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Be Better.

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

"This is fucked," I thought.

Then, "we're fucked."

Then, "well, we're not all fucked but those mother fuckers are fucked."

I dislike politics more and more every day. I dislike domestic terrorism and blind faith to dogmatic belief systems and close-mindedness and hatred. I dislike unfairness. I dislike immorality. I dislike people (i.e. Trump) who promote hatred and ignorance and call it "strength" and "patriotism." I dislike the people who like Trump because he's funny or brash or white enough to erase all his failures. I dislike that he was ever elected president. I dislike that my friends overseas make fun of the country I'm supposed to be proud of. I was relieved when Biden won, and not really because I adore Biden. He is no saving grace. But he is, at the very least, principled. He at least tries to be a good person and that, it turns out, has become unnecessary for the leader of our country.

If you haven't paid attention, tens of thousands of Trump supporters swarmed the capital yesterday to protest voter fraud or...something. In 2016, when Trump won, the left complained of voter fraud too, but they didn't engaged in acts of terrorism. In fact, the left organized a woman's march which spread across the country and the world. They were peaceful, organized, and unexpectedly powerful. They chanted. They wore pink hats. Yesterday's taboo of storming the capital, on the other hand, is not peaceful. It is shameful, embarrassing, and a grotesque display of white privilege at its finest.

I'm a writer, a poet, and a chronic over-thinker. I know that there is nuance everywhere. Nothing is ever as simple as we would like it to be. No one is only one thing, and no one is easily categorized. We are complex and the systems we've built are complex. Our identities are complex. And the internet, in all it's fucked up glory, tries to make us less complex. More easily categorized. I'm not exactly surprised by the recent insurrection but I am disappointed.

In my previous dating life, I used to joke to my friends that men need to "be better." I meant, they need to be less flaky, less lazy, less misogynistic, less domineering, less narcissistic. All of these traits though, exist in our soon to be ex-president. There is no wonder men have no problem embracing disappointing traits when they see a disappointing man attempt to endanger our democracy. I say "attempt" because soon, he'll be gone. There was not enough voter fraud to overturn the election results. There is likely always some degree of voter fraud, sure, but not enough to make up tens of thousands of votes. The fact that Trump is instigating false claims and praising his followers for acts of terrorism is nothing short of condemnable.

I can't emphasize enough that I am wrong sometimes. I need to be checked. I need someone to tell me when I'm wrong or when I'm being a brat. But I can hear that, feel an appropriate amount of shame, and right myself. Be better. At least try to be better.

It would have been nice if, when Trump was elected, he had tried to be better, but no such luck. Probably, he'll be dead before that happens. His staunch supporters need to be better, too. They need to admit that they were wrong and try to understand where their own underlying feelings of inadequacy and hatred stem from. Only the hateful can spew such unabashed hatred. Only the deeply hurt could wish hurt on others. Only the deeply disturbed would take time out of their own lives to gather at our nations capital, break in, and act as if they are heroes. There is no heroism in insurrection and no bravery in domestic terrorism. There is only hatred and cowardice; stubbornness and ignorance.

I am not a political expert. I'm not an expert of anything, really. But, like a lot of you, I know when something is right and I know when something is wrong. January 6, 2021 will exist as a bruise in our nations' history. It was not a shining moment. We all have the responsibility to recognize what is happening so that it doesn't continue to happen. We all have a responsibility to display virtues we can be proud of. To teach our children what is right and what is wrong. To be better, to each other, to ourselves, and to this place we call home.

P.S. Stay updated on the current protests here, read A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, or support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here.


Sarah Rose

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