Despair and Depression Follows Trump Victory

The victory of Donald Trump was credited to his campaign hearing the pain of white working men. That demographic was not the only group to vote for Trump, but their supposed pain over their economic situation is not hard to believe or understand.

Since the election, however, there has been a serious lack of desire and willingness to understand the feelings of “the losers.” Yes, there has been and is great disappointment; that always happens when one loses, but bigger than that, there is a general feeling of despair, depression and hopelessness.

Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign was hate-filled. He railed against immigrants (his supporters will say it was only illegal immigrants, but many immigrants in general were offended by his words), he revealed his sexism, he berated and made fun of a man with a physical handicap, he called people names, and more. He was a bully, a proud, arrogant, privileged, white, male bully and his people loved it.

Others, though, did not like it. They did not attribute it to mere politics. To many, Trump’s verbiage revealed the soul, the spirit and the ugliness of America. He made it clear that he wanted to “make America great again.” He did not care that when he asked Stephen Bannon, for example, to head his campaign that the selection of a man who represented the so-called “alt-right” was threatening and troubling to people who feel that the alt-right is racist to its core.

When Trump won, the “other masses,” not white working class men, but women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, immigrants …felt like they had been hit – not by Trump but by the American masses – with a steel ball. They felt like all of the work they had done to get marginalized people fairer representation in this country was for nothing. If they were reading and hearing Trump correctly, they understood that what he intended to do was take America “back” to a place when they were kept in their place as wealthy, white men grabbed again to the horns of power.

While “the other masses” have mourned, racial violence has spiked. White victors, including Richard Spencer, an avowed white supremacist, have gloated, saying that “white America,” “white men,” won.

Those words are like knives cutting into the souls of people who have been fighting white supremacy all their lives.

To this day, the prevalent feeling of many is not “sour grapes” because Trump won, but ta familiar feeling of hopelessness. Many people are clinically depressed. The victories gotten have been hard-fought and hard-won, and to think that those changes will possibly be wiped out by this man and his administration is daunting.

Some people have sunk into their despair. “Why even try anymore,” asked a young man at a candlelight vigil for environmental justice. Another person distressed about the suppression of voting rights by the Republicans before and during the campaign, said that the suppression will only continue under the new administration.

“All that fighting and suffering to get black people the right to vote …and now, this,” she said. “I…am tired.”

The Rev. William Barber has said, as have a slew of Progressive preachers and pastors, that “standing down” in light of this new president is not an option. Mourning at the thought of what seems like useless efforts is normal, but just giving up is not the answer.

Those who have been fighting must continue to fight …and must bring others along with them.

It is ironic that the new administration can identify with the pain of white working men, but has said basically nothing about all of the other groups who are not only hurting now but who have been hurting because of America’s racism, sexism and economic policies which benefit only a small few. It is troubling that his new cabinet seems to be made up of white men who have done well in this capitalistic country without much regard for the poor and struggling.

The message that many hear is that it only the struggling of the white working class that matters.

Time will tell what this president will to for the masses of suffering who are not white. Time will tell how immigrants will fare, how urban children will fare with a person heading up his education department who doesn’t seem to much care for public education. Time will tell how black and brown people will fare as they are continually affected by state-sanctioned violence, and how women will fare if the U.S. Supreme Court is stacked with justices who care little for the rights of women, even as they bleed for the rights of unborn babies.

So much is on the line; so many are standing on that line, and this administration seems not to notice or care.

Whenever a group or an individual feels unaffirmed, unimportant, disposable – they grow within them a deep pain that often turns to resentment and sometimes to violence. That is the pain Trump picked up in the white working men. What he and his administration do not see or care to think about is that that same pain is brewing in the souls  of a lot of people who are not white but who, like their white brothers and sisters, are not working, either.

Pain is not black or white; it is not Republican or Democrat; it is not Right or Left; it is not Conservative or Liberal.

It is simply human pain, and pain, unattended, causes problems.

It would be nice if some of the Trump people would acknowledge that there is a lot more at stake than the bruised feelings of working white men, but I don’t suppose they ever will.

And it is because so many of them won’t acknowledge that that the predominant pain of those who did not want Trump (and many did not want Hillary, either) is pain, depression, hopelessness and despair.

Can a nation truly be great if so many are in despair? I think not.

A candid observation ….

Black People and Women, Supporting Trump

donald-trump-comments-about-women-excuses

It makes no sense to me at all.

Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for president of the United States, has shown himself to be racist and sexist, not to mention xenophobic. Though he visited a black church and participated in worship, he has not shown any real compassion for black lives. He has said he will bring jobs to the inner city, but he has not said how he will do that. He has said that black people have little to lose by supporting him, saying “your schools are lousy,” lifting up the high unemployment rate among black people, and saying that black people cannot walk in their neighborhoods without getting shot. He has said little to nothing about excessive police violence meted out against unarmed black people, resulting in their deaths with police officers not being held accountable. He has not come across as a friend to black people in the United States.

Likewise, he has shown an incredible lack of respect for women since he began his campaign. He bristled and rebelled when Megyn Kelly of Fox News called him on his name calling of women in the first GOP primary debate, and has consistently said that he deeply respects women. But his language and, apparently, his actions in the past and the not so past, have indicated differently. This is a man who has objectified and disrespected both black people and women, and yet, people in both those demographics support him, some vehemently so.

Trump’s racism and sexism seem not to matter, including his sexual advances and indiscretions toward women. His bullying of anyone who has challenged him…seems not to matter. His name-calling seems not to matter. His mocking of people with disabilities seems not to matter. For his core, nothing matters, and it rocks me to my core.

It is inconceivable to me how any woman, and any black person, can support and believe in this man. His words and his actions have opened a door for people to go backwards. His definition of making America “great again” seems to be going back to America’s sexist and racist roots. He comes off as a privileged, selfish white man who never grew up, a bully by whom many people have always wanted to be called “friend.” Black people in this country have always wanted to be a part of the “in crowd” of white people, a group of people many of whom will never accept blacks as being equal to whites. And I can recall women in college who gravitated to the “jocks” because they were popular, because they had money and because they, too, wanted to be a part of the “in crowd.”

Trump has gotten away with his behavior for years, with people giggling and acting like he is OK. He hasn’t changed, as his surrogates have asserted. He is 70 years old. He has not changed and will not. He has been disrespectful toward blacks and women and many other white males his whole life.

In true form, he, an undeniable bully, cannot take what he gives out. He is the ultimate whiner; everybody is doing him wrong; the name-calling and cruelty he began he and his surrogates blame on everybody else.

He is a classic narcissist and bully, and yet, people support him for the office of president of the United States.

I am not so concerned with Donald Trump. He is who he is and has always been and will always be. Those saying that he has changed, that he has “confessed the Lord Jesus” and has truly changed, have their heads in the sand. Trump would turn against Jesus if he heard Jesus call him on his shortcomings. He’s that arrogant.

What I am concerned with is the mass of Americans, blacks and women particularly, who follow him, who adore him, who desire to get close to him and be a part of his inner circle. I find myself wondering what they do, the women, if and when males accost or insult their daughters. Are they silent? Do they encourage their daughters to just shut up and take it? And I wonder what blacks who support him tell their children and their congregations about how to deal with racism. Do they tell them that it’s not so bad, that “by and by,” when they get to heaven, it’ll all be all right?

Such denial of this man’s decadence is unacceptable. He is grooming a whole new generation of racists and sexists and bullies. America is going backwards to a degree that is scary and troubling. Trump’s damage is deep and will not go away if he doesn’t win the White House. There has been unleashed the arrogance of America’s past, when white men and women felt no compunction at all about racist and sexist behavior; some of his supporters reportedly have said they want to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote because they are incensed that women may swing the vote away from their beloved candidate.

Does that bother anyone but me? Is America in real trouble? Has the self-hatred carried by blacks and women come to a dangerous day of reckoning?  Has the work toward getting rid of these two “isms,” written into the Constitution, been for nothing?

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This country has been forever changed because of Donald Trump, and two demographics which should have run from him as fast as possible. They did not. They gravitated toward him, and in so doing, unleashed a demon I am afraid will be very difficult to quash.

This country isn’t so democratic. It isn’t so moral. It isn’t so ideal. It’s much like many countries which this country has denounced because of their human rights violations.

Land of the free and home of the brave? Not so much.

A candid observation …

Reeva Steenkamp: Another Woman Needlessly Dead

Office on Violence Against Women logo
Office on Violence Against Women logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While everyone is in shock over the murder of Reeva Steenkamp allegedly by “blade runner” Oscar Pistorius, I am more in shock that domestic violence against women is still such a major problem in this world.

It is hard to believe the story that Pistorius offered about what happened at his home on Valentine’s Day, but it is not hard to believe, or to conjecture, that the couple had domestic violence issues before that fateful night.

What many women do not understand is that domestic violence is not just physical; it can be emotional, verbal, or psychological as well.  We women too often take treatment, or endure treatment, that demeans us, thinking that somehow things will get better or, worse, that we are somehow to blame for the violence our mates are heaping upon us.

Lisa Ling did a program about a year ago, with a follow-up last evening, on the OWN network about human trafficking. The whole issue of human trafficking is a subject for another time, but the mindset of the young girls and young women that makes them vulnerable to being used by pimps and johns is not unlike the mindset of women who stay in abusive relationships.

Last night on the program, a young woman who managed to get off the streets and get back into school with plans to go to college was trying to help another young woman, who wanted to get out of the business but was afraid. The young woman who had made it out said to her ( and I am paraphrasing) that when a guy tells you you’re pretty, don’t believe it. You tell yourself that you’re pretty. You believe it yourself. You don’t have to depend on others to define you.

It appears that far too many women, no matter how educated or attractive or capable, have low opinions of themselves and they do in fact depend on their men or partners for their definitions of themselves.  The men or partners can sense the insecurity and, like the predators they are, prey on the weakest part of the women they say they love. Even the act of preying on one’s weaknesses is an act of abuse and bullying.

The result is that far too many women end up being used in the course of being abused. Some men use women as “prize wives,” not respecting them for themselves but instead using them for their professional advancement. Others use women as their security; they do whatever they want but they dare their women to run out on or leave them. There are a host of reasons why men abuse women, and the world is becoming less complacent about it, but the world is doing too little, too late.

The young woman who was gang-raped on a bus in India, and who eventually died, pointed out the arrogance many men feel when it comes to the way they treat women. Whatever made those men feel like they could do that and get away with it? A silent society…

Women are brutalized every day, in front of their children, in public places, anywhere a man or partner feels like he or she wants to do it.  The society has to do more to address the problem, but we, the women, have to address the problems in ourselves that make us stay in abusive relationships.

Being lonely is not an excuse to stay; wanting to maintain a certain lifestyle is also not a reason to stay. It is said that Nicole Simpson, the wife of O.J. Simpson,   had filed charges against her husband for domestic abuse several times, but she, like so many other women, always went back. Was it the lure of fame, of her husband’s fame, that kept her going back?  Tina Turner endured abuse from her husband Ike; Rihanna, it seems, is still enamored with Chris Brown, despite his physical abuse of her.

If Reeva Steenkamp had encounters with Oscar Pistorius that were abusive, verbally, emotionally or otherwise, it is sad that she chose to stay.  A person who abuses another doesn’t love that person; he or she wants to control that person, and is afraid of losing that same person. We, the women, have to make the changes, “do the work,”  as Iyanla Vanzant says, of fixing our spirits and our resolve so that we care too much about ourselves to let any person treat us as objects. The United States Senate passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, with no help from the Republican senators, but its ultimate fate lies in the hands of the GOP

led House of Representatives. (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/12/1556601/senate-passes-vawa-again/?mobile=nc) That anyone would think this issue is not worth their time is infuriating. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) thinks the problem is so serious that they are doing important research. (http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/datasources.html) It is way past time to take this issue more seriously.

Perhaps those who think there is no need to have the government step into this issue. According to an article that appeared in The Atlantic, some Republicans think that the act represents government overreach and is a feminist attack on family values. (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/why-would-anyone-oppose-the-violence-against-women-act/273103/).

Seriously?

So, abusing women is an accepted value in American families?

That cannot be the case.

Whatever the House decides to do or not to do, we, the women, have got to take this problem by the horns and deal with it as we have never before. Reeva should be alive. So should thousands of other women who died at the hands of abusive mates. Women in prison who decided to defend themselves ought not be there. At the least, there ought to be a national “stand your ground” law that women who fight back can have to protect them.

This has got to stop…now.

A candid observation…

 

Big Government Be Damned?

OK. So Nancy Pelosi says Republicans are anti-government ideologues. My question: So why do they run for office?

If one does not believe in government, then what do such political candidates believe in? Why spend literally millions of dollars to be elected to office? Why are they there?

What do these anti-government ideologues want? They don’t want the government to do anything for the underdogs of our society.  They prefer for the private sector to do that, some kind of way. But doesn’t the private sector, businesses, want to make money most of all, and are pretty much not concerned with the well-being of those who do the work?

President Calvin Coolidge said that the business of government is business. Some have said that democracy and capitalism, as two belief sets, are not compatible. Democracy as we have come to understand it, or the way many interpret it, is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We who believe in democracy have internalized that to mean ALL people.

But capitalism is different. Capitalism seems to adhere more to the line of thought which promotes the “survival of the fittest.” Capitalists scorn those who cannot “make it,” and do not believe that democracy is supposed to mean that everybody can and should get the same benefits. Capitalists promote the thought that the only reason some people don’t make it is because they do not try, especially in America.

True, there are more opportunities for attaining the so-called “American Dream” in these United States, but some people really try to make it and just cannot. Maybe it’s because of extenuating circumstances or personality flaws, but maybe it’s because of something called discrimination. Surely that cannot be ruled out, no?

If it were not for government, people who have dealt with discrimination wouldn’t have had any protection, it seems. Blacks, browns, women …have all had to call on government for help and fairness when business and/or society would not budge. Government acted …albeit slowly …to insure a more level playing field for those who had been essentially pushed off to the sidelines.

So, there IS a need for government.

So, if there was no “big government,” what would happen to those who are making their way to center field now? Would there be a repeat of post-Reconstruction, when blacks, who had made political and economic gains were essentially pushed back into legalized slavery in the system known as “convict leasing?”

The federal government really stayed out of the Southern states after Reconstruction got underway, and slowly, state governments began to return their society to the way it had been before. The powers that be didn’t want blacks, and certainly not women, to have the opportunities that white men had. They didn’t even think blacks should have been freed from slavery.

Big government, then, has its place, it would seem. When people are trying to make money, they want to make money, not babysit or placate people who are having a hard time making it. They want the most work for the least buck, period. Without a big government that cares about people, many ordinary folks would just be out of luck.

That’s not to take away the fact that some people are extremely skillful at pushing against the resistance that comes with pursuing any dream. Some people just will not quit, and they deserve to move ahead. Vince Lombardi once said “winning isn’t everything but it is the only thing.” That is the mantra for many people and it works.

But some people with a little less chutzpah, or a whole lot more discrimination working against them, need help. Heck, even the most tenacious people need help. So if that help comes from big government, that should be OK.

Of course, this conversation is kind of superfluous. Everybody calls on government once in a while, whether or not one is pro or anti-big government. Everyone has a sense of entitlement when something catastrophic happens; then we want our government to kick into gear, and be BIG.  If the government does not, we get indignant.

But we tend to only understand, as human beings, our own needs, and cast the needs of others aside. We don’t even want to think about the “have-nots” too much; we avoid really getting to know why they are where they are, because to see their suffering makes us uncomfortable. That’s human nature. Nobody wants to see suffering.

So we work hard to make sure we are comfortable, and criticize big government it attempts to do things that will make the lives of some legitimately suffering people a little easier. We shut our eyes to the real barriers which spring up in a capitalistic world and society and instead blame those who struggle for the situations in which they find themselves. We regard those who cannot make it as moochers.

Some of them are, and some of them are not. We just don’t want to take the time to make the distinctions and give help where it is needed. We are content to charge the poor and blame the poor for being poor, thus helping to keep them poor, and we defy the government to try to change that reality. We in America have little regard, it seems, for the burgeoning population of older Americans who barely have enough to live on once they can no longer work. And so, many older Americans are living in deplorable conditions, and we will not look that harsh reality in the face.

What does it take to make people in a democracy do what democracy purports to do – to make a society where all people are created equal? Those who do not like such a notion say that to want that is to be socialist. OK, but really, that’s what our United States Constitution says – all men (people) are created equal.

We have a problem in our formative ideology. It seems that there is an untenable tension between capitalism and democracy, and capitalists are criticizing the very political system which has made their wealth acquisition a reality.

A candid observation …

 

When Laws are Unjust

Sometimes, laws are unjust.

Unjust laws in this country allowing racial discrimination were part of the reason for the Civil Rights movement. With the laws in the nation and in many states in place, African-Americans could not feel protected by the laws, because the laws helped perpetuate their status and injustice perpetrated against them. African-Americans had no voice, “the law” notwithstanding.

In Ireland, it is women whose voices are not being heard. In that Catholic country, laws are on the books which prohibit abortion. Because of those laws, a young woman died after being denied an abortion. Her death has sparked outrage and protest by women, who rallied in front of the Irish parliament this week. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/11/15/thousands-rally-outside-irish-parliament-after-woman-repeatedly-denied-abortion-before-dying/)

We depend on our lawmakers to craft laws that protect the people, but in fact there are far too many laws on the books which do not protect but rather support discriminatory or harmful and unjust treatment of certain groups. Women in the United States and in fact all over the world have had to fight unjust laws so that they could enjoy full citizenship which included the right to vote, and still have to fight for equal pay for equal work. And …what women and cannot do with their own bodies is still an issue which divides the nation politically and religiously.

Women in Ireland are fighting for the right to live with dignity. Young Savita Halappanavar, 31, died because in spite of excruciating pain and several requests for doctors to terminate her 17-week pregnancy, they would not. It would be abortion because in spite of her pain, the fetus still had a heartbeat. After three days the young woman died, reportedly from septicemia.

It seems, on this side of the pond, that the laws in Ireland which would allow an otherwise healthy woman to die from a complicated pregnancy, are just wrong and unjust. They are just as wrong and unjust as were American laws which forbade black people to learn to read and write, or which prevented them, and women, from voting.

If individuals are silent in the face of unjust laws, they in essence voice their approval of those laws. That’s a lesson Dr. King drove home as people trained to be non-violent protestors. An unjust law, King said, needs to be broken, or at least challenged. Just because something is a “law” does not mean it is right or fair; some laws beg to be challenged, changed, or struck down.

People historically have challenged laws with which they did not agree. When Brown vs. Board of Education made it against the law for schools to be segregated, many cities and states balked; they thought the law was unjust and did all they could to disobey it, in spite of the law’s directive that schools should be integrated “with all deliberate speed.”  Some schools were closed rather than obey the desegregation order. Other schools took as long as 10 years to begin desegregating.

Anything worth having, including justice, is worth fighting for; and many issues of justice must be fought for. Thousands of women in Ireland are protesting the death of the young mother, and another rally is planned for the weekend. That’s a good thing.

Power concedes nothing without a demand, noted Frederick Douglass.

Douglass was right.

A candid observation …