Learn the Meaning of What You Say

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a fresh start, every week. Mondays are our do-overs, our reset buttons, our first days. From now on every Monday is a second chance, and this time, we might just get it right. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

For me, this Monday is off to a pretty good start. I decided to set my alarm 15 minutes earlier in the mornings, which allows me to hit the snooze button and still get up on time. The extra time really made a difference. I didn’t feel rushed, and I got to work early. I think I’ll keep it this way. I like getting to ease into the day rather than starting it off with panic and chaos. Mondays are already hard enough, right?

“First, learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”

— Epictetus

Ever since Election day here in America, there have been a flurry of posts, tweets, and think pieces looking to place blame for Clinton’s loss. Some would say that those who opted to stay home on election night share some responsibility. Some would say that Clinton and her strategy team deserved some blame. I would say for the most part the people who felt they could stomach Trump’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia on the off-chance that he might “make America great again”—whatever that means—are the ones to blame.

But there has been a new accusation coming out lately. Some believe that the real reason Clinton lost was that of “identity politics.”

Identity politics are the tendency for people to vote in the interest of a particular group they may belong to, for example, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Think of it this way: the same way that the media has replaced the terms “neo-nazi” and “white supremacist” with “alt-right,” they have also replaced “civil rights” with “identity politics.”

According to the new theory, Clinton and the Democrats lost because they continue to court and fight for POC, immigrants, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community. They lost because too many of us are talking about what matters to us, about what we need, and about the ways we are hurt and afraid. We are talking about ourselves, and straight, white, working class voters are feeling a little left out.

They see too many women, minorities, and queers walking around like they deserve something. They’d like to return to a time when those people stayed quiet and made themselves available every other second Tuesday in November.

(I would like to take a moment to point out that straight, white, men and women have been voting for their interests since the dawn of this country’s existence and it never seemed to be a problem for them until other groups started doing it. See also: Trump’s entire campaign strategy.)

This wasn’t meant to be a political lecture, I swear, but I have had great issue already with the right’s demonization of political correctness and civil rights, and I will not tolerate it from the left. I will not tolerate it from people who have the privilege of finding our needs trivial, and I will not keep quiet while we are shovel aside or back into our closets.

This is was not meant to be a political lecture but it is a lecture, nonetheless. This isn’t just about Democrat or Republican; this isn’t even just about America. It’s about understanding that what we say, who we blame, and who we defend means a hell of a lot to a lot of people. It’s about understanding that what is important to you isn’t important to everyone sure, but remembering that suppressing the needs of others for your own needs and gains is wrong. It about understanding that these words hurt more than you can know.

It’s about understanding that for some of us, these rights we are fighting for have been long denied and we will not let you belittle or postpone them any longer.

It’s about compassion, empathy, and goddamned human decency!

Before you speak of which Americans deserve representation, protection, and consideration in their government officials please take a few moments to learn the meaning of your words. Learn how it affects people when you are offending by being asked to use correct pronouns. Learn how it affect people when you are being asked to refrain from offensive language and problematic convictions. Learn what it means when you tell the people most in need of help and understanding, protection and care that it would be better for everyone if they would just let it go for an election cycle or two.

Take a moment to read something outside of your bubble and really understand the needs of people who don’t live, think, or believe the same as you. Learn about the meaning behind what they say, then examine the meaning of what you are saying. Take a moment to examine why you have such a problem with those people and their needs. Take a moment to consider if it were you being told to shut up and go away.

Words matter. Words mean things. Words hurt.

Use yours wisely.

P.S. Democrats do need to face the fact that they lack support from whites living in rural areas. The knee-jerk reaction is to take a page out of the opposition’s book, but I would encourage us to find another way. Do not let yourselves become what you hate. Remember, when they go low, we go high.


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Featured image via Unsplash


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