• The Hopefulist

Hopefulist Activated!

As I've been spending time on social media I saw I term that I just love. Instead of identifying yourself as a Republican or a Democrat how about we call ourselves humanists? I really love that. Because that is what I am for. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all humans.

We are at a critical time in this country. We are a country divided. And the biggest problem is both sides seem to accuse the other of the same thing. Republicans say freedom is on the line. Democrats claim freedom is on the line. And a lot of people are just too stubborn to even attempt to see the other side. We all as a country need to put ourselves in the others shoes. We have to try to understand each other and listen to each other. This goes for both sides. And we need to be calm and rationale.

I have been on both sides. I have been a republican most of my life. Despite their stance on women's rights and abortion I always felt in favor of most policies. I grew up in an atmosphere where money was the most important thing. And protecting that money was the only issue. Now, don't get me wrong. I grew up in a middle class family that had some things but us kids were far from spoiled or entitled.

I can only speak for myself but I didn't question a lot of my beliefs as I grew older. I guess I wasn't encouraged to do that so I didn't. I always say one of my favorite books is 'The Da Vinci Code' because it questioned everything I ever knew about religion. It honestly never even occurred to me to question something like that. I grew up believing this is the way it is and that's that. I'm embarrassed to say I was in my 30's when I read this book so it took me awhile to realize you are allowed to think differently than how you were raised. I'm not making excuses. I'm just trying to explain my journey.

I was told that liberals just wanted everything for free. They didn't want to work for anything. I was given examples of people who lived on welfare and talk of people having more and more babies so they could continue to get money from the government. And I believed that. I was given a certain idea about black and brown people. About who they were and how they lived. And unfortunately, I believed that too.

I feel like my transformation was slow in coming but then all at once. I always felt a certain amount of guilt for some of my stances. Somewhere inside I knew what I was saying wasn't fair or was judgmental but it was difficult to break out of my lifelong held beliefs. It finally happened when I saw George Floyd get murdered. When I saw that man begging for his life while someone just kneeled on him until his last breath was exhausted. It made me realize that these types of things were happening all over the place, all the time and the only time we know about it is when someone catches it on camera.

That is when I started to dig into the experience of black and brown people in this country. I watched them on their videos and what they had to say. I started digging into the systemic racist system we have in this country. How they have been oppressed for the last two hundred years. How it's still happening and they find themselves in situations it's nearly impossible to get out of. I started to find information that really made me think. A question I've heard a lot from white people is why do black and brown people always have to bring up race. Why can't they just talk without bringing it up. Because every day they experience life as a black or brown person and they can't escape it. White people get to walk out their door every day and experience life without the shadow of judgement just because of how they look. And that is a privilege most people don't realize or acknowledge. Black and brown people are constantly talking about race because they can't escape it. It's a fact of their life every single day.

How would you feel if you walked down the street and had people cross in order to not have to walk past you? How would you feel if every time you were in a store security watched you closely? How would you feel when women walked past you they clutched their purse a little tighter. Because a lot of women are taught to fear black and brown people. Maybe not always directly but indirectly with the information we are given. How do you think that would make you feel? How do you think it would affect your everyday life and your outlook on life? Just think about it. Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Black and brown people face so much because many grow up in single mother homes in neighborhoods that aren't the greatest in town. The example they see in that neighborhood may be that the people who deal drugs or other illegal activities are the ones that actually make money. That they have more money and power than most of those around them. So they think that is the way they will get ahead as well.

I had a conversation with a group of friends recently who live in a nice suburb of Philadelphia. They were talking about their son who was a junior in high school. They said he got in with a bad crowd and they switched him from the public school to the private school in order to get him away from the bad influences. They admitted if they hadn't done that he may have gone down a path they didn't want. That is when I pointed out that is how it is for black and brown families but they don't have the money to put their kids in a private school. So they continue down that path. I see it so differently now. I see how black and brown people are doing what they have learned to just survive in this country and try to get ahead in any way they can. It's sad. And I'm sorry so many others can't see how this oppression has forced black and brown people into this position.

They talk of reparations to black and brown people because the fact that their ancestors were slaves mean they have no generational wealth to pass on. They can never get ahead because of how far they are behind. I have heard so many people say why should we have to pay for slaves we never had. It's because it's the only way to even attempt to give them the same opportunities that a lot of white people are born into just for the fact that they are white.

I know this isn't the case for all black and brown people just like it isn't the same for all white people. I'm not saying this is representative of everyone in these categories but what I have done is to stop judging people based on what they look like. Just because a white person has had numerous bad experiences with black or brown people doesn't mean that is everyone's experience. And vice versa. So many people think because they know a few bad apples it's representative of a whole race. You wouldn't want to be judged because you're too tall or too short but in essence it's the same as judging someone for the color of their skin.

I wanted to point this all out to show my progress through the years. I want to show that I have been on both sides of the aisle. And I hope I am not wording things in a way that are unintentionally offensive because I am still learning. But here are some of the differences I see between the two sides.

Conservatives like the way things have always been. They say they are the party of family values and we should make America great again, like it was....I'm not sure how back they want to go. But the reason there was much less divorce in the 50's is because women had no power. They were not able financially to detach from their husband or father. They couldn't get bank accounts or credit cards on their own. That made it nearly impossible to own property. The reason more couples split up now is because women have finally gained enough freedom to control their own lives instead of having men control them. Sure, more families were together back in the day but who knows how many of them were actually happy? How many women may have been stuck in abusive relationships that they couldn't get out of? The rights that women have secured in the last 50 years allows them to take make the decisions that are best for them and their children.

The way I see it is conservatives want to keep things the way they have always been is because it has worked so well for them. The patriarchy, the white man having the most power. These are things that keep white men at the top of business. That keeps them the main breadwinners therefore they have the most control. They call progressives bad and that is confusing to me. Don't we want progress? Do we want to go back to a time without technology? Do we not appreciate electricity? I mean, if America was once great and you are trying to make it great again then which time in America are you talking about? Because as time goes on we have progressed for everyone. Women, black and brown people, people who are gay and giving them the same rights as heterosexual couples. Because why not? How is that hurting anyone? I get it though. A lot of people don't understand it so they don't like it. Instead of living and let live people have now taken it upon themselves to call out what they believe is right and wrong. But that's the thing. That's one person's belief and I don't have to live my life based on your beliefs.

I think what it really boils down to is white men are feeling threatened. They are afraid of losing their place at the top of the hierarchy. Because the more rights other people have the more they have to lose. If they have to compete with as many black and brown people for a job as they do with white people then the chances of them getting that dream job may be a whole lot harder. And they feel threatened. They feel like their way of life may be over as they know it. I get why they feel that way. It's part of the privilege we've lived as white people. But it hasn't been fair to everyone else who isn't white. And who isn't male for that matter. But they seem to forget the words they had to say to black and brown people when they opposed affirmative action; "if you just work hard you can be the one chosen for that great position." Why does the same thing not apply to them? Probably because they didn't have to work as hard to get it in the past and they don't like the competition.

That is why, I believe, they are now targeting women. I believe the reversal of Roe V. Wade is an attempt to put women back in their place. Women have been catching up to men in the corporate world, medical world, political world and in most fields at this point. They are still pretty far behind but they are making strides. Again, men don't like it. That is why these conservative lawmakers are making such stringent laws and bans when it comes to abortion. It's a way to hold women back from progressing in this country. Even if they don't keep the child they have to put their life on hold for 9 months. Restricted travel and labor intensive jobs. If there are complications they may need to go on bed rest for a long period of time taking them out of the workforce altogether for that time period. Because if it was really about life then conservatives would vote for programs that would help children and they don't. Their voting records prove that.

The liberals that I have come across are just fighting for freedom for those who want to live their lives as they are without being targeted. They would like to see things a little more fair and balanced between gender, race and economic levels. I see that they are hard working and are happy to pay a little more here and there in order for those disadvantaged get a little help. There has been a big uproar over the recent student loan forgiveness program. I always hear people say why are sending so much money overseas when people need help here. Well, this is helping people here but it's still wrong? I don't get it.

What I don't understand is the MAGA movement. The Trump supporters. I just can't grasp how his supporters can excuse every single awful, criminal, and hateful thing he has done. I don't understand how you can be so angry over Black Lives Matter protests but defend what happened on January 6th at the Capitol. Because here is the difference: one is about trying to keep black and brown people from getting killed during traffic stops. The other was an attempt to overthrow the government because Trump said the election was stolen. One is about people getting to live without fear of being killed because they are driving or walking down the street while the other is about a lie Trump made up because he can't handle losing.

I've heard so many people say when it comes to black and brown people getting killed by police that if they would just comply (which many of them do) they wouldn't get hurt. Yet, conservatives call the killing of Ashley Babbitt murder of an innocent woman when she was breaking into the Capitol. Why is that considered different? I would really like to know. And why are conservatives making Kyle Rittenhouse, the child who killed two people during a Black Lives Matter protest and acquitted, an icon of the party? He is at conservative events and treated like a hero. Why? Because he got away with killing two people at a protest they don't agree with?

And here is another question I wonder about. If Trump was the same exact person with the same beliefs, background, business acumen and personality BUT he was black, would conservatives still support him? If the answer is no they may be racists. And if the answer is yes then pretend Barack Obama has done everything Trump has done and answer the question again. Because not only is Trump a horrible business man who has had 6 bankruptcies and working on another one with Truth Social, who has cheated hundreds of businesses out of their money but he's broken law after law after law and is still supported and defended. It completely boggles my mind.

The only reason I can come up with is that they liked the way Trump made them feel. He emboldened them to feel superior to certain other groups. He said out loud a lot of things people would say in private but wouldn't dare to say in public. But he has made it okay. He has made it okay to bully and name call. And that is what disgusts me the most. He has normalized treating other people like shit. And it's not right. We are a civilized nation. We can and should treat each other with respect.

If you liked today's episode please share it with your friends. And check out other Hopefulist podcasts that help women stress less and live life to the fullest.

Thank you so much for tuning in today. Until next time....keep fighting!

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