It has been a week since we learned our President-elect is Donald J. Trump. Never have I imagined this would be our reality. I didn’t believe the prophetic Simpsons’ writers. Fate has a funny way of slapping us in the face. If you listen to my radio show on the News for the Soul network or follow me in any capacity, I frequently talk about our Theatre Life Plan, which basically states that all things happen because we have asked for them to happen. Further, there is a lesson and blessing in all things. There is more detail, but this sums it up quite succinctly. Last week, my own plan punched me in the solar plexus.
No matter who you voted for, our collective jaws dropped when the results poured in. Clinton supporters could not imagine she would lose and Trump supporters were certain he would lose a rigged election. We apparently needed an awakening as a society.
As a budding psychologist-in-training, I sat with my adolescent clients over the last week processing not only the election results but also the experiences of bullying each client faced. How does one explain to a 12-year old things will get better when social media is showing hate filled images from around the country and people experiencing racism, sexism and xenophobia from emboldened white nationalists?
We create a compassionate community.
The past week has given me the opportunity to hypothesize why Trump won. First, he spoke to a population who thought Clinton was evil or a criminal. Second, he expressed the beliefs of some deplorable groups e.g. KKK and white nationalists. Third, he represented the Republican party, and many people vote along party lines. Fourth, he voiced the opinions of the disenfranchised who have not experienced any improvements in their lives since Obama took office. Fifth, he pandered to fears of conspiracists. Lastly, he played on the media’s need for viewership.
His narrative had a broad reach without much depth, which gave his supporters the luxury to hear only what resonated with them or to ignore what some viewed as the ulterior motives of a biased media. For the rest of us, we sat in disbelief that so many Americans ignored the racist, sexist, xenophobic, sectarian, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ rants spewed from Trump and his inner circle. Yes, many Clinton supporters only heard what they wanted to hear, as well. However, her message did not support bullying the vulnerable in our society. There is a big difference.
As a white male with a nearly invisible minority status, I came to two stark realizations last week. First, the people who are feeling the most vulnerable could easily think I am a Trump supporter and be afraid of me just because I am a white male. My gayness is not very noticeable, and one could assume I am part of the “white-lash.” Second, I found myself wondering if the young white males driving lifted pickup trucks and NRA stickers in the windows were Trump supporters; what should I expect to hear from them if they knew I was gay? I found myself afraid of being judged and judging my fellow humans.
Because of my external appearance, I am lucky enough to have not only a choice in these matters, but also an obligation. As of right now, I am the light-bearer I was born to be. I am a compassionate protector for those who feel lost, hurt, scared, fearful or isolated. I am here for you. Bear hugs waiting to hold you, support you and empower you. If you are not sure I am supportive, look for the safety pin. It is my obligation to wear it, and I am proud to do so.
I do not know what will happen in the future, but I do know that the compassionate protectors among us will unite to move humanity forward, to show our children positive role models, and shelter each other from bigotry, fear and hatred. If you are feeling vulnerable, find the safety pins. We are here for you.
In the meantime, be heard. Be a force. Use your economic might. Support each other. And remember why people bully—they feel inadequate.
Let us, when we are ready, find a way to alleviate their pain too.
Original art by Jessica Jacks-Turkas