Washing one another’s feet

The schisms within families and amongst friends and colleagues, the uneasy – and momentary – peace brought about by “agree to disagree” is not because of the election. Your differences were unveiled (not created) because of the election and the fractures in our supportive tissue couldn’t stand up under the stress. The people who have angered and disappointed you always felt the way they are now revealed; they just hid it well. Now, there is both a mechanism and permission for them to say what they have hidden from you all this time.

I have read (too many) stories of people with bi (racial and sexual), disabled, gay or trans children who have enjoyed the support of their friends and families until the election when lines became clearer. But Trump did not take away that support; your friends and family just got honest about its limitations. The lines were always there. They just needed a black light to be seen.

A few of my conservative friends (and several social media strangers) have belligerently demanded to know whether I’m calling them “racist,” “homophobic,” or “misogynist,” putting the burden on me to chip away at the fissure between us. My answer is that “You chose to support a racist, homophobic misogynist and you were quite vocal in your criticisms of Hillary. You had your reasons – taxes, trade deals, whatever – I don’t know and I don’t care. So, you decided to sacrifice your tolerance to your other issues. That is your choice.

“Now, he is appointing even more racist, homophobic and misogynistic people to his cabinet. If you choose not to separate these actions from the ones you chose to support – and call him on them in no uncertain terms – then you support them. I’m not calling you racist, homophobic, or misogynistic. Your choice to support those who are, without demanding they stop it, speaks for itself.”

These are people I think of as “good” people. They are kind. They can be quite generous with their time and money. However, this is bigger than “agree to disagree.” This defines who we are – and who we have always been.

I’m not going to change your minds. Nothing I say will cause you to fight for whatever you already don’t believe in. So, I am done. (Okay, probably not really, but you are not my focus any more. You are responsible for your own choices and I can’t change them. But I can’t ignore them either.) So, I am going to focus on those who are hurt by what is happening here.

From now on, I plan to hark back to my not-yet-forgotten biblical upbringing and wash others’ feet.

 

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

John 13:14

 

2 Comments

  1. Good post! I read your blog often and you always post excellent content. I posted this article on Facebook and my followers like it. Thanks for writing this!

  2. This issue is sapping my soul. You are right, of course. We need to be “done” with those who supported bigotry in all the forms it takes in Trumpworld.

    I go back and forth — round and round. Sometimes I want to understand how someone could support Trump. Then I realize that those are the exact people who will be most screwed by his policies. Sometimes I think we Dems have to just be obstructionists — but then that is a horrible way to govern. Sometimes I think that each individual thing Trump does will directly impact my life, my health, my future. And then I want to not just engage but rub the noses of Trump supporters in their own shit (which I would never, ever do to my dog, BTW).

    Tomorrow (Thurs) I am going to Capitol Hill to advocate for the Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of America. At the moment, I’m trying to figure out how to say “Please don’t fuck up everything you assholes,” nicely. I have my work cut out for me!

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