I am a firm believer that there are many issues one cannot completely understand until one experiences them. Racism is one of those issues. As a white male, I admit that I have not had to deal much with racism. I have dealt with overly aggressive law enforcement officers, sexist female bosses and even sexual harassment, but racism is just something I’ve never had to deal with.
My Original Perspective
Prior to March 19, 2018, I had no direct experience with racism. While I had heard stories from friends and acquaintances, I always listened, but could never completely grasp the situation because I had never experienced what was being told to me. It isn’t that I didn’t believe them, I did. It was simply that having never experienced racism directly, I was unsure what to think.
At one point in my life, I worked at a law firm in Santa Monica. One of my best friends at the time also worked there. He was a black man who was very popular with many of the employees. He and I would travel around the office together handling support calls. When we would be in the elevator with people from the admin department who were black, they would be very friendly towards me. As soon as I would be in the elevator with them by myself, they would completely ignore me. They treated me like trash, like I didn’t matter to them at all.
My friend and I then had a discussion in the car one day. The topic was racism. My friend insisted that his friends were not racist at all and that I was being too sensitive. It wasn’t until another white friend (yes, I need to use colors because it is important to the issue) backed me up on the issue that my black friend began to see the issue. It was tough for him to accept. I am not sure why, but I truly believe he didn’t think black people would ever be racist towards a white person.
My perspective on racism was set because, other than this one issue and some other much smaller ones, I didn’t face the topic of racism much in my life. The extent of my experience with racism was when I was dating women of another race or when someone would call me a racially motivated name. I always shrugged that stuff off. Why? Because when you experience something once every 10 years or so, you don’t think much of it. That all changed on March 19, 2018.
My New Perspective
I have now come to realize that racism in the United States is, unfortunately, alive and well. It disgusts me as well as concerns me. What caused my new perspective? I attended the Los Alamitos City Council meeting where they were considering disavowing SB54, the sanctuary state law. Of course, this meeting attracted those in favor of SB54 and those against SB54. I arrived at that meeting basically on the fence, but leaning towards those against SB54 as long as there were some safety provisions included in the approach Los Alamitos was considering taking.
As I stood among the people at this meeting, I was disgusted by the behavior displayed the the most militant on both sides. Yes, this issue permeated both sides of the issue. It was completely disheartening to me. I felt as though I had just witnessed a murder–that’s how awful I felt after hearing people treat each other, fellow human beings, like dirt.
I began to realize that no matter what your cause, no matter what your stance on the issues, using race to push your agenda isn’t just wrong, it is reprehensible. As a Libertarian, I believe in civil liberties and treating everyone the same, regardless of race, creed or sex. I believe that racism has no place in our society. I believe everyone should be treated equally and fairly. The government should be just and fair with their treatment of all individuals. While this part is not new to me, the face of racism did land in my memory banks after this particular meeting.
What I saw shook me to the core. People who were there to protect immigrants were yelling about the “white fools” on the side who were against the immigrants. The people against the immigrants were yelling “border gnome” and other horrible names at the other side. The more one side spoke the worse the other side got. They were acting like mortal enemies. It was as though their lives were in danger and the only way to save themselves was to yell racist things.
I sat and listened to hours of public comment on this issue. I always try to put myself in the shoes of those making the decisions. In this case, i could see good arguments on both sides, but it was also clear that majority of the residents of Los Alamitos opposed going against the sanctuary state law. Some very reasonable people pointed out that the City Council was there to represent all people. They made the point that the US Government had already filed suit against the State of California over this issue. Yes, I had to wade through comments that were untrue or misinformed, but doing so just forced me to think long and hard about what was said.
Had I been on that City Council I would have had to vote “no” on the change. Why? It isn’t because I am for or against sanctuary state status. It is because I believe that the majority of the citizens didn’t want the change. Let me be very clear about something. When I am elected to the Board of Supervisors, I will listen to every person who speaks and I will then make the decision I think is best for the entirety of Orange County. I will not simply be swayed by numbers, but I also won’t be ignoring the numbers. I think a good leader has to make the tough decisions. I do not fault the Los Alamitos City Council for taking the stand they have taken, but I think they did so without considering the desires of their community. They hid behind the comment “we are doing what is best for our residents” all while the residents were busily informing them they disagreed. That’s not wise if you ask me.
This man, dressed like Vice President Pence, was one of the biggest instigators at this event. He walked around with his sign and proudly proclaimed that we should build a wall, chase all “illegals” away, etc. He never once listened to anyone who spoke to him. If someone attempted to speak with him, he would simply get louder and louder to drown their words out.
This is not the America I know and love. I expect there to be civil disobedience, but I expect both sides to listen. It serves no purpose to simply dismiss your opposition. It doesn’t further the dialogue when you come into a situation with a preconceived notion about your “enemy”. I believe it is high time that we return to the days when we were allowed to disagree as adults. What has happened to this country?
It is so disheartening and sad to me that we still have such rampant racism in America in 2018. Don’t we learn from history? Don’t we learn that acting this way sets us back hundreds of years? Haven’t we learned that all human beings deserve to be treated equally?
My campaign is based upon the promise of working together with the residents of Orange County to make it an even stronger county than it is already. That includes every single person who lives in Orange County. I will not discriminate based upon age, sex, religion or race. I will work with anyone who wants to work with me. Together we can return the transparency to our government. Together we can bring back the leadership our county is lacking. Along the way we can fight racism together. We can show the racists who are on all sides that we will not listen to their hateful comments. We won’t tolerate their ignorant treatment of other people. Together we can show the country that Orange County, California is an amazing place where we live with hope and understanding of each other. This is why I need you to vote for me on June 5, 2018. Working together for a stronger Orange County–sounds good doesn’t it?
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