racism & Moving to Canada

The Canadian immigration website crashed on Tuesday night. That is amusing to me. What is not amusing are the hateful, racist comments being posted across social media in the wake of the election.

Most Americans – even Trump voters – acknowledge that Trump has made a number of horrible, racist comments. And I have heard stories that help me understand the fear and concern of minorities. But many of these same minorities have started to post horrible, racist comments themselves as a backlash against all caucasians.

One of my own Facebook friends wrote yesterday: “We see you, white people. We will always remember how we’ve been treated, and one day, you’ll pay. We are coming for you, f***ing white people. We see you.”

This is deeply disturbing to me. Do they not realize that, in making these comments, they are guilty of the very crime – racism! – of which they accuse caucasians in their broad, sweeping, embittered, racist generalizations? Not all white people voted for Trump, and not all Trump voters condone his racist comments. Hatred will only propagate more hatred. We need to stop this cycle.

On a lighter note:

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Just saying.

Authentically Aurora

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Lessons in Teaching

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I’ve started substitute teaching every other Friday while I finish up my teaching certification, and I already feel like I have some battle scars. Little kids say adorable things, but young adults say deplorable things.

A few weeks ago, I observed a 9th grade math class. I started talking to one of the boys near my desk in the brief moments before the bell rang. I don’t remember what we discussed, but I must have made some kind of impression because thirty seconds later, he asked me, “Are you sure you want to be a teacher? You seem too smart to be a teacher.”

It’s exactly this stereotype of teaching being a “less than” career option that made God have to spend 7 years humbling me in Corporate America before I would consider investing in young lives through teaching.

In another classroom, one of the boys called out in the middle of a lesson, “Did you just graduate from college? You look like you’re still in high school!” They thought I was 21 and were shocked to learn I am 29. Me too, kid. Me, too.

Evidently the physical appearance of a mere 5 year age gap was acceptable because, armed with the knowledge of my ancient-ness, one of the sophomore running backs promptly invited me to his Homecoming football game later that night. I politely declined.

Then last week, my 8th grade math class found out that I already participated in early voting and wanted to know which presidential candidate I voted for. I decided it was wisest not to answer. Unfortunately, this meant speculation from the students.

A chunky Hispanic boy called out, “I bet she voted for Hillary because she’s a woman!”

A skinny African American boy countered loudly, “No, I bet she voted for Trump because she’s white!”

Telling the story to a friend later, I commented that I’m glad their political views will mature as they age to consist of more than simply a basis in race and gender. Then I realized, to my horror and dismay, that not much about their political views will change in the next thirty years. Just look at our adult population.

Authentically Aurora

Clinton’s Incredible Health

incredible [inˈkredəb(ə)l]- (adj.) not credible; without credence; not to be believed

My office building has a Starbucks in the lobby, and yesterday while waiting for my coffee, I passively watched the morning news on a nearby TV screen. Representative Steny Hoyer was being interviewed on NBC, and because of the noise level in the coffee shop, subtitles were turned on.

clinton-healthAlthough uninterested at first, I soon read that Rep. Hoyer (D) was being questioned about the state of Hillary Clinton’s health. This again? What about the real issues? 

I do not wish ill on Hillary. As Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson said, “Look, I hope she gets well, and I hope this doesn’t linger. Pneumonia is a really serious thing, but you know what, running for president, that’ll do it to you.” If she really is sick, I hope she gets better. And if she’s not, I hope she stops fabricating fictional news to distract from the real issues.

Focusing my attention on the TV screen, I could not hear what Rep. Hoyer was saying, but I read the subtitles and laughed out loud when I saw these words: “…the results of a full physical examination by incredible medical professionals…”

He went on to say how strong and healthy Clinton is; that voters have no reason to be concerned. As a Democratic Representative, I have to wonder how carefully he chose his words. He wants the full medical report to be shared with voters – physical exam results from incredible medical professionals.

incredible [inˈkredəb(ə)l]- (adj.) not credible; without credence; not to be believed

Whether Hillary is facing serious health issues or not, I have no doubt that she is in the hands of some incredible medical professionals who can churn out whatever physical results best suit her campaign.

I love America. We really do have some incredible politicians.

Authentically Aurora