Don't Ask About the Election
Morning Musings is a daily series comprised of brief but meaningful words to consider and reflect on.
I admittedly wrote this one month after the November 2016 United States election. But because it felt more like a rant than a resource I refrained from posting it. That said, it finally can make an appearance in this more suitable context.
Out of respect, and to avoid making an incorrect call about a person's political affiliation, I think one should refrain from asking "how do you feel about the election" to someone you don't know well. Especially if you are asking under the assumption that they are unhappy with the result.
I've received this question several times since the election from people who don't know me intimately and sometimes it has rubbed me the wrong way. Mainly because suddenly I'm put on the spot and the onus is on me to clearly articulate a range of complex emotions as if I'm the sole person impacted.
You can't assume that because someone is young, female, educated, black, or whatever, that they did not contribute to the outcome of this election.
And even if they didn't, what makes you think they are ready to openly declare their disdain for a Trump-led America? Not everyone is up for debating, marching, protesting, or revolting ... at least not yet.
Fact is, 60+ million Americans chose to put Trump in office despite his rhetoric and his stance. Most were white however some were minorities and a meaningful percentage were women.
An overwhelming number were poor, in spite of Trump's track record as a billionaire businessman, and many inadvertently supported him by choosing to stay home thinking it was better to neglect the system.
Moreover, the sheer number of closet Trump voters (some of the same folks who put Obama in office for two terms) has caused us to question all of our assumptions about American people and their affinities. You really don't know who thinks what.
So I think we should stop trying to tally who voted which way and get our own houses in order. Because no matter which way you lean, this is the time for getting firm on what you stand for, not casually asking random people about their post-election sentiment like you comment on the weather to make small talk.
That clarity shouldn't be used in the spirit of divisiveness but rather to rally around our common ground.
I did not vote for Trump (though at this point that's irrelevant) but I don't want to talk about my views to strangers or people I'm loosely acquainted with.
Perhaps the inquiries are harmless, but in this critical and pivotal moment I'm sensitive to these unsolicited probes because I can't respond yet.
I'm not a shoot-at-the-hip individual. I need time to think. I'm still trying to sort out fact from fiction given the heavily biased information pushed out by the media (on both sides).
I'm consulting historical and philosophical references to see how societies and thinkers from times past have dealt with comparable situations.
I'm studying what democracy really means — the pros and cons.
I'm reviewing my personal values and determining what I'm ready to stand behind vs. ideologies I'll need to leave behind.
Therefore, right now, I seek only the counsel of select friends, family, and other trusted resources as I carefully consider what my role and responsibility as an American and global citizen will be going forward.
So no, I don't want to talk about it. But I am planning to be about it. And I don't have much to say to anyone outside of my inner circle until I can answer for myself what the more appropriate question is: now what?