I know some of my online (and real-life) friends want to hope for the best, that despite hate speech and aggression in his tone, Donald Trump will succeed in bringing good things to America and the world. I understand this need for hope and optimism, for the need to believe that a person who says something in a way you would not can still mean to do good, that intentions are more important than the way something is said.
If someone speaks to you in anger, or hate, or ignorance, you might react or you might try to turn from them to avoid conflict. You might 'turn the other cheek' and hope that your example of loving forbearance helps them see there is a better way.
But if they keep responding in anger, hate or ignorance, and are emboldened by you turning, not speaking - or even by your angry, hurt response - you have to question your own motives first, and theirs second.
What do you hope to gain by giving the benefit of the doubt over and over? Why would a person so full of vengeance and hate want to do good in the world? Will it happen by accident? Will it happen because of good people working beneath them? Will it happen because this person is just bad at expressing themselves and still means to do good things?
How many times would you need to be hurt before accepting someone wants to hurt you? How many times must a person be slapped before they realise the other means them harm? And if not you, how many times must they hurt another before you recognise that a good person does not act this way?
It is no good facing the other way when a fire is burning behind you – not being able to see the fire does not stop it burning and is more likely to end in you being burnt yourself.
Somewhere there is another version of you, feeling the same emotions when they look at their family, touching the cheek of a child, hoping for the best, but they cannot turn away from the fire because it is already at their door.
Look right at the words used, the actions, the effects on people - real, human people going about their lives just like you are.
React with love if you must, believe the best if you like, but do not look the other way. Hope for the best but keep your eyes wide open while you do it.
© Amanda J Harrington 2016