I am taking time away from my teaching duties – no I will never be able to retire – to voice some troubling thoughts I have been having.
I am distressed at the extreme polarization that I see because of the upcoming election. While I can understand and support people becoming enthusiastic for a particular candidate, I hate the obvious hatred that each side has for the other. We just cannot seem to debate these issues in an adult fashion. Everyone seems to have their heels dug in and refuse to open their minds to anything the other side has to say.
Still, I regret that politics has begun to drive a wedge between some of my dear friends and myself. I do not want to lose their friendship and have tried to purge my mind of the issues, but increasingly I feel the need to separate myself from them.
Perhaps my closest and dearest friend is a Republican. I have known her for almost ten years and we have survived many hardships by leaning on each other.
But her decision to support Republican ideology, specifically Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, has placed such a strain that I just cannot find the energy to raise my shields and spend time with her. She just does not understand why I feel threatened by the current Republican intent to drag us back to a time when non-white and non-traditional people were excluded and killed because they violated a distorted Christian view.
Republican dominated legislatures across the country are racing to see who can pass the most restrictive and regressive legislation against the LGBT community. All in the name of “religious freedom” to discriminate. Thankfully, some large companies have put pressure on a few governors to veto the onerous legislation, but even so the Republican diehards say they will try to override the vetoes. In my home state of Alabama, the extreme conservatives control the legislature and have fought tooth and nail against the rights of same-sex couples to get married. I expect them to shortly take up the example of North Carolina and Kansas who have unbelievably regressive anti-LGBT laws and bills. Alabama may be broke, but they can find time to spend on these hateful ideas.
My sweet friend intends to vote for either Trump or Cruz. Trump scares me because he is doing the things Hitler did to incite the base to hate people who are not-white or non-traditional Christian. Cruz is even worse because he has aligned himself with extreme evangelicals, some who advocate the legal murder of LGBT people.
I have this recurring nightmare where the right-wing police come for me and she stands silent. It hurts too much and I cannot understand why she cannot see this.