There’s a cliche that keeps ringing through my head. “Actions speak louder than words.” Let’s be more specific. Votes speak louder than words. And, have a much longer lasting impact.
I keep thinking about how many times — I’ve lost count — someone has told me emphatically “You know I’m not racist.” or something equivalent in the course of a somewhat political conversation. But do I? How can I?
When people vote for a racist who is going to implement racist policies, how can I not conclude they support those racist policies? Particularly if they continue to vote for avowed racists. And, if they support those racists and their racist policies, that sure looks like racism.
I vote my values. I assume other people do as well. Otherwise, what’s the point of voting? Why would someone vote for someone whose values don’t align with theirs? So when someone says “You know I’m not a racist.” after voting for someone who is and who supports enacting racist policies, their vote speaks louder than their words. Their vote has more impact than them feeling offended that people believe their vote represents their values.
When people vote for a racist, they give tacit support to the racist’s ideology and policy positions whether that’s their intent or not.
There’s a part of me, that’s like. “Go ahead, show me your racism. At least then I know you who you are and what, if any, place you should have in my life.”, but there’s the other part of me that screams. “Oh, no, not you. I love you. I’ve always respected you.” and to learn these people fall into the racist category breaks my heart.
I used to think that if people could just learn what I’ve learned, if people could just have the experiences I’ve had, if people could just talk to each other, we could all find common ground. I’ve lost some of that hope as I’ve watched people, friends even, I’ve known for decades come out in support of racists spouting racist policies.
I used to think we just needed to have more communication, more connections, more interactions to solve this problem, but I’m beginning to think there are some people who are just too far into “tribalism” or “hatred” or “otherness” to ever reach… And sadly many of those people won’t even see themselves as such. They’ll keep shrugging their shoulders while proclaiming they’re for equality and voting against equality election after election after election.
I don’t want to give up on people, but I also struggle to see the point in continuing to try to reach people who are so entrenched they’ll never even see their own complicity.
If you’re not a racist, prove it. Fight against racism if you don’t support racism. Let your actions prove you’re not racist. Vote against racism. Otherwise, you just might be a racist…
I focused this on racism, but it applies equally to misogyny, anti-LBGTQ sentiments, sexism, and all kinds of hate, inequality, and cruelty.
We often encourage people to vote their values, but maybe it’s time to look at what people’s votes reveal about their values…
Originally published December 8, 2018 at writewithtlc.blogspot.com.