Since the beginning of time, people have disagreed, about anything and everything. J and I can’t agree. B and I don’t always agree on how to approach and handle things. Mel and I never agree on how to approach and handle things. We all suffer from the human condition and this is one of the side effects: strong opinions and a line of thinking that says “this is how it should be done.” This is to be expected, because we are the sum of our experiences. And while these 3 people are the people I am closest to in the real world, they’ve had different experiences than me.
J and I have very different ideas on politics. Sometimes, he gets frustrated with me because I have liberal leanings and I am pro-Socialist Republic and to him “socialism” is a trigger word. Yes, I’m a liberal, I think most artists and creative types are. But don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the second amendment. I was given the right to bear arms in case my government needed to be overthrown.
Yet, day in and day out, I look at my social media pages and see things like “Every Pro-Socialist is a moron.” Really? No, they aren’t. Most of them are like me. They use their brains and see a Socialist Republic (which we already have in the US) as a form of government that assists its citizens. Yes, it comes out of your tax dollars, and no there are things I don’t like about it, but I’d rather accept those things I don’t like then let some poor soul fall through the cracks. What does that mean? It means, I’m not a fan of career welfare moms; the type of woman who can’t seem to keep her legs closed, has 5 or 6 kids and no job because it’s easier to not work. But we shouldn’t punish her children for her terrible decisions. It’s not their faults she gave birth to them. And if we start restricting benefits based on certain things, then how many women and children no longer qualify?
Jude’s mommy is a single mother. She works her ass off. When she moved to Kansas City at the end of January, she was out of work for two weeks. She told us it was the longest time she’d been without a job since she was 16. Yet, there were times when she still wasn’t making enough to feed Jude, pay her bills, and feed herself. When that would happen, she’d go without. She is doing exactly what we expect mother’s to do. Yet, when she applied for assistance, she made $2 too much and couldn’t get it. She is exactly the type assistance programs were meant for. But because of cuts to our social welfare programs, that created higher restrictions, she couldn’t get assistance because of $2. To ensure the people like her get assistance, I will pay taxes to go to the career welfare mom. Not because I like what their doing, but because I know when we start making cuts, it isn’t the career welfare moms that get hit the hardest, it is the mom’s like Jude’s. The mom’s that work every damn day, do the best they can, and are just not making it.
And I’ll pay my school taxes to make sure that a non-verbal autistic child attending a public school can be put into the special classes designed for their needs. Or to ensure that my neighbor kid’s school has enough money for textbooks. I’ll pay them without complaint even though I have not had a need for a public school classroom for 20 years. And I will keep paying them every year, because I know that my taxes ensure teacher salaries get paid and kid’s get to attend a day at school without having to carry $150 in their pockets to give to the school to pay for their day of education.
Yet, I’m a moron. I’m an idiot. I’m a liberal pansy. And so much more. Why? Because I want to help my fellow American. One of the biggest things I’ve seen in the last two years is the normalization of hate. Don’t like Liberals? Blame them for everything. It’s all their fault. Except that isn’t correct. We got here together. It’s not the fault of liberals or conservatives. Those are just labels we put on each other to make our hate agreeable to others. “Oh, I don’t hate Liberals, I just think they are destroying the world and we need to wake up to it, so I shared a post calling them morons.”
That is exactly what hate is. If I can be hated for being a pro-Socialist Republic liberal, without someone even knowing me, that boils down to the other person being so filled with rage that they have to hate someone. The Pro-Life meme you shared calling all Democrats murderers, is it accurate? Who have I murdered that wasn’t fictional? Am I pro-Choice, yes, and while I support a woman’s right to choose, I also believe high school students in this country should be able to walk into the nurse’s office and get contraceptive, because that would prevent some of the need for abortions. Oddly, I have learned that both of those options make me a “terrible person.”
And social media is normalizing that hate. Why am I a bad person because I think high school girls should be given better access to birth control to prevent abortions and teen pregnancies that force them to take on responsibilities for the next 18 years of their lives?
Because we have normalized that hate already. The Pro-Life/Pro-Choice stand off has been raging so long, I think people have forgotten what it was really about. Most Pro-Choice supporters are like me. While they support a woman’s right to control her body, we also see societal problems inherent in the system. Poor access to contraceptive leads to more pregnancies which leads to more abortions. Fix one and fix the other. It makes sense. But I’ve been screamed at by Pro-Life Supporters while getting my birth control from a Planned Parenthood. And those people are not nice. Their words are venomous and vitriolic. It didn’t matter if a woman was there for, they were monstrous baby killers. One-time a pro-life protesters took down my license number and found my car downtown and left me a note telling me I was a baby-killer. She had no idea what I was there for. Not one. But she didn’t care. She so hated everything Planned Parenthood stood for that even those getting birth control and STD tests and treatment were obviously baby-killers.
That is the normalization of hate. It terrifies me. It should terrify everyone. Because that is how concentration camps in Germany got the stamp of approval. Once hate becomes normalized, apathy begins to take hold of a population. We think, incorrectly “well, I’ll never be in a position where I might need services from some place like planned parenthood.” But this is a false sense of security. I never thought I would need Planned Parenthood. And then, I didn’t have health insurance and I had a medical condition that required birth control, and it was so problematic that Student Health couldn’t help me, so they sent me to planned parenthood. Me and probably a few thousand other students, because student health doesn’t cover well women’s exams and birth control at the University of Missouri. We were all sent to Planned Parenthood where we could get reduced price exams and reduced price birth control.
But when was the last time someone thought about a Planned Parenthood clinic and thought “Oh they must be getting birth control?” My guess, probably never. Instead, let the hate flow for all these baby killers. Most of whom are just women in need of birth control. During the 9 years I got birth control from Planned Parenthood, I sat in the waiting room with a lot of other women. Women who were just like me, they were in their 20s and weren’t covered on their parents’ insurance anymore, but still wanted or needed birth control to ensure they didn’t need the other services offered by Planned Parenthood. I’d put the number in the thousands. Do you know how many women came in seeking abortions? Maybe 20, probably less. I know this because those poor girls got different paperwork from those of us getting birth control or those getting STD tests and treatment. Yet, each and every one of the thousands I saw were subjected to the same shouting, the same vitriolic hate that those 20 were subjected to. All because we have normalized hate.
The point is, we continue to normalize hate and we are expanding on it. It’s not just a problem in the US either. I’ve talked to some Brits who say it is happening in the UK too, because of Brexit. It will eventually give way to something worse than shouted words. And when we share those memes calling people names for their beliefs or lifestyles, we are perpetuating the normalization of hate. I don’t share memes proclaiming all Republicans are stupid or all Pro-Lifers are rageful morons. Because while I didn’t enjoy being called a baby-killer every time I had to get a Depo Provera shot, I refuse to spread hate. I didn’t unfriend a single person during the political battle that ensued after Trump became president. Not because I agreed with them, but because “friendship” should transgress politics. Friendship is a form of love and only love combats hate. And while I despised the protesters, they had a right to be there and I would fight for their right to be there, even though I think they fail to understand the women they verbally abuse are not their real targets.
And god forbid the day a tyrant takes control of this country and begins the internment camps, I will stand up for my fellow Americans whether I agree with them or not, because next it could be me. That is the future I fear with our current normalization of hate.