I just watched a message board that I frequent, and enjoy, implode. One of the key, valuable members left because she was attacked by a couple of trolls who misunderstood her personality and sense of humor.
Man, did that bring back some memories. Things that I was already thinking about, because it's Election Day. Let me explain...no, will take too long. Let me sum up. (Princess Bride reference, y'all!)
I used to spend a lot of time...too much time...on a message board - really more of an "internet community". We all met on one message board, got tired of being treated badly by a few people on that message board, and struck out to form our own community. In time, it evolved that a few of the members were, well, dominant. Some were just prolific and opinionated posters. Some were just plain domineering. I know I can't have been the only one who felt as though I couldn't disagree with them, because I would be attacked. Attacked for disagreeing. Have assumptions made about my character, because I disagreed. So I left, in a flurry of misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
How does this relate to Election Day? Well. Let's go back about a year and a half. John Edwards had just dropped out of the Democratic primary. I was bummed because he was the candidate I had been backing. I expressed my disappointment, and stated that I thought the Democratic Party was shooting itself in the foot, because I did not believe that the American people would elect either a woman or a minority. I wanted to be wrong - and I stated that quite emphatically - but I just didn't think that the country at large was ready. This, apparently, was an unacceptable, an unbelievable, a racist opinion to have.
Why did I have that opinion? Because of the things I had seen, the people I had met, the things I had experienced. I don't think it's conceited or self-serving to say that I had probably met, and lived among, Americans from more walks of life and more parts of the country than anyone else in that community. Sure there were some who had traveled extensively, around the country and around the world - but not many had lived among the rednecks like I had. And what my experience had taught me was that for a larger portion of America than any of us were comfortable admitting, a female or minority President was just. not. acceptable. And I came to this conclusion after living amongst the kind of people who are decent and noble enough to actually join the military - not just slap a made-in-China "Support the Troops" ribbon magnet on the back of their SUV (right next to the Confederate Flag sticker and the full-rear-window Bible verse) and call themselves "Patriotic". What about the rest of them? How much worse must they be?
For a moment, for one ever-so-brief shining sliver of a moment, I thought that I had been proven wrong. Because Barack Obama won the election. But you know what? I wasn't wrong. I was completely, 100% right. This country was not ready. Because the ignorant, the hateful, the "Conservatives"...well, we've seen the way they've been behaving for the last 12 months. And everyone else? Well, we're letting them get away with it, aren't we?
People look around at the things Glenn Beck says and the ignorance at the Town Hall meetings, and they say..."what the hell?" And I say, "did anybody really NOT see this coming?" Really?? Really??? None of this stuff is new. Having a black President just brought it all to the surface. I think it's time for everyone to take a deep breath and calm the f*** down. It's time for the White House to actually get something accomplished, it's time for the "Conservatives" to consider the *meaning* of those Bible verses they keep on brandishing around like weapons, and it's time for everyone to stop, think, and remember that just because we're Americans, that doesn't mean we should be running around acting like dumbasses in front of the rest of the world. With great power comes great responsibility. And really, what WOULD Jesus do?
3 hours ago