posted by Megan Wadsworth on Jan 14

2017 is in full swing and the dreaded inauguration day is closing in on us. Fast. We will soon have one of the most, if not the, most divisive presidents in American history. There were cries from Republicans after the election. ‘Stop protesting!’ they demanded. ‘It’s time to come together’, they said. Well, I have to say I agreed with the stop protesting part. You can’t protest the results of our democratic process. All we can do is work to change that process. The Electoral College was formed so people like Trump didn’t get into office which makes it an obvious failed experiment. But I have stayed quiet for a while. I sat and waited patiently for Trump to apologise for his hateful speech during his campaign. I waited for him to stop shifting blame everywhere. I have waited for a speech denouncing the rise in hate crimes since the election. So many of which have been committed in his name. Saying you don’t agree with it and it has nothing to do with me is just not good enough Mr. Trump. I have waited for some accountability. I have waited for Presidential Trump to emerge as the reality of the job he was awarded settled in. Yet he continues to act like an overgrown toddler. My favourite shitty Trump moment was his New Year’s tweet that might as well said ‘Happy New Year to those who voted for me and Na Na Na Na Boo Boo to the rest of you. Love!’ It’s almost laughable. If only it were funny. As long as this continues, the idea of coming together seems pretty far-fetched. So, we will probably be coming together to about the same extent that we came together for Obama. As in, not at all. I think the question is more, how do we deal with disagreeing? This is the issue that has me the most stumped. I know plenty of people who voted for Trump. I don’t agree with them, but equally, it has zero bearing on my feelings for them as human beings. These are people I grew up with, people I love dearly. That doesn’t stop because of politics. So, I’ve hemmed and hawed. What’s my roll now? Do I stay quiet? Or do I voice concern over the injustices that I am witnessing? Well, I’m dipping my toe into the ‘voicing concern’ pond and I probably won’t go back from here. But I promise to try to do it with as much grace as possible. But I will also dually prepare myself for the ‘unfriending’ onslaught that is sure to follow.
There is so much to say but I’m going to start with one value most American’s hold dear, Free Speech. I’ve been pretty inspired by Meryl’s Golden Globe speech. I loved it. But there have been many who do not share the same opinion. That’s fine but what’s not fine is this idea that she should have never opened her mouth. I clicked on a few FB links to articles expressing disgust at what she did. What bothered me the most was not the articles themselves, but the comments sections, where I saw absurd statements that she should think before she speaks. Well, I think she did just that. I also saw a littering of hateful words directed at her followed up with the hashtag lockherup, which got the desired multiple ‘likes’. So now it’s not just Hilary who should be locked up but any vocal Trump critics as well? This made my blood run cold. What kind of freedom is that? I’ve seen loads of comments stating that Meryl’s entire legacy is tainted because she chose to speak out. This attitude scares the crap out of me. It’s all too reminiscent of McCarthyism. An idea that still seems to linger in America. ‘If you don’t agree with me, then you deserve less freedom than I do.’ Bush said that not being behind him for the Iraq War was Un-American. Well no actually, it isn’t. Publically not agreeing with your government is quite American, thank you very much. Trump encouraged people to violently lash out at those who disagreed with him at rallies. If we are quiet about this attack on free speech then we aren’t doing our job. Because not allowing people a voice is just not OK. And like it or not this includes the voices of those who disagree with me. It’s your right to do so. But please don’t tell me I’m un-American for my views. That really pisses me off.
The first thing I will be sad to see go is Obamacare. I know one of the main problems for American Conservatives is Big Government vs Small Government. But unfortunately, America with its (now diminishing) superpower status makes a small government impossible. We are too big to be effectively small. But if it truly goes this way then so be it I suppose. But be prepared for what will go with it. This fear of Big Government seems to be wrapped up in a still widespread fear of Socialism which sits uncomfortably close to Communism in many people’s minds. The Cold War is still recent history after all. I don’t know how to go about setting one’s mind at ease regarding these issues but I do know that some socialist policies do NOT mean you are headed down the road of communism. I live in a nation that has exactly that. And guess what, it’s pretty damn capitalist over here. We don’t have Target but we are surviving. I have a pretty big mixture of friends on this side of the pond, who include Christian’s, atheists, conservatives and liberals. In fact, a trip to the pub with friends might include any combination of these. And no, this is not the opening of a joke. It’s real. And in this mix, I do not know one conservative in the UK who would like to see the National Health Service gone. Not one. But what I do understand is that the cost of Obamacare has put a heavy financial burden on some people, depending on your state. Georgia has suffered quite a bit due to flaws in the Act itself and also due to the Conservative State governments who wouldn’t budge and refused to work with the President. These problems are important to address. We can’t let the middle classes drown but at the same time the heal digging in that Congress did was outrageous. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a conversation about what might make it better? I had this conversation with Republican family friend this autumn when I was visiting my beloved homeland and it went swimmingly well! Shock. Ahhh but I digress into my fantasy of a bi-partisan society. I know it’s not possible but I love the moments when it happens. I will hold onto these and view them as progress. I will leave it there for now. Feeling a bit braver now thanks to Meryl, like I might jump into deeper waters next time… LBGT and Muslims maybe. Rocking the vote, errr I mean boat, one word at a time.

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3 Comments to “Speak”

  1. Mark Says:

    Everyone needs to speak. But listen too. The people that voted for Trump are being fooled that he gives a shit, but I’m not hating them. But I am very very scared for what is next.

  2. John Sarver Says:

    Brilliantly presented, Mrs. Wadsworth!
    Dialogue not doctrine slapping. We need way more of this over here.

  3. Pete Smith Says:

    Well said as always. Thanks for the perspective.

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