What Now? … Who Knows?

I am blessed with the privilege of having grown up in a world where everything was conservative and Christian. The other view was entirely wrong. Lately, I have been secluding myself into a world of liberalism and frustration with religion. My old ways of thinking are entirely wrong. Today, in this post-election era, tensions are rising, the election was a scary and angry time of the worst attitudes rising to the surface everywhere. I cut off all the people I knew who thought differently. I wouldn’t hear them, and they wouldn’t hear me either. We were at a stalemate. Neither of us could believe that the other would accept a candidate with the information we knew. The issue though was that we were all getting different information. Some friends were following conspiracy theories, others things that were fact checked. I was following opinions of others, Late Night Comedy Shows that made me laugh as they laughed at Donald Trump and exposed some of the scary perspectives of his supporters.

I should’ve thought about it and realized that genuine people were sure to be in both camps. Trump should not be going up in the polls on the anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-media platform we were hearing about. He had to be talking some sense, something that kindhearted people could also believe in. When we retaliated in the “left”, calling Trump and his supporters racist, misogynistic, and hateful didn’t help anything. That just made them scared to come out and say anything, explain themselves. They were able to use their private vote to fight for changes they wanted to see in the world. Changes that are not by default anti-progressive. We have to realize that we all want to live in a world that helps us feel safe. We all want to see a government that works for us not against us, we make decisions based on that desire.

In fact, one of my favorite things I learned in ministry school was from my internship director. He said two things that really resounded with me. He told meĀ “You are never wrong for feeling.” and, another time,”we know in part and we prophesy in part.” The latter being from the Bible. People on both sides of the election whether elated or dismayed think they made the right choice and are behaving in the way they believe in given the circumstances. Whether there is for instance, a governmental conspiracy to collude with the media to destroy Donald Trump’s reputation as some of my friends and family believe or the media was reacting to things they felt were genuinely problematic in the character of Donald Trump and his apparent supporters, absolutely none of us know everything. Even fact checking can be biased, it just depends on the sources. In this information age, where everything is written by anyone for everyone to see, we have no idea who is really writing anything.

I have a picture of myself for this blog, but you can’t absolutely know that I wrote this, even if you know me, unless you watched me write it at a computer in front of your face. I could be anybody. I could be commissioned by the government to spread more fervor for the media that they installed to force their agenda. I could be a Donald Trump supporter who is writing things about the problems with Donald Trump. Despite the fact that writing can come from the heart, people can go against their gut. You never know where people on the internet really stand.

With these retaliations, given the elected President, you cannot know that protesters voted against Trump or that terrorizers voted for him. It is a personal decision that generally nobody is around to watch you make. You can talk for the entire election about how amazing Hillary is, or Trump or Bernie or whoever and then get to the voting booth and mark someone completely different, nobody would know. People are calling those who are beating up others “Trump supporter.” I could wear his entire getup and vote for Hillary, attack people, telling them that Trump’s America is here. I might be doing such a thing for the greater good, thinking that causing racism might expose that racism is a problem with a Trump presidency, just like I thought, perhaps if I go around hurting people, people will see the obvious problem and impeach the man who supported this behavior with his rhetoric. It would be only a matter of time before racism started happening organically.

This happened in the Target bathroom situation where Target changed its policy to allow people to go into the bathroom based on their gender identity to avoid bullying. Some thought it might cause perverted men to think that they could dress up as a woman and enter the women’s restroom to molest children. Because they so believed this, some who were upset about this policy sent men into Target women’s restrooms dressed as women. They did not molest children, but they went to prove a point, a point that they felt strongly was an issue, even though they were the ones causing the problems.

If people believe there is a clear and present danger lurking, they might try to expedite the affect of that danger, rather than see it happen organically as they so strongly fear it will.

Bias surrounds us. Media is made up of people with ideas and thoughts and feelings. If the media were controlling us, those reacting to this election are not upset because they are lemmings, mindlessly following everything the mainstream media tells them to think. They are reacting to a very scary outcome based on the information they have been given. It is not possible to hold all truth. Again, we know in part, we prophesy in part. So I know nothing, but I see both sides, and I have hope for the future because I am trying to see what is going on in the minds of others who don’t think like I do, and it is not as horrifying as I thought.

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The Truth About my PTSD Excuse

For many of my quirks and discomforts, I use a recycled excuse. Being raised in a cult and soonafter running away from that, living with a sociopath, I say that I have a sort of PTSD from those super intense experiences. But, much of the time, I say those things rather than saying how I really feel in the moment. That guy I’ve told you about, my old landlord, had some terrifying perspectives on people, he wanted to nuke the downtown area because he felt that people who did drugs and who commit crimes are trash. Barring the fact that many law-abiding citizens spend time downtown and the fact that I am one such citizen, I think it is horrifically problematic to want to wipe out some people because of the few. Today, I shared with some friends who were showing me a movie about two people who decided to go on a killing spree of those they consider idiots, that I have PTSD because of the guy to whom I used to pay rent. But that is not really why such premises in movies give me such discomfort. I absolutely hate watching needless violence. It is why I do not ordinarily watch horror movies and it is why up until about ten years ago, I would not even watch action movies. I feel strongly that life is precious, and despite my frustration with religion, I do not see any life as without purpose.

I understand the point that is being made. People want to blaim religious zealots, reality TV show stars, rednecks and so many other stereotypes for our problems. They consider them the idiots, the disgusting ignorance that so plagues this world, and some suggest that society would be better off without them. Honestly, religious people these days drive me nuts! They have so many perspectives that prevent society from moving forward, they insist on their way without even considering they could ever be wrong. Admittedly, I have despised being around Christians. I have been disgusted with those who seem without kindness. But, what I have felt for years now is that everyone has a story. A bratty television star may someday grow up and figure out life does not revolve around her. Or maybe she will stay as bratty as ever, her parents enabling her forever. Just because she is cruel at school or entitled that does not mean she deserves to die. I guess I just feel it is a slippery slope. I have lived the life of those who society calls “idiots” and many of them mean well. I know I did. I have been the chosen one in many situations and then, almost immediately, the enemy of those same people. That landlord guy originally thought I was badass, intelligent, and had a very very good head on my shoulders. But, time and time again, I have discovered that that kind of prowess in society doesn’t last. One day you are on the side of the intelligent, the next you are the hunted idiot by someone with a finer intellect. I have learned over time that intelligence tends to be relative. You may feel that you are better and more educated than the masses, but there is always somebody else who has more experience and who would corral you in with the rest of society’s mindless cattle in a heartbeat.

Perhaps it is my Christian upbringing that gives me this feeling that everyone should be given attention and care. I was once involved in feeding the homeless, empowering survivors of sex trafficking, being a sounding board for the misunderstood. These are the things about which I am passionate. I just think people of all kinds need to be heard and cared for rather than preached at. Those who are cruel are cruel due to their own insecurities. The times in my life that I have myself been cruel to others, I can definitely chalk up to my own insecurities. They were never out to get me, they are not hopelessly lost, evil people who will never learn to be good. They are complex, nuanced human beings. Slasher films and films about vigilante killers take these individual lives and just cut them down without a thought. The concept that someone can just grab and gun down or whatever the hell and just kill people because of how they perceive them, because they do not like them, is absolutely terrifying, disturbing and fundamentally wrong. Where does it end?

If the vigilante were a fundamentalist Christian who felt society was evil and maybe that God was calling them to purge society of its problems, they would target Hollywood, they would take out the media who dares to question God. They would attack the sexually impure which means they would attack me and my boyfriend. My roommate and her boyfriend. My coworker and her boyfriend. We all are just facing life the way that it makes the most sense to us. Hollywood is not out to destroy Christian values. It is made up of so many people who grew up in the church and who are thinking differently now. Just like me. If a vigilante wanted to get rid of the worst people in society, who would he target? I guess it would depend on perspective, his background and the way he sees the world. From where I am standing, there are plenty of reasons to have faith in the world and in its propensity for goodness.

With this election, it is tempting to blame society’s idiocy. But both sides are saying the same thing about the other’s candidate. The political terrain has split and many are discussing civil war, It is frustrating because to me it seems obvious who is more qualified. But there are many who disagree with me. They are in my workplace, my school, even in my family. Many call these people idiots. I see why, but I also understand their fear, because, as I said before, I have been in their shoes. Society’s true worsts are con-artists, rapists, bigots, hypocrites. But, murder is not the answer. They may never let us reason with them, but murder would destroy what we could potentially accomplish without cheating. We may never agree, but civil war and vigilante justice will solve nothing.

History Repeats Itself

Even as a child, history was one of my favorite subjects. When I heard the saying “history repeats itself”, I took that to heart. I sought to understand as much as I could about historical experiences so I would be prepared to face the future and hopefully prevent the same mistakes being made. History was one of the reasons I left ministry school. History showed me that trying to get everybody to think like them, or else, was a commonly held trait of Christians. They had tortured and killed people in the name of God in order to combat their evil heretical ideas. I was able to see that throughout much of history, religion controlled the masses with fear of death and the threat of eternal damnation. In their terror and wanting to hold back the judgment for a longer period of time, people followed the ideas of the church and paid the church to be in limbo for a little bit longer. My people, as I call them, those whom I knew as a child and who shaped my initial thoughts, like to say that God is peaceful, He is good, and He will help you much more fully if you donate money to the church, He will allow you to be tortured unrelentingly for all eternity if you differ on the modern day Christian interpretation of Scripture.

History repeats itself. We live in a world where, in civilized societies, we don’t kill people for thinking differently, we don’t tell people they have to pay us to prolong purgatory at a time when everyone is dying and fear rules the world. Instead, now, we ostracize the other, spitting hateful, divisive bile in their direction because they had the audacity to consider another option than the Christian “Truth”. Our most respected church leaders work hard to convince people who are sick or in tremendous debt that they must give money to the church if they really truly trust God. It is disturbing then how much today’s society mirrors the society of the Dark Ages especially with regards to religion in religious circles. This, of course is a big reason for why I left the ministry. This is why I am the person I have become today.

Back in World War I, the Big Five nations who came out on top chose to blame the entirety of war, and the debt on Germany. Germany fell to pieces over this and the economy tanked. Out of these ashes rose a man named Adolph Hitler. He was charismatic and likeable on a stage. The people loved him because he spoke up about their destitution, blaming other countries and other religions for Germany’s misfortune. He was nationalistic, and for a country that lay dying, a nationalist was the kick it needed to boost morale and make Germans proud to be German again. He was a Catholic, raised knowing that the Jewish people are the people who crucified Christ. His disgust for an entire people arose from his deeply held religious beliefs that the Jewish people were evil for killing the Savior of the World. Historically, we remember Hitler as an evil man. He is the moral ultimatum we use to make a point. Because of his hatred for these people and many other outcasts, Adolph Hitler instituted concentration camps where people whose skin color and beliefs he didn’t like were sent to be forced into hard labor on very little food intake. Jewish people especially were rounded up and killed in various ways. They were tested upon to further scientific advancement, they were gassed together in massive quantities and their lifeless bodies were stacked carelessly upon one another in gruesome piles. Hitler seemed like a good idea at the time. His people voted him in because he made them feel important. Unfortunately, when he made them feel important, he did it at the expense of the “dangerous” other and Germany has still gone down in history as a horrible country for this evil thing that happened because of their elected leader.

Today in America, we have an election. We have had many elections where accusations of Hitler-esque qualities have been quite prevalent. Based upon history, we try to keep a sharp eye out for the traits of a dictator. They tend to trick people into thinking that they are great and then completely take over when power is handed over. Luckily, our democratic system of government is not set up like that. Even if elected, a dictator would not necessarily be able to enforce all the things he wants to do in the world. But, a hot-headed person who insults world leaders and celebrities alike would definitely cause concern for public relations and could start a ridiculous war because of his rhetoric. Although we have had these accusations before, the hatred and divisiveness has never been so apparent, and still, this candidate rises in the polls. We do not know much about this candidate’s policies. When asked how to defeat ISIS, the answer is “We’re gonna beat ’em but I don’t want to give away my strategy.” When asked how to approach issues with immigration, he replies “We’re gonna build a wall, a huge wall, and the immigrant country will pay for it.” The issue with this, of course, being that none of these are real answers that can work in real life and they leave too much to the imagination. We do not know this guy, and what we do know about him given his publicized life and his divisive rhetoric, he flatly denies. This is not the kind of person I want to see in the White House. With so many similarities to dictators who rose to power, this candidate would be worse for America than any before him. He doesn’t know what he is doing and what little he does know is based on his own agenda alone. He is not beholden to the American people. Neither was Hitler beholden to his own country. History repeats itself.