Opposition and Divisiveness

This is going to be a little bit of a rant, so if it seems like I forgot to breathe at times, don’t worry I assure you I’m alright. 🙂

We’ve all heard the tone of those who voted for Trump, maybe they were third party voters, or didn’t vote at all “let’s give him a chance”, “let’s see how he does”, “I am going to support him since he’s my president”.  As nauseating as this can be, there is something worse to me that’s driving me up the wall.

“You’re being divisive”.

This is hard for me to understand.  Look, there is no question that we are a nation very much divided right now, and we need to, somehow, try to unite as a people.  There is no question about that.  During the past 8 years I heard people say all sorts of ridiculous things about Obama being a socialist, death panels, taking away everybody’s guns, and host of fabricated tales mean to discredit the president and his administration.  I tried presenting counter information without name calling.  I did not see their disagreement as divisive, just somebody who wasn’t informed or had a different point of view.  I never accused anybody of being divisive.

Now all of a sudden everybody on the right is concerned about how divided this nation is, and at that by opposing Trump’s terrible ideas we are being divisive.  When the right said they didn’t like the ACA, did anybody tell them to shut up they are being divisive?  That they aren’t helping?  To get behind the president?

I am a scientist.  I try to base my opinions based on something, and defend my point of view.  Sometimes my information isn’t the best and I own up to it.  But when my disagreement is being labeled as divisiveness, this is pure distortion and I will not take ownership of that label.  I’m not being derisive to people personally, but I will challenge ideas that I think are harmful.  And these people who label me as being divisive were never calling out people on their own side for the same behavior.  I mean if you know a large portion of the country is pro-choice…shouldn’t you tell your pro-life friend to stop posting videos of bloody fetuses on Facebook?  Never seen that happen once.  Never seen a Republican tell the birther’s they were being divisive.  I’ve never seen a Republican ever tell another Republican they are being divisive for posting something that the other side disagrees with.  But all of a sudden liberals are all divisive.  We are the ones causing division.

It’s not divisive to make abortion illegal, to normalize sexual assault, to call scientific consensus a hoax, to label illegal aliens as drug dealers and rapists, to build a giant wall, to freeze immigration on refugees if they are Muslim, to say gay people can’t marry the people they love, to say you are going to lock up your political opponent in jail….an entire campaign run entirely on divisiveness.

And because I not only resist those notions, but can defend those positions with evidence and statistics, that is deemed divisive.

Look, I am not saying their aren’t a great deal of liberals calling people names, or calling Trump names gets us nowhere and is arguably divisive.  But posting tips for activism, pointing out hypocrisy, presenting one’s viewpoint in a reasoned manner should not be seen as divisiveness.  One person, who dropped me off of Facebook, even told me that my divisiveness was of the kind that would lead to war.  And this was somebody who told me that she doesn’t vote for any party that doesn’t support banning abortion and told me Trump would restore morality to the country.

So I’m not sure what you want from me.  If it’s silence, that isn’t going to happen.  I am going to keep presenting what I think are informative and well-argued articles, and I am still going to reasonably explain why I think a certain action or ideology is wrong.  People act like I don’t spend a great deal of time trying to understand other points of view, I’ve reached across the aisle more than anybody has reached across to me to understand my point of view and I’ve actually adjusted a number of my positions on issues as a result of it.

So when somebody who denies the existence of climate change is put in charge of the EPA, or a white nationalist is put on the National Security Council, or a completely unqualified person is put in charge of the Department of Education and you are silent about it.  You are the one being divisive.  You are the one who voted for someone who used divisiveness as a tactic to win your support.  I am speaking out because you won’t, because I feel we will all lose at the hands of the people in charge of government.

And in the end, if you still think that’s being divisive, well then I can accept that, because I have no business being on the side of someone who, if they find my viewpoint disagreeable, can’t engage in civic discourse about it.  I still bear you no ill will, but I have a country to worry about and I really don’t have time for your hypocritical judgment.

Rant over.

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22 thoughts on “Opposition and Divisiveness

  1. “So I’m not sure what you want from me. If it’s silence, that isn’t going to happen.” – That is exactly what they want Swarn. Any psychological tactic, no matter how low or illogical is being employed to shut up you, and all the others who completely disagree with Trump and his abhorrent policies. Whilst some would debate how much the U.S has truly been ‘the land of the free’ for some time now, it most certainly is not at present.

    Shout out your concerns as loud as you can, that is your right, and you are not being divisive, you are making your voice be heard rather than keeping quiet and meekly taking it all. Good man.

    – esme sitting with Swarn and nodding a great deal upon the Cloud

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Esme. I feel it’s all more insidious than silence. I keep thinking that life has become like 1984. In that sense that they don’t want you to use overly emotional language, and that we are supposed to accept that “chocolate rations went up last week” even though we know they’ve gone down. Alternative facts, critique is never factual. It makes you question your own sanity at times, and I need to remind myself that this isn’t normal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There was an episode of The Current on the CBC about a week ago where they compared 1984 to what’s going on currently. There were two 1984 experts (that’s a real thing) who were able to draw a lot of parallels with the book, much more than I could having read it years ago. It is somewhat comical (terrifying?) to see how Trump’s speech matches Newspeak with its simple words and repeating them for emphasis. I’ve yet to hear a “doubleplus good”, but let’s give him a change.

        The Current episode: https://goo.gl/ID37dp

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ll check it out. Thanks Chris. And yes I would agree. In many ways I feel like using scientific, or technical vocabulary is simply bouncing off people, and simply labels me as elitist. And I actually don’t have a terribly extensive vocabulary compared to many I know. lol His language is very simplistic. The goal as I remember in 1984 was to create this language in which no strong emotion can be expressed. I am not sure that we’ve gotten to that part, but it certainly seems like the divisiveness of Trump’s speech has changed the conversation on both sides to be void of nuance and subtlety. Thus we are discouraged to express the true grayer nature of the world over a black and white worldview. The language of science, reason, and logic…not necessary…expression through the medium of art and literature…also not necessary.

          I recently had a conversation on Facebook with some guy who was sure that the wall would be great for American jobs and stop illegal immigration. After retorting with several researched points he respond. “You make some good points, but I still maintain my firm belief that the wall is a good thing.”

          How can you even respond to that? lol

          Like

          1. Maybe you should join the March for Science: https://www.marchforscience.com/

            The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

            I heard about it today on The Current. I love the CBC.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you Swarn, Viva la revoltion!

    We deserve no less than truth from our leaders. Lies, evasions, misdirection, and alternative facts from this administration and R’s in general should never be accepted! Never.

    I have said before on other blogs, if the coup or the revolution is taking applications, call me.

    Claims of divisiveness are projection on their part. They are the ones who ripped this country down the seams. I absolutely was gobsmacked when Trump got the election, sick to my stomach. Still am on a daily basis. Any day since he took office he could have handled his power with calm rational decision making. Has not materialized. He only exhibits his own desire to become dictator of this country.

    The sycophant regime he has surrounded himself with are all yes men to their dying breath. Professional liars and cheats all looking after their own interests.

    America has been hoodwinked by a two bit con man reality tv star. And the R’s only care that they have the ball.

    Scream from the rooftops Swarn. Let me know if you need someone to scream with you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. America has been hoodwinked by a two bit con man reality tv star. And the R’s only care that they have the ball.

      Sadly … you speak the truth.

      If only his supporters would turn off Faux News and try reading the “Fake News,” they might have a better idea of what they put into office. But alas. This would require moving from the couch and picking up a newspaper. And of course, going against their leader’s warnings!

      While we may sometimes feel like we’re the tree falling in the woods alone, we are surrounded by MANY who are just as concerned as we are … and their voices are getting louder and louder. We must carry on!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thanks SD. 🙂 As I said in my reply to Esme, I sometimes feel, in the face of this madness, that I need to just remind myself that I am one of the sane ones. I understand Trump supporters are worked into a fervor, and I hope that in time they calm enough to truly see what’s going on. Until I likely will need help screaming from the rooftops, just so I know that there are others who see everything for what it is too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah Swarn,

    I can most certainly empathize with your frustration in this current political climate. If I may, I’d like to share a couple of light-hearted, but keen stories from one of the best debaters in American history: Abraham Lincoln.

    A Polite Retort —
    Lincoln on one occasion was charged by a Major Hill with making defamatory statements about Mrs. Hill. The language used by the Major was vitriolic, and it poured forth in a steady stream. Lincoln did not lose his temper, but when he was able to get a word in edgewise he denied th allegations with emphasis. He insisted that he had a very high regard for Mrs. Hill, and he could think of absolutely nothing against her except the fact that she was Major Hill’s wife.

    Human Nature —
    Lincoln’s legal opponent in a certain case undoubtedly had the law on his side. He knew it, and Lincoln knew it.
    The day was warm and sultry. The courtroom was stifling, and perspiration rolled down the brows of everyone there. As the opponent proceeded with his vociferous arguments, he became so uncomfortable that he removed his coat and vest. This was not unusual in that day at that time of year. But in so doing, he displayed a shirt that was buttoned in the back.
    This style of haberdashery was wholly out of keeping with the trend of the times, and Lincoln, realizing primitive people’s prejudice against such sartorial innovations, made capital out of it. When he had the floor he said:
    “Gentlemen of the jury, having justice on my side, I don’t think you will be at all influenced by the gentleman’s pretended knowledge of the law when you see he does not even know which side of his shirt should be in front.”
    There was an uproarious laugh from all corners of the courtroom, including the jury box, and Lincoln won the case.

    Because human nature and human disagreements will always include emotions, there’s a LOT to be said for a poised sense of humor in tense circumstances like we have today and like we’ve had all throughout our nation’s history. President Lincoln is the epitamy of this gift during our country’s most horrific “divisiveness”.

    My friend, I applaud you for your steady courage to stand firm in what you believe and your knowledge and understanding of an issue. I’m sure that I would fall on your side with you 97% – 100% of the time on most all issues. Because human nature is so entwined with unpredictable emotions which cloud our reasoning — as can obviously be seen by who was elected POTUS — humor, some parody, and/or Colbert ‘truthiness,’ whether based in facts or fiction(!), can remarkably sway people in your favor. Hahahaha! Though I am increasingly understanding the spectacle of ignorance and agnotology, this phenomena utterly astounds me, but I find it demonstrated (as seen by our POTUS) too many times! 😛

    What’s the popular cliché? It is not what is factual that matters, but what can be dramatically presented in court. 😉

    That said, RANT as much as is required my friend. I get it. LOL ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Professor. I am trying, but I have to say that I am a hard time laughing at all. I am also trying hard not to pass around all the jabs at Trump and focus on issues. Focus on policy. Parody and sarcasm seemed more funny when certain eventualities didn’t seem real. But I shall certainly try to remain on the lighter side just to stay healthy, and think of Lincoln when I do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m right there with you, Swarn It is truly frustrating knowing that no matter what we say, what facts are shared, they dig their heels in deeper, and use psychological warfare tactics to silence us. Like you, Swarn, I won’t be silenced, even though there have been times I had reason to be scared, like last week when a white supremacy, militia group showed up at the No Ban/No Wall protest we had in the city I live in. There were more pro-Trump protesters protesting us than there were protesters attending the No Ban/No Wall protest. Their presence was meant to intimidate us. We received death threats when the peaceful protest was first announced by local media.

    Lillian Smith was a southern liberal, white woman who openly embraced controversial positions on matters of race and gender equality. They tried to silence her. She was unafraid to criticize segregation and worked toward the dismantling of Jim Crow laws. This was at a time when such actions virtually guaranteed social ostracism. It sure seems like there are a lot of Trump supporters who want to turn the U.S. into a Mississippi, the most religious, and conservative state in the Union, ranked last in well being.

    “For men tied fast to the absolute, bled of their differences, drained of their dreams by authoritarian leeches until nothing but pulp is left, become a massive, sick Thing whose sheer weight is used ruthlessly by ambitious men. Here is the real enemy of the people: our own selves dehumanized into “the masses.” And where is the David who can slay this giant?”

    –Lililan Smith

    *hug*

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Victoria, and that’s a hell of a quote. I really like it. I just looked her up on Wikipedia and she seems like an amazing woman.

      A FB friend posted her friend’s experience at a town hall with Kristen Gildebrand. One of the things she said was keep voting for women. Maybe Hillary wasn’t the woman we needed, but I think we need to keep pushing for equal gender representation in government. Two of Republican Senators who voted again DeVos were women, and they are also pro-choice as well. What we are seeing I think is a lash back of hyper-masculinity of the patriarchy. Women, I believe will be the grace we need in the end. There is nobody who understand oppression like them, and now that we live in a society where they can have a stronger voice, I think we can stem this tide. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you seen this yet?

        http://fortune.com/2017/02/07/trump-women-running-for-office/

        “Since Election Day in the U.S., story after story has profiled women who—motivated by President Donald Trump’s victory or the broader political climate—have voiced interest in running for office.

        On Monday, Emily’s List, the political action committee that supports pro-choice Democratic women, released some hard numbers to back up that anecdotal evidence. Since Trump won the White House on November 8, more than 4,000 women have reached out to the organization to say they may want to seek elected office—that’s quadruple the number of women Emily’s List had heard from in the past 22 months combined and includes 1,660 inquiries since inauguration day alone.

        Those figures are unprecedented in the organization’s 32-year history, press secretary Rachel Thomas told Fortune. The demand is so great that Emily’s List is tweaking the way it operates.”

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You’re being divisive” — such a vacuous accusation, never moreso than when mouthed by those who hypocritically espouse inclusivity just as long as it’s at no cost to themselves and their protected interests. I’ll file it under the ‘nonsense’ category along with “You’re offending me”. I’m wearying a little on the blogosphere, with seemingly everyone harping on either about Trump’s pathology, or busy virtue signalling. This is a time to organise and to act, in point of fact, to be divisive, to create a clear division in demanding responsible, humane, rational and caring governance, against what the U.S. currently has found itself saddled with — the incipient disaster and very antithesis of those things.

    ‘A core component of resistance is to get the class of civil servants, particularly on the federal but also the state level, to not comply with arbitrary laws and policies that are going to be created. . . To not recognize the laws we know are coming that will discriminate against Black people, Latinos, immigrants and queer people. There is no need for anyone to comply. Let’s not give it legitimacy just because it’s the law. We need to be prepared to disobey and engage in civil disobedience. We need to get ready for that now. . . . In the 1950s through 80s, movements fought the right-wing neo-fascist dictatorships of Argentina and Chile. It took decades to turn the tide, people were organizing on an underground basis after most of the left was liquidated. How folks organized and delegitimized the regime—I think there’s a lot to be learned from that.’

    — Kali Akuno, Co-director of the Mississippi-based group Cooperation Jackson

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With you, with you, and with you again. I’m not going to shut up either. I think the reason we’re being called divisive is that those who are in this madman’s camp or thrall have not a leg to stand on. What they do have is bluster. But you can’t blow me over that easily. Sticks and stones. Great post, Swarn. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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