I would like to begin this particular blog post with some stats, if I may. In four years, I have received 405 views on 12 different blog posts. I have 26 followers total, most of whom I know or am related to in some way. Obviously, this blog is not the most popular one out there, and rightly so.
But more than anything, this blog has proven to be my outlet to the world when all other voices seem to fail me. I have written about some deeply personal issues here. But these past four years have changed me more than any others ever did. And now I think it high time I came to all 26 of you with a hefty dose of honesty. And for that reason, I would like to be equally honest as I start this off. Let us begin.
I’d like to paint you a picture of my 18 year old self. He was a caring, funny boy with a propensity for words and a great deal of enthusiasm about college life. He was excited about the next phase of his life and he cared a great deal about others. Ah, but he did have flaws. In fact, he had a great many of them, my dear readers. Perhaps his greatest one was his ignorance. You see, he was sent off to college in the year 2016…we all know what happened that year.
Well, in a few words, I can describe to you my thought process over the course of that year. When I first saw Donald Trump speak, I laughed. I said to myself “now there is a crude man with some brutal honesty. That’s awfully different in the world of politics.” I watched that man with interest for the next few months, as he addressed many issues that were important to me. He talked about immigration, gun laws, healthcare, and many, many other things. But more than anything, he talked about the democrats.
Ohhhh, how that Mr. Trump loved to abuse the Democrats. And my 18 year old self (young, enthusiastic, conservative boy that he was) began to support him wholeheartedly. Nothing and no one could stand in his way. But I still had reservations…what about the way he treated women? What about his casual air with which he glossed over racism and the vast inequalities that exist in this country?
So what did 18 year old Dylan do? Well, he sat in a dark dorm room, looking at his empty ballot for about two hours. With a sigh of frustration, he lowered his pencil to paper and filled in the little circle next to “Clinton.”
He erased it.
He filled in the circle next to “Trump.”
He erased that, too.
He sat there for hours, repeating this fill-then-erase procedure every 20 minutes or so, before he finally came to a decision.
The next week, we would find Dylan talking with a friend about the election. The friend was jubilant, and kept saying “isn’t it incredible that Trump won? HA! Politics will definitely be more interesting now.”
18 year old Dylan laughed along with his friend. Continued to laugh for weeks. He poked fun at “the weeping Democratic crybabies” and the “sore loser” Hillary Clinton. But he was carrying a secret deep inside him, one that he dare not reveal in front of his all-too-conservative friends.
After those hours of deliberation, he had voted for Hillary.
And so our boy watched as people despaired. Watched carefully, wondering why they were mourning. Surely this man being elected did not mean the end of the world?
And now, my dear readers, I would like to skip forward four years. I am now 22 years old. I am still young in many people’s eyes, but I feel like an old man, with creaks, aches, and pains inside my mind and soul instead of my body.
I would never deign to affiliate myself with either Republicans or Democrats. Even before I was old enough to vote, I disliked political parties and how shallow they are. Instead, I have always labeled myself with the words . . . Liberal . . . or Conservative.
Am I still conservative in some issues? I have no doubt that I am.
Am I now very liberal when it comes to others? Most definitely.
But honestly? I do not even care about these anymore. Because I can tell you how I identify now, my friends. I am tired.
Tired of watching Trump talk about things he does not understand.
Tired of watching some of my closest friends rush to defend him.
Tired of hearing about black people being killed by police.
Tired of watching him denounce science and reason.
Tired of hearing about immigrants being deported.
Tired of laughing along at the jokes.
Jokes about trans people.
Black and brown people.
I am tired of all of it, and so I asked myself where I stood. If no voices were chiming in my ears and bouncing around inside my brain. If I were considering only my morals and what I know to be true and good and right, what would I decide?
At the end of the day, my friends, the decision boiled down to my religion. You see, I believed in a God who called his followers to love everyone, regardless of who they are, inside or out. He repeated countless times that love is the most important thing in the world. Everything else comes second. EVERYTHING. And I grew sickened as I watched fellow “Christians” use any and every part of that God’s word as an excuse to hate, to place themselves still more firmly above others in this country. But I’ll let you all in on a little secret about Christians . . .
If a Christian cannot love unconditionally, they are nothing.
A true Christian denounces racism, offers to help those with mental and physical disabilities, embraces those with no place to call home, joins hands with the colored minorities in protest.
A true Christian wears a face covering to protect others, and they do not laugh at people who choose to express their individuality and beauty with colored hair, piercings, or tattoos.
A true Christian advocates equal pay for women and men, allows women to do as they see fit with their own bodies, and would celebrate with their homosexual neighbors when they get married, or adopt their first child.
Hmmm, those were pretty sensational sentences, weren’t they? Well, they shouldn’t be. In fact, this whole post’s purpose can be summed up in two main points.
First, although I never voted for him, I was indeed a Trump supporter once upon a time. That time is passed. I now see him for what he is: a small, scared man who yells falsehoods and insults until he gets his way. He is not a leader, he is a screaming child.
Second, there are two Gods in this country right now. One is praised by people with Trump signs in their front yards. He rewards his chosen “holy” children with blessings, while casting “sinful” people downward into Hell’s fiery depths . . . This God is dead, a fraud, an abomination. He is not the living God that I was taught about in my childhood. He is simply a patron of hate and despair, things that are being spread every day in his name.
The other God is the one I believe may or may not still exist. He is the God I used to feel whenever I sat silently in contemplation of this wide universe. He inspired me to love others, accept everyone, and show overwhelming love to everyone I possibly could, regardless of how radically different they may be from myself.
Of course, as it now stands, I am inclined not to believe in either of these Gods (or indeed, any others), but that is a blog post for another day.
So I’ll admit this blog post is part call to action, part confession. It was my two minutes of uninterrupted talking in this wild, crazy online world.
To those who I am joining, I confess that I come from a hateful past, and I humbly hope that they will take me under their wings and teach me the tolerance and love that they are so adept at showing one another.
To those I am leaving, those who believe that the way to improve this country is to make it great again, I say only this: I implore you to think about what I’ve said. Many of you reading this blog most likely know me personally. You know that I am a smart, kind, and informed young man. So ask yourself . . . is there a reason he just said all these things? I beg you to search your heart for the truth, as I did.
I beg you to join the side of love and acceptance.
Because I’ve been where you are now . . . and it is exhausting.
Come. Choose love. Choose acceptance. It’s been a long four years.
Until we meet again.