Monday, October 17, 2016

I Dedicate my noTrumpvote to...

Sometimes awareness and learning take repeated exposure to the facts you don’t want to hear.  Donald Trump knows this.  As a shrewd marketer and a fan of Adolph Hitler, he knows that repeating the same message over and over, even if it has no basis in fact, is a successful tactic in getting otherwise normal, intelligent human beings to commit acts they would never have dreamed of prior to indoctrination by repetition.  It is brain washing with the aid of the media. 

But I have found that it can also work for the greater good.  Every time another “crooked Hillary” comment is made on your social media, fight back by posting lists from reliable sources about the good that Hillary has been doing for years.  Write that being guilty of all the things she’s accused of would require the funds of Trump and the evil genius of Moriarty.  Surely someone would have blown the whistle or produced some kind of evidence by now, right?  Keep pounding social media with the correct facts.  We have only three weeks to permeate the minds of potential voters with the good she has done and the experience she carries into the Oval Office. 

Don’t think that exposure works?  Let me tell you a tale.  My parents were part of the white flight from East Cleveland in the early 60s.  We used to call my dad Archie Bunker, saying he wasn’t a bigot, he hated everyone equally.  Dad mellowed out a bit in his later years.  He was a staunch Catholic, a staunch Democrat, and a proud Union member.  He was all about doing what was right…no lying, no cheating, no blowhards, and you best be sure you owned up to your mistakes.  He passed in 1998, so I have no idea if indoctrination by repetition would have had an impact on his voting, or on any of the other prejudices he carried with him from his early days.  But I do know he would never have voted for the lying, cheating, denying, braggart that is Donald Trump.

My mother was somewhat quiet about everything.  I never heard her voice any nasty opinions about blacks, or gays, or members of other faiths when I was growing up.  But as she got older and more vocal, I was dismayed by some of what she would say with no care in the world who heard her.  She was in her late 70s when she moved in with us.  I remember her reaction when I told her my new boss was gay.  She was horrified.  “How could you possibly work around that?” she asked.  I would then tell her how intelligent and witty he was, how friendly and funny his partner was, and what great guys they were.  I did this repeatedly. 

The first time she actually met them, my boss’ partner gave her a big hug and told her how lovely she looked.  He told her how beautiful her hair was, and that he would know, having owned his own salon for years.  She seemed to handle that pretty well.  Gradually I kept inviting her to functions where she would have occasion to interact with them.  When my daughter married, David insisted on doing her hair and mine for the wedding.  Mom watched as he fussed and fluffed until my daughter and I looked like debutantes.

A week or so after the wedding, I informed her that I was calling the guys to invite them to dinner…as a thank you for doing our hair and for graciously attending the wedding.  “I’m coming,” she announced.  So I made reservations for four.  A few months later she confided, “You know, I don’t ever think of them as gay anymore.  I just think of them as the boys.”  I replied that it was a good thing.  That people are people.  That we are all just people. 

The last year of her life she was in assisted living.  I could no longer care for her at home, so I visited her several times a week after work and on weekends.  She would always ask, “How are the boys?  I miss seeing them.  Tell them I miss seeing them.”  What a turn around for a woman in her 80s.  She also cast her last vote for Barack Obama.  And I was so proud of her when she cast her last vote for Barack Obama. 

She taught me that people can change, no matter how old or how set in their ways.  That prejudice can be overcome.  But that it requires exposure to those different from ourselves, and the indoctrination of repetition in a positive way, to overcome the negative, the hateful, and the long-held fears of a lifetime.  Because of her bravery, and the boldness she showed in changing her mind about such fundamental issues, I dedicate my "noTrumpvote" to my Mom.