The Effect of Election Season – Can We Still Be Friends?

This is difficult.

Today I’m diving into the depths of my soul, frantically searching for any remaining remnants of compassion, understanding or empathy. Maybe there’s a glimmer of humanity that remains untouched after months of an apocalyptic election season.

I’ve found out a lot about people in the last year. Hell, I’ve found out a lot about myself in the last year. This election though, has summed up what I’ve always known. Bigotry exists; some deal with it everyday. Some fight against it. Some deny that it exists. And others are completely silent.

My tolerance for this stuff is probably higher than most. As a minority, hearing the sort of things that have been tossed around in this election isn’t new to me. Once, I was performing at an open mic in Indianapolis, and a guy sitting in the front row just flat-out called me a nigger. Once, I was headlining a show (also in Indiana. HOORAY MIKE PENCE!) and from the back of the room a guy who hadn’t even been watching the show just says “Dance monkey”. These two separate instances happened way before Trump was even on the radar as a Presidential candidate. And look, I’m a stand-up comic…it’s my job to have a thick skin and make light of these situations. But I’m also a person…with like a heart and a brain and stuff.

I’ve always known that racism existed because I deal with it on a daily basis. If not outwardly, sub-consciously. During this election, multiple white friends have asked me “why must you make everything about race?”. Simple answer? Because it’s my life bro.

During this election, I’ve had moments that I’m proud of and moments that I’m not so proud of. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to be as open-minded as possible. I’ve tried to look at things from different perspectives…especially if I find myself in strong disagreement with a particular viewpoint. As I look back at this election though, I have to say that I’ve failed miserably in that aspect. MISERABLY.

It’s no secret that I disagree with about everything Trump says and stands for. As a person from Indiana, I despise Mike Pence even more. And while I’ll defend my feelings toward the candidates, I’m not sure if I can defend my feelings toward their supporters.

I’ll admit, I laughed when Hillary dropped the “Basket of deplorables” line, because at the time, I agreed. Before that, I even wrote a status on Facebook saying that I thought all Trump supporters were closeted racists. This was probably a bit extreme. I’m sure there are a bunch of supporters that are closeted racists..and I’m sure that there are a bunch of supporters who aren’t afraid to yell racial slurs out at a comedy show…but surely NOT EVERY supporter is racist/sexist. Right? Right? Please GOD tell me I’m right!!!

I watch footage of Trump rallies and get sad. Not only because of what I see happening there, but because of how I look at these people. I automatically dismiss Trump supporters as morons who don’t know what’s good for them and vote against their own interests. I put myself on a pedestal of moral high ground and automatically assume that I’m better than those people. WHAT HAS THIS ELECTION DONE TO ME!? This isn’t the person I want to be. I want my heart back.

And I’m not talking the person in a “Trump that Bitch” t-shirt. Fuck that guy. But I don’t want to be his equal on the other side. I don’t want to be the guy incapable of understanding, listening or even believing that “Hey, maybe I’m wrong about some stuff”. Basically, I don’t want to be Trump. I don’t want this smug confidence, no matter what side I’m on. It’s heavy and it’s just not a good look.

However, let me be clear(Don’t leave Obama!). I will continue to voice my opinions and voice them loudly. In the past, I’ve criticized people who are silent on social injustices. We’ve all heard the phrase, “silence is complicity”. Thanks to social media, I’ve come to find out that I kind of do care what people think. I like knowing that friends have my back. I like having discussions with people I disagree with. I like walking away from conversations without feeling like I need to watch “Man On Fire” to unwind. We can argue and still be friends!

Look. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia…these are all things. We have a presidential candidate who is okay with these things and a vice-presidential candidate who has actually passed legislation promoting these things. This election has made it a little clearer on who is okay with this type of bigotry and who is against it. I know that I need to be more understanding, empathetic and compassionate…but if you are for legislation in essence and reality would be harmful to those I love, we simply can’t be friends. BIG LOSS ON YOUR PART, I KNOW!!

I just don’t see how that friendship would work out.

“Hey Dwight, wanna go check out this new pizza place? It’s delicious!”

“Sure, can I bring my sister? She’s gay but she loooves pizza.”

“Well, ya see Dwight…under the Religious Freedom Rights Act that I voted for, your sister technically isn’t a human being so it’s a big no go on that one. Also, we should leave now just in case you’re affected by the new”Stop and Frisk Law”. Boy, I sure do love pepperoni!”







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