Let’s Talk About Privilege

While this touches lightly on our recent election, it’s not about Trump. It’s about me and all the other Americans like me. It’s about every election.

I am half a step away from being in the most privileged group in America. I am upper-middle class, I live in the wealthiest county in the state of Wisconsin, I work for a Fortune 100 company, I am a college graduate, I have white skin, blue eyes, and was born an American citizen.

Aside from my womanhood (which, while I have had my experiences with sexism, has not stopped me from getting where I want to be in life), I am as privileged as they come.

All of these things together give me the greatest privilege of them all; Having a leader who speaks poorly of POC, is intolerant of certain religions, has no time for the poor and plans to cast out immigrants and close doors for refugees has absolutely no effect on my life.

But you know what’s more important than my privilege, my safety, and my bank account?

EVERY. OTHER. PERSON. IN. THE. WORLD.

I am a member of this planet. The North Pole to the South Pole and everything in-between is my community. It is my responsibility to care for, stand up for, and walk alongside all of these people, whether they are just like me or nothing like me at all. This is an opportunity I have because of my privilege.

The Germans who hid Jews in their homes during World War II or the network of Americans who moved slaves from the South to the North during the days of the Underground Railroad never said, You know, I think I might actually just let all those people die, because something bad could happen to me if I help them. Instead, they used their position as the free and the protected to defend the lives and rights of the suffering minority.

In history, when the catholic churches were the ruling government, they used the money their congregation tithed to feed the hungry and clothe the homeless, no questions asked. No one dropped their weekly 10% in the tithing box mumbling, They’re probably just going to use it to buy heroin anyways.

Because here’s the insane, mind-bending, fundamental idea behind all of these things:

When someone needs help. Help them.

So when we white, middle-class Americans who make up a majority of the population, get the chance to vote, we shouldn’t be voting for our own lives. We’re good. Unless something goes horribly wrong, a new president doesn’t affect us all that much. We can still drink our fancy whiskey, state our opinions without fear of being harmed, and have fundamental human rights.

That is our time to look to the rest of the population, who have work visas, or an envelope with $14.00 as their bank account, or dark skin, or a different gender than the one they were born with, or a pregnant teenager. You know, the type of people who would never receive a small million dollar loan from their fathers. These are the people whose foundations are shaken with each election and every policy passed.

These are the people I need to be thinking about. I need to take off my I’m Entitled hat and remember that every one of them is just as important as I am. If anything, their voices are even more important, because they have insight into this country that I will never have.

Democracy gives me the opportunity to speak on behalf of my country. I am using the system completely wrong if I vote to protect myself and my beliefs without including the needs and the safety of all the people around me.

Just because I have nothing to fear from hatred and cruelty, doesn’t mean I’m allowed not to fear on behalf of my friends and my community.

There is no room for me to be selfish. Democracy isn’t about me.