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Vigil Auntie Column: The United States of Anger


by Dennis Kalup

Everyone is angry.

Angry at Hillary Clinton for publishing a book. Angry that Donald Trump is the president. Angry that Bernie Sanders didn’t do enough. Angry that Barack Obama was president. Angry that Black Lives Matter. Angry that White men are still in charge. Angry that we are moving backwards as a nation. Angry that our government has been gridlocked for the past decade.
But what is everyone doing about it? As far as I can tell, mostly complaining online.

Friends, we must stop the complaining, and start the listening. Dialogue is the way forward. Does this mean entertaining racist homophobic misogynistic megalomaniacs? Absolutely not.

However, screaming a bunch of liberal buzz words at people who disagree and not interacting with them at all is where we are all going wrong. People are broken, and we need to try and help put them together again, not continue to rip them down. I have seen friends and families torn apart by this- mostly on social media where it is very easy to say whatever you want, especially when you don’t have to say it to someone’s face.

Those of us that have traveled through the crucible of the November 2016 election and made it to the other side with our eyes open need to engage on every level. In our communities, in our work spaces, on the bus, and everywhere. I style myself a Vigilauntie- Outspoken about social injustice, but also there to give you a hug when you need it.
Most of all I think this country needs healing, but a good swift kick in the ass is also helpful when necessary.

I am NOT a snowflake, but I am also not a speed bump to be run over while you try to shove your agenda down my throat. We all must be present, be prepared, and be on point. The rhetoric of evil is strong, and it must be countered with even stronger resolve, not platitudes and condescension. We are the liberal elites, and we failed. We must own that. Our biggest mistake would be to try and lay all the blame on others. We must cast the beam out of our own eye, so to speak.

This country is broken. Did it happen in 2016? Yes and no.

I think it has been a long time coming, and we finally reached a place where we had a veritable perfect storm of complete mess that has placed us where we are now. I had someone on social media proclaiming “He will win” as soon as Trump entered the primary in 2015. I laughed. Then the field narrowed, and I was scared. Then like some horrible top whizzing out of control it toppled to the floor and broke into thousands of pieces. He did win, and our long dark journey began. Very few times in my life are indelibly etched into my memory, but I know that night will be one of them.

To be reductive- I am here for it. I may not like it, I may often struggle watching the news, hearing of this debacle or that, but I am not going to shy away from it. I will fight when necessary, but I will also vow to listen, and not dismiss out of hand. I am here to try and understand your struggle, if you are here for the same.

I am not a cock-eyed optimist, I know there are those that will never see eye to eye with a gay man and his radical gay agenda of equality, but I also know that personal interaction is often the key to understanding other viewpoints, and I am not going to give up. Whether it is talking about the right to marry, the corruption of government, the very real fact that I live in one of the largest and most segregated cities in the USA, I am here for it. And I am here for you.

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