By Nancy McGregor
Identity is important. How we define ourselves is important. What we believe to be true about ourselves is valid. What we believe about others usually reflects something about our perceptions of ourselves. I identify as a person before I identify as a woman. I am not “just” my gender. I am the broader scope of my humanity. The term “humanity” is one that, for me, speaks of an all encompassing human nature and experience. I would no more vote for a woman, especially one like Hillary, simply because we have similar body parts any more than I would vote for a man because he has hands like I do. Allowing only my womanhood to define me is also allowing it to limit me. It’s a trick that has been used against women for centuries. Speaking from (or voting for) only one aspect of my Being does not allow me to express the scope of my humanity. No, I want to express all of it. I want to BE all of it.
Being interested in humanity doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t enjoy nature and the natural world around me. In my work as a Wildlife Fine Art Photographer, I see our own human nature as it is reflected in the larger world of environmental nature. Animals are not so different from us. It’s a vision that expands and includes humans as part of the natural world. This also has an impact on my visit to the ballot box. I understand that nature is as brutal as it is beautiful.
Human nature is also brutal. This inborn brutality can’t be taxed, regulated or legislated out of existence. The reality of it must be understood and only then can we know the best course of action to defend against it. Whether it’s a lone gunman on a rampage or a radical plot, we must be able to understand its genesis or we will never reduce its escalation. Further, when someone bastardizes a religion to better use it as a tool to invade or destroy others it can no longer be designated as a sacrosanct religion that merits veneration. That’s dangerously blind. The religion of peace has been hijacked and is being used as a spiritual weapon of war. It is up the members of that religion to preserve its reputation, sanctity, and inviolability and to remove from it the people who would use their faith as a tool of violence and hatred. My heart goes out to my friends who are Muslim and whose genuinely peaceful faith is daily being trampled and dishonored by Radical Islamic Terrorists. Their persecution comes not from those who would stop the dishonor but from those who have started it.
We often refer to human monsters as animals but we generally don’t mean to denigrate the beauty, grace and magnificence of wild or domesticated beasts. In that sense, I love animals! In fact, I have a young dog. He’s male and, as if in a wolf pack, he sometimes wants the role of an alpha male. He wants to lead the walk and he wants to set the tone. Except, I’m the pack leader. He offers a mild challenge to me sometimes but that’s his nature. I’m not intimidated by his nature.
As it translates to human males, many people have begun to believe that male leadership is misogynistic. Donald Trump, in particular, is quickly judged as a rude, misogynistic male. A man with leadership skills, however, is no more misogynistic than my dog.
I hear fastidious women talk about Donald Trump with an unveiled distaste for his “vulgar” comments. In many cases, the women's comments and the corrosive venom with which they are spat is more unrefined than anything Donald Trump has uttered. In their quest for social superiority, such women often ignore the obvious. 1. Almost every person that Trump has broadsided was as a response; he didn’t initiate the exchange. 2. His respect for woman is equal to that of men; he responds equally. 3. When he attacks, he generally responds to the disrespect, not the disagreement. Respectful disagreement is met with respectful reciprocity.
I like that about him.
I’ve heard so many people, on both sides of the aisle, complain about how ugly people have gotten in the last few years. They’re rude. They are offended by almost everything. They justify. They blame. They defend. They demand. They attack.
This may be the most important thing I can tell you about Trump. Donald Trump reflects what he is given. And he magnifies it. If you give him disrespect, that’s what you get back, only quite a bit more. He lets you choose your response by how you decide to approach him. My mother called it “giving you enough rope to hang yourself.”
If America’s culture ever realizes how coarse they’ve decided to be in all their graceless, churlish, snarkiness, they’ll realize that the world they’ve produced also created the need for a person like Trump. His supporters are people who want a beautiful, healthy, and safe life filled with laughter, love, and happiness. His detractors seem to want a world that is violent, permanently offended, and generally foul. They attack Trump without restraint or respect. Human nature, however, is wired to flight or fight. Trump fights. When it comes to Trump, however, the solution is simple: Behave with respect and remember, “Don’t start none and there won’t be none.”
This is a simple but effective message to the bully on the playground, or a world leader who has a finger on the button labeled “Devastation.”
Understanding Trump’s actions instead of focusing only on his words are a matter of widening the scope of perception. Truth isn’t always a pretty thing to behold. One thing that limits everyone’s scope is Political Correctness. The underwriter of modern bigotry is “Being PC.” The politically correct culture demands that disdain is the only proper response to those humans who are not PC. Bigotry is defined as having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one's own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others. Almost every time anyone expresses outrage over a factual but ugly truth - simply based upon the mouth that utters it –she is announcing her own bigotry.
Each creature in nature has its own skill set and personality. I find humans absorbing and I love to watch them in their native environments. Washington DC’s pack of animals are a fascinating Train-Wreck. They protect their own vociferously. Both the blue-striped and the red-striped creatures attack Trump. He’s just not one of them. The donor class is not fond of him either. The lobbyists are not singing his praises. The special interests are not in line to cheer at a Trump rally. The ivory towers of academia are not praising Trump. The press is almost universal in its obvious smears.
Are all these creatures right? Or are they protecting their way of life? Their paychecks? Washington DC lives off the fat of the land. The taxes fund the beltway-insider economy that provides those paychecks. It’s become clear that Donald Trump would unceremoniously flip over the tables of moneychangers in the hallowed halls of our government. By comparison, Bernie Sanders has spent around 30 years in those halls and has flipped over nothing in all that time. In his time in office, he has cosponsored a number of bills but he, himself, has only generated a total of three bills that were enacted as law; two of those simply renamed post offices. A grand total of one significant bill that became law in over 30 years. ONE!
When it comes to choosing a presidential candidate, I do a lot of research. I’m also not married to any ideology that seeks to limit my scope, my values, or my effectiveness. If Bernie were the magician he claims to be, I’d have no problem voting for him. Instead, he’s the worst kind of charlatan - one who preys on the fresh dreams and idealism of the young. He will not help them on their quest to make the world a better place. If he had that roadmap, he’d have made his own youthful aspirations come true. Instead, he went into politics.
Trump has that road map. He used it to teach his own children. He used it to build jobs for countless people. Now, he wants to use it to show America how to be a prosperous, substantial, robust, fun, protected, happy, and healthy entity. What would trigger the effort to stop him from building a strong America? What are the ulterior motives? It’s certainly not a few vulgarities or a hairstyle.
Nancy McGregor is an Entrepreneurial Creative, an award-winning Photographer, the mother of a disabled child, and a happy person. She is, however, weary of being stifled by the negative categories and pigeonholes into which the press and the political parties stuff us. The old labels don’t work anymore.