In Defense

Pardon the VERY LONG introduction before a disclaimer prefacing the actual blog post. I probably should have just deleted it and written about something else, but you know me…once it’s rattling around in my head I can’t move on until it’s written down here.

Here’s what happened: I saw a bunch of tweets last night about a current event and they were from people I follow that I respect and yet the tweets sat VERY WRONG with me. So I wrote a blog post about this morning.

But I like to sit on a post for a bit and then proof it before publishing so I took the chance to log in to check Facebook this morning (remember – I’m avoiding it this week for productivity reasons) because I joined a local group that was discussed at a class last night and I needed to see if my request had been approved. In those 5+ minutes on Facebook I quickly noticed that some of the people I follow – people I know in REAL LIFE – were also posting the SAME type of stuff I saw on Twitter last night.

So, then I went back and deleted this whole entry I wrote this morning because my thought was: EVERYONE IS GOING TO THINK I AM SHAMING THEM. And I don’t want to upset people I know in real life.

But the more I think about it, the more I realized that A) I still feel very strongly about the message and B) I didn’t actually make any mental notes about who posted what so I actually DO NOT have anyone in mind when I’m thinking about this topic. So you know what? I went back to my drafts and copied and pasted the post from BEFORE I deleted it. But this time: I’m adding this disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this entry before noticing that the sentiment I was criticizing had spread into my real world too. So, there may be real people I know who feel targeted by this entry. YOU ARE NOT TARGETED. I am not trying to shame anyone, I’m just trying to offer a change in perspective. PLEASE DO NOT THINK I’M AM JUDGING YOU. I am an imperfect human just trying to shed light in dark areas so that maybe others can see things more clearly.

Because I live in a red state and am related to a lot of Trump supporters, I tend to look at anything political I post and try to take aim at POLICIES instead of PEOPLE. I do 100% believe we need angry and brutal voices of criticism in this world, a lot of those voices were integral in opening my eyes to systemic injustices I had previously benefited from. But I am never going to be one of those voices. I’ve got too many real-world relationships that I need to preserve. So I try my best (but I don’t always succeed) to talk policies and legislation over people.

I also have a tendency to step back and look at situations like this: How would I respond if this was Michelle or Barack? Like – every year with the Christmas decorations at the White House – there’s always a bunch of liberal people I follow who make fun of her decorations and I never do because I would have loved ANYTHING Michelle did. I could easily say to myself: If Michelle did those decorations? I’d love it.

So here’s my point: If President Barack Obama had gotten fast food for football players during a shutdown? I would have LOVED it. And you know what that tells me? There’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, I get it, because it’s President Trump and my instincts are first to hate everything he does. I had the same initial negative reactions of seeing chicken nugget dipping sauce in the fancy white house gravy boats. But if I stepped back and imagined Barack Obama doing it? I would LOVED the gesture.

But holy CRAP, Twitter HATED it. I have several lists of writers and journalists I follow and respect and look to for guidance and they were just TEARING IT APART. And y’all? That is just NOT a good look. Liberals already come off as elite to the other side, and I don’t blame people for offering that criticism. I see tons of those sentiments in circles where people think they’re in a liberal bubble, sentiments where people snark on “rednecks” for being “ignorant” etc. This fast-food response felt a lot like that.

There are a lot of real causes that I can get behind that create a rift in our country. I’m very pro-choice, I’m very pro-immigration, I’m very pro-pot legalization and pro-gender binaries. I can get on one side of a lot of big policy discussions that divide our country.

But we don’t have to create division over EVERY SINGLE THING that this president does. I mean, I loved Barack Obama because he felt very real and relatable. Maybe he would have never done the fast food dinner thing – but that would be because he would worry it wouldn’t taste good. If he could guarantee those burgers and fries would be hot and fresh for all of those football players? He would have totally supported that kind of fun response to a tricky situation.

I just can’t always take the: YOU SUCK stance because every time we turn our noses up at the mundane actions of this President, we lessen the power of our voices when we want to fight against his immigration proposals, or when we want to fight for our own legislation. And I don’t think it’s a good look at all.

It reminds me of the trends to Pay It Forward at Starbucks. I always thought that was a good gesture made in the wrong circle. Paying it Forward in a McDonald’s drive-thru instead really increases the odds of helping a person/family who really needs it. If someone is getting in line to buy a $4 cup of coffee, you probably aren’t going to change their day too much by buying it for them. But if someone is buying their dinner off the dollar menu at McDonald’s? Like I used to do during my single Mom in college days? You could be really changing the course of their day. Not everyone eats at Starbucks every morning, there’s value in McDonalds.

I just think there’s a pocket of liberals and progressives that tends to take the WE HATE EVERYTHING THEY DO approach without stepping back and really looking at the people involved. It’s HILARIOUS to be a champion football player eating a Big Mac in the White House? I can see that, can you? I think it’s kinda awesome, to be honest. I would eat a Big Mac in the White House any day (well – I mean – probably not under this administration) and I don’t even eat meat!

I just worry that in always using our voices and our social media presence to criticize everything minor this President does, we lessen the power of our voices when he does something worth criticizing. And sometimes I think he knows that and does it with that intention. So, if that’s the case? Everyone fell hook, line and sinker for his plan and now he’s the humble down-to-earth President buying McDonald’s for football players while the liberals make fun of him and no one is even talking about the shutdown anymore.

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