I lived with apprehension and unease of speaking forthright. Diaphanous emotions with no basis in my reality. My parents weren’t hardliners who thought kids should be seen and not heard. No one was holding my tongue. Well, there was my first and second grade teacher, one and the same. An unmarried woman with no children who thought kids should be seen and not heard unless she asked a question. She had a hard slap and garbage can full of humiliation. Maybe that is when I learned to be quiet.
I just hate conflict. I called in absent a couple of times to work rather than spend the day in enemy territory. I’ve gotten sucked into conflicts. Took on what wasn’t mine. Never itched for a fight. Yearned for battle. Licked my lips in anticipation of winning. Maybe that makes me a coward. But I won’t run once in even when commonsense tells me to split the difference. Swallow dread; ignore the elevator drop in my stomach. This too shall pass is on continuous play. But I’m not really a fight-to-the-death kinda’ of person. I look for compromise and may yield beyond my comfort zone. Some call that cowardice. Compromise is for those without conviction someone told me. But without it? One gets everything and the other nothing. How long can that last?
President Trump has encouraged me to be more vocal. He begs for response. He likes those liberal sore loser hate mongers speaking out against him. It’s a win-win for him. His protective supporters rush to his defense pleading for everyone to just let him do what he wants. Give him a chance. But it’s detractors that give him the fodder for tweet tweet. Fortifies his supporters and gives them the perfect scapegoat to blame if he fails. He could have made America Great Again if those …………………hadn’t stymied him.
The President’s my negative reinforcer. Or maybe that’s positive reinforcer. I get those mixed up. But he speaks; I go opposite. Can we agree on nothing? Well, sometimes I really don’t know what he’s saying. It’s so vague. And sometimes he hits it. The mass murderer in Las Vegas committed an evil act. Succinct. Silence is proper. But I doubt if he’s done with it.
So though he is encouraging my voice, I think perhaps I should be silent. I feel manipulated into dissent. But if dissenters would turn the tables into silence, then he will hold a press conference to claim that he has a high approval rating and has quelled his detractors. A win-win for him.
I will be dead when historians can dispassionately write about this President and his legacy. He has changed the country of my memory. He hasn’t changed my beliefs. He has changed my willingness to say what they are. Perhaps his impact will be great. Maybe not in what he does but in what he brings out in people. Positive. I hope, but I have read some of the ugliest comments coming from supporters and opponents. Maybe as Craig Steven Wilder said in The Central Park Five “…we’re not very good people, and we’re often not”.