A Word to Traditionally Republican Voters

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery — none but ourselves can free our minds,” are more than just nice lyrics in a Bob Marley song.

The point of our journey is to grow in mindfulness, what some people call consciousness. Doesn’t matter who brought you into this world, the values you were raised upon, what you believed when you were a kid, how the group you hung out with in high school or college looked at life and people in circumstances differing from their own. Doesn’t matter the bonds that keep you rooted to family and friends in a tight clique. Doesn’t matter who you voted for two elections ago, or even whether you voted for Donald Trump in the last election. Ultimately, what matters is who you are TODAY. What you believe TODAY. What you stand for TODAY. The decisions you will make TODAY based on what you know TODAY.

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There is a fallacy floating around that, in times such as these, the aim should be to find “common ground” so that we can all get along. I maintain, however, that this is a right and proper goal only when you are dealing with people of good character and integrity who simply may not be able to grasp your perspective, or you theirs. We are not all meant to see life the same way. Everyone has their own journey, and because someone is on a different path doesn’t mean he or she is lost.

But that is not the case at this juncture in our history.

In a recent article for Time magazine, Emory University Professor and author, Tayari Jones, points out that there’s nothing inherently virtuous about finding common ground. She writes:

“People ask how might we ‘meet in the middle, as though this represents a safe, neutral and civilized space. This American fetishization of the moral middle is a misguided and dangerous cultural impulse.

The middle is a point equidistant from two poles. That’s it. There is nothing inherently virtuous about being neither here nor there. Buried in this is a false equivalency of ideas, what you might call the “good people on both sides” phenomenon. When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle? Rather than chattel slavery, perhaps we could agree on a nice program of indentured servitude? Instead of subjecting Japanese-American citizens to indefinite detention during WW II, what if we had agreed to give them actual sentences and perhaps provided a receipt for them to reclaim their things when they were released? What is halfway between moral and immoral?

When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle?”

As within our intimate personal relationships, we cannot condone or justify staying in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable, a liar, or a cheater and abuser because (s)he is so cute, so popular, has money, or any number of other misguided reasons. We cannot continue to pretend that this election is about a normal, healthy political relationship with a president or the Republican party. As in our personal lives, sometimes we need a reality check regarding the narratives playing out in our heads, especially the ones that tell us to remain rooted because of our own fears.

Cognitive dissonance is real. But, in much the same way that we must abandon abusive relationships for our own good, we must also follow suit in this election. Those who have belonged to the Republican party for generations because, well, their friends are Republican; their family has always been Republican; or their pastor drives his own agenda in favor of the Republican party to keep his wealth from being taxed under the guise and umbrella of that direly misquoted “separation of church and state” banner; can no longer pretend this is the same Republican party of yesteryear.

There is truth outside of FOX News, despite what those who want you to remain brainwashed propagate. And even some at FOX News are waking up — those like Chris Wallace and Shepard “Shep” Smith, who speak out regularly now against the fascist propaganda being spewed by Trump and his Orwellian press secretaries. Indeed, noteworthy is a tweet by conservative Republican, political commentator and news anchor S.E. Cupp, who, this past week, was moved to say, “The press needs to stop begging to be liked by Hollywood, Washington and anyone else in power. We are not here to be liked. We’re here to f*ck sh*t up for anyone who would abuse their power. This 👏🏻 is 👏🏻 our 👏🏻 job.”

There it is.

Indeed, such talk from a president of the United States about the press being the “enemy of the people” is unprecedented and, certainly, not normal. Trump likes dictators. Trump wants to be a dictator and breed local conditions for a dictatorship. But America has a Constitutionally free press for one reason and one reason only — so that they can tell the truth. Not truth according to a pathologically lying scoundrel intent on breeding an atmosphere of distrust in which his wild, unsubstantiated claims about “fake news” have become egregious and dangerous for writers, journalists and news agencies like CNN, who speak out against his administration.

What we have witnessed with our own eyes matter. What we have heard with our own ears matter. What we have experienced as leadership, even within the Church, supposedly of Jesus Christ, doesn’t need interpretation by “Pastor.”

Take. Off. The. Blinders.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery — none but ourselves can free our minds,” are more than just nice lyrics in a Bob Marley song. We were not designed to wear biased blinders to the grave.

Everything in this life is based upon a learning curve. The fact that you believed that Santa Claus was real when you were five years old is no excuse to believe Santa Claus is real because he shows up in costume at the mall. In like manner, there is not a single excuse now for any single one of you to believe that Donald Trump is “presidential,” or that his cronies who aid and abet him have this country’s interests at heart.

By now, that farce should be clear to you. Unless, of course, you still believe in Santa Claus.

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© 2018 Donna Kassin. All rights reserved.

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Contributor to HuffPost and Medium; Author of the upcoming book, EVERYTHING CRASH: The Search and Rescue Mission for America.” https://donnakassin.com 🇺🇸 🇯🇲

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